Daily Sports: AL East Race Goes Prime-Time On Wednesday

The AL East has more contenders than any team in baseball, with four teams in hot pursuit of at least a wild-card, and two teams in a neck-and-neck battle for first place. Both sides of that race come together in a big game Wednesday night that highlights the sports fan’s daily sports agenda.

Boston is in a tough fight with Tampa for the top spot in the division, and the Red Sox will be at home tonight against Baltimore. The Orioles have been lurking just below the cutoff spot for the last wild-card and are in the middle of a crucial schedule stretch against good teams. Sox-Orioles goes at 7 PM ET, with ESPN on the scene at Fenway Park.

College football is only a day away from the season opener, and ESPN Classic is going to spend the day replaying a series of the best games from the 2012 college football season. One of those was Texas A&M-Louisiana Tech, a wild 59-57 affair that helped build Johnny Manziel’s Heisman case and showed just how good the Bulldogs were. The replay will be shown at 6 PM ET.

The NFL Network will replay one of the most significant preseason games from last week, and that’s New Orleans-Houston. Its significance came, unfortunately, in the only way an NFL preseason game can achieve such a designation—through a crucial injury. The Saints lost Will Smith, a pass rusher who is crucial to the plans of new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, and the injury is for the entire season.

I don’t mean to imply that Smith’s season-ending injury is of more significance than Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez being day-to-day with a banged up shoulder, so I completely understand the media obsessing over Sanchez while barely noting Smith. Insert sarcasm emoticon here.

ESPN2 will have day-long coverage of the U.S. Open, with programming starting at 1 PM ET and going for six hours.

TheSportsNotebook will be focusing on the opening of college football season. Our college football coverage has already previewed every conference and made some predictions. Now it’s time to look at the specifics of the biggest games for Week 1, and those will be posted later today.