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Need a one-stop shop to catch up on the top sports stories big and small? Time Out For Sports airs Mondays on WFAE's "All Things Considered" and has what you need to know about everything from Charlotte-area high school football highlights to the latest updates on the Carolina Panthers.

Mayfield gives Browns bulletin board material, then walks it back. Dale Jr. makes brief return.

Bob Pockrass

Football is in full swing and if the two NCAA games I’ve fully watched — Nebraska vs. Northwestern and Pitt vs. West Virginia — are any indicator, buckle up folks. It’s going to be a wild ride this season. But, closer to home and one level up, the Panthers find themselves looking for answers (or just hoping for Baker Mayfield to stay healthy).

I guess I answered my own question last week about Sam Darnold being the backup plan. Clearly, he was. Unfortunately, the football gods thought otherwise as he suffered a high left ankle sprain and was placed on the injured reserve list, meaning he is out for at least four weeks. By placing quarterback Darnold on injured reserve, the Panthers freed up a roster spot for kicker Eddy Pieiro, who is replacing Zane Gonzalez following his season-ending groin injury suffered during a practice kick on the sidelines of the Buffalo preseason game.

Shifting back to the quarterback position, there was a lot of chatter this week about Mayfield and some strong comments he had about playing his former team, the Cleveland Browns, on Sept. 11 in Charlotte.

Now he’s walking back those comments.

Bad move. He said what he said, and I don’t blame him. He should be fired up to play his old team, especially how things shook out in the end. But, walking back about what he did or didn’t say makes him look, how can I put this, a bit soft. It's sports. Opponents should feel that way about each other regardless of history.

Elsewhere in the league, in an amazing off-the-field story, Washington Commanders rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr. was shot in an attempted car-jacking earlier this week in Washington, D.C. One of the bullets went through his right knee, miraculously missing anything vital. Robinson had all but won the starting role for the Commanders but will start the season on the reserve/non-football injury list. He is eligible to return in Week 5.

The center of the racing universe

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gave racing fans at North Wilkesboro Speedway quite a treat this week as he returned to the track and NASCAR’s roots and sent race fans into a frenzy in the small North Carolina town.

I can’t do this story any sort of justice but Jeremy Markovich from the North Carolina Rabbit Hole did. Check out his article here.

Carolina colleges suit up for Week 1

Week 0 (yes, that's what they were calling last week's slate of games) of NCAA football is over and the Carolina schools are all on the gridiron the NCAA's official Week 1 of the season. The most intriguing game for me is the UNC vs. Appalachian St. matchup. Although UNC seemingly rolled Florida A&M, 56-24, the Rattlers were down 20 players and are a much inferior program. That score should have been much more lopsided. The Mountaineers won’t be a pushover.

Here is a list of the notable games this week.


William & Mary at Charlotte – 7 p.m.

Temple at Duke – 7:30 p.m.


NC State at ECU – 12 p.m.

UNC at Appalachian St. – 12 p.m.

Elon at Vanderbilt – 7 p.m.

Army at Coastal Carolina – 7 p.m.

Georgia St. at South Carolina – 7:30 p.m.


Clemson at Georgia Tech – 8 p.m.

The next Top 10

This week’s installment of the Top Ten is another Carolina Ten. This time we focus on women’s soccer. The Carolinas are a hotbed for women’s soccer and the Division I programs in North and South Carolina are no slouches. In fact, I’d pay to watch these 10 teams fight it out at Bank of America Stadium in some sort of tournament. My rankings are based on the United Soccer Coaches rankings and my gut (national ranking is in parenthesis).

  1. UNC (1) 5-0-0
  2. Duke (2) 4-1-0
  3. South Carolina (4) 3-0-2
  4. NC State (26) 4-0-1
  5. Wake Forest (29) 4-0-1
  6. Clemson 2-1-2
  7. UNCW 2-2-1
  8. East Carolina 3-2-0
  9. Gardner-Webb 3-1-1
  10. Davidson 4-0-1

The absurdity of sports: ‘What’s in a name?’ part 2 and ‘Quoth the Raven, ‘nevermore’

After a dispute between its present and former owners, USC announced on Thursday afternoon that the rooster it had nicknamed "The General" just three days before might now be called "Sir Big Spur." I wrote last week about how The State suggested a different name change (no, I’m not typing that again). Turns out, it was all a lot of nothing or as ESPN personality Ryan McGee posted to Twitter on Thursday, “This is the best soap opera I have ever watched.”

And, I’ve got to think that Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has better things to do than make this press conference announcing the team mascot is down for the season. It’s funny, but seriously? Shouldn't he be drawing up some plays? Just saying.

Other sports headlines:

Thanks for reading. Until the next Time Out For Sports Overtime.

Robb Crocker is a digital editor with WFAE. Originally from New Jersey, Robb grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where majored in print and broadcast journalism and also studied English and creative writing. He earned a Master's degree in Communication from Rutgers University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at VCU's Media, Art & Text program. He is a veteran news/sports reporter and digital editor with stints at the Washington Post, Hanley Wood magazines, Richmond.com, WTVR CBS 6 and WRIC ABC 8. He has also produced the Writing Our Way Out podcast.