BC-AP Sports Preview Digest
Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Wednesday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EST:
– For every Peyton Manning who survived a rough rookie year on his way to NFL stardom, there's a much longer list of players rushed onto the field too early or with not enough help before being discarded in the continuing search for the franchise quarterback. Not even being picked first or second overall is a guarantee, but the first 24 games of a career are a pretty good measure of future success – or failure.
– BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Ravens understand how embarrassing it would be to lose to the winless Cleveland Browns on national television. They would rather focus on the benefits of a victory, which would thrust them into sole possession of first place in the AFC North.
– The Cleveland Browns are winless, 0-9 for the first time in franchise history. They are ranked dead last at No. 32 in the AP Pro32. And now they must play on a short week at their hated rival, the Ravens – who used to be the Browns before fleeing to Baltimore in 1996.
– Nick Saban is on the verge of another milestone victory, another number that gives a glimpse at how dominant his teams have been at Alabama. A victory by the Crimson Tide against Mississippi State on Saturday in Tuscaloosa will be Saban's 40th when Alabama has been ranked No. 1, matching Bobby Bowden and Woody Hayes for the most by a coach.
– While offensive stars like Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson more often than not command the lion's share of the ACC limelight on game day, there are plenty of stars on the other side of the ball who have helped elevate the conference to new heights.
– There is no Heisman hype for the Big 12 Conference, even with some impressive performances this season from players like Oklahoma receiver Dede Westbrook and Texas running back D'Onta Foreman. Still, the Big 12 isn't likely to have a player in New York next month for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Maybe next year.
– COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M's Trevor Knight is the highest profile graduate transfer in the Southeastern Conference this season, jumping in to fill a major void at quarterback for the 10th-ranked Aggies. However, teams across the league are sprinkled with players who moved into the SEC as graduate students after careers at other schools.
– PHOENIX – On the last full day of the annual general managers' meeting, Major League Baseball goes over possible rules changes.
– MIAMI – Dwyane Wade will play Thursday in Miami for the 525th time, and for the first time in some other team's uniform. When the Chicago Bulls visit the Heat, it'll be a homecoming for the three-time NBA champion.
– COLUMBUS, Ohio – Some of America's best soccer players returned this week to central Ohio, where a 20,000-seat stadium named for its insurance company sponsor is considered a spiritual home of the men's national team.
– East Kilbride's players are the talk of Scottish soccer and beyond thanks to a 27-match winning run that has the tiny community-led club from the outskirts of Glasgow dreaming big.