👋 Happy Friday! Axios on HBO is back on Sunday (and includes an interview with Edward Snowden). Let's sports.
Today's word count: 1,687 words (6 minutes)
llustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
On Nov. 5, 2011, No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama met in Tuscaloosa in what was billed as college football's "Game of the Century." The Tigers prevailed, 9-6 in OT, in a game that featured 49 future NFL players.
"Game of the Century," Part II: The Tigers visit the Crimson Tide tomorrow afternoon (3:30pm ET, CBS) in the first regular-season AP No. 1 vs. No. 2 meeting since their game eight years ago.
The stakes: If Alabama loses, they'll almost certainly miss the playoff for the first time since its 2014 inception. If LSU wins, they'll be in the driver's seat the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, off the field: After attending a World Series game two weeks ago and a UFC fight last weekend, President Trump is expected to be in attendance, adding a heightened sense of drama to an already massive spectacle.
Amherst College campus. Photo: Joanne Rathe/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
The youth sports economy has doubled in size over the past decade to more than $15 billion, ushering in an era of private coaching, travel teams and summer showcases.
Why it matters: This prices out young athletes from low- and even middle-class households, which might explain why the average child today spends less than three years playing a sport and quits by age 11.
By the numbers: According to a 2018 NCAA survey, nearly 70% of its athletes competing outside of football and basketball were white. The disparity was even greater at the Division III-level, where that number was almost 80%.
Fighting back: Roughly three years ago, Amherst College, a small liberal arts college in Amherst, Mass., embarked on a mission to make its sports teams (23% students of color) look more like its overall student body (45% students of color).
The big picture: While it's worth acknowledging that Amherst's deep pockets and ability to give financial aid ($2.4 billion endowment) may have helped, it's not like this can't be replicated elsewhere. After all, the school simply made diversity a priority in recruiting — and coaches put in the work to accomplish that goal.
“In terms of resources, we're talking ... tens of thousands of dollars, but we're not talking millions of dollars. What matters more than money to travel is the effort, the awareness and the commitment."— Amherst president Biddy Martin, per NYT
The bottom line: The current youth sports model shuts out far too many Americans, and that's a problem that needs to be addressed.
OAKLAND, CALIF. — Unless they host a playoff game, last night was the Raiders' final night game in Oakland before the franchise moves to Las Vegas next season.
SUNRISE, FLA. — Tom Wilson scored two goals, including the game-winner 17 seconds into overtime (above), as the Capitals beat the Panthers, 5-4, to win their fifth straight game and improve to an NHL-best 12-2-3.
LOS ANGELES — Kawhi Leonard had 27 points and 13 boards the night after missing a nationally televised loss to the Bucks, and Lou Williams added 26 points and 8 assists off the bench to lift the Clippers over the Trail Blazers, 107-101.
Tiger Woods, the captain, has chosen Tiger Woods, the player, as one of his four wild-card selections for the 12-man U.S. Presidents Cup team, which will compete against the International team next month at Royal Melbourne in Australia.
International Team (captained by Ernie Els):
Looking ahead: The U.S. Team will be an overwhelming favorite, as 11 of its 12 players are ranked among the top 16 in the world, while the International Team's highest-ranked player is No. 17 Adam Scott.
Go deeper: Preview the course (YouTube)
The AL and NL Silver Slugger Awards were announced last night. Eight hitters won for the first time, Atlanta led the way with three selections, Mike Trout won for the seventh time in nine seasons and Boston had a pair of third-time winners.
Speaking of baseball, get this...
35 years ago today, Michael Jordan recorded 33 points, eight rebounds and five assists in his first NBA game at Madison Square Garden, leading the Bulls past the Knicks, 121-106.
The backdrop: After being taken with the No. 3 pick in the 1984 draft (behind Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie), Jordan wasted no time in announcing his arrival, averaging 27.3 pts, 5.5 reb and 4.7 ast through his first 10 games.
Go deeper: If you want to know what TV was like in 1984, please watch this video of MJ's debut at The Garden. Just a completely different broadcast style, it's crazy.
A human and a beluga whale had some fun with a rugby ball, and it was beautiful. Truly incredible how a ball and the concept of "play" can break all communication barriers and allow two species to connect like that.
Alabama junior wideouts Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III are tied for second in program history with 22 career receiving TD.
Answer at the bottom.
Kendall "Currently on repeat" Baker
Trivia answer: Amari Cooper (31)