Welcome to the roundup of must-see sports news from Thursday, highlighted by Clemson and Alabama topping the preseason College Football Coaches Poll and some surprising comments made by former Cavs general manager David Griffin regarding the time he spent building the championship roster around LeBron James.
We also will take a look at a must-watch highlight from New York Mets outfielder Jeff McNeil that may turn out to be a candidate for play of the year.
All this and more as we get you up to speed with the sports world on this summer Friday!
HOT OFF THE PRESS: Reigning National Champion Clemson Ranked #1 in the Preseason College Football Coaches Poll
For the first time in its program’s history, the Clemson Tigers will kick-off the college football season ranked number one. The preseason Coaches Poll was unveiled on Thursday and the defending national champions sit atop the list, having received 59 of the 65 first-place votes. The remaining first-place votes went to Alabama, the team Clemson knocked off in last season’s championship game. The Crimson Tide will begin this season at No. 2.
Clemson and Alabama have been on a constant collision course over the last few seasons, having met in the last four College Football Playoffs and splitting the last four national titles.
Both teams return their starting quarterbacks and expect big seasons from them. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence outdueled Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in last season’s championship game, 44-16.
Rounding out the top five are Georgia (#3), Oklahoma (#4) and Ohio State (#5). This year’s top five teams were the same top five featured in last year’s preseason poll.
Powerhouse programs LSU (#6), Michigan (#7), Florida (#8), Notre Dame (#9) and Texas (#10) complete the top 10.
The Big Ten has the most teams in the top 25, with seven starting the season nationally ranked.
The 2019 season is set to begin on Saturday, August 24th when Miami faces Florida.
See the full top 25 preseason poll, here.
Former Cavaliers GM David Griffin Was ‘Miserable’ During Three-Year Run of Building Championship Team
The LeBron James’ second era in Cleveland was a historic one for the Cavaliers and the city, but it took its toll on the former general manager David Griffin.
Despite building a roster that would contend in three consecutive NBA Finals and win the city’s long-awaited title in 2016, Griffin admitted recently to Sports Illustrated that he was “miserable.”
“Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable,” Griffin said. “Literally the moment we won the championship I knew I was gonna leave. There was no way I was gonna stay for any amount of money.”
The former GM went on to say that he didn’t think James has the same attitude towards winning as he once had. “I don’t think he’s the same animal anymore about winning.”
Griffin left the Cavaliers in June of 2017 and has served as an analyst for NBA TV for the last two years.
Having reignited his passion for the game, Griffin has returned to the league, joining the New Orleans Pelicans as their executive VP of basketball operations, as he now gets to oversee the Zion Williamson era.
More from Heavy.com: LeBron James blindsided by Griffin’s comments
PLAY OF THE DAY: New York Mets’ Jeff McNeil Makes Spectacular Catch, Jumping Into Protective Netting
New York Mets outfielder Jeff McNeil is in the midst of a breakout season offensively, but on Thursday he used his glove and athleticism to enter the ranks with a potential play of the year candidate.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, with the Mets leading 1-0 over the Chicago White Sox, McNeil chased down a ball near the right-field line, making a spectacular catch and leaped into the protective netting that the White Sox set up last month to extend to the foul pole.
McNeil held onto the ball as he catapulted back to the field, landing on his feet.
The Mets went on to beat the White Sox 4-0, winning their seventh consecutive game to pull them within four games of the second National League Wild Card spot.
DON’T MISS THESE STORIES: Rounding Up the Top Sports Headlines
- Six players and two managers suspended for Tuesday’s Reds-Pirates melee
- Olympian Ashley Wagner says she was sexually assaulted at 17 by fellow figure skater
- Former Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil returns from retirement to join Jets
- Middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez stripped of IBF 160-pound title
WHAT’S ON TAP IN THE SPORTS WORLD
MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
Only one game separates the second-place Cubs and third-place Brewers in the NL Central as they head into an important weekend series at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are now a game behind the Cardinals for first place after losing two out of three to them this week.
WHEN: Today, 2:20 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network (Out-of-market only)
MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
The Yankees and Red Sox meet for the second consecutive weekend, with the Yankees holding a sizable 10 1/2 game lead over the Sox. Boston took three out of four from the Yankees last weekend at Fenway Park.
WHEN: Tonight, 7:05 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network (Out-of-market only)
NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Eight people will be enshrined in the NFL’s Hall of Fame on Saturday night, highlighted by Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed and Champ Bailey, who all made the Hall on their first ballot.
WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN, NFL Network
Missed Yesterday’s Roundup? Click here for it.