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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.

The countdown to the Baker Bowl begins

Carolina Panthers

It is finally here. The Panthers will face the Browns this Sunday. Queen City vs. the Factory of Sadness. The revenge game. The Brawl at BOA. The Baker Bowl is upon us and for this week’s edition of the Top 10, in honor of the beginning of the NFL season, I give you, the Top 10 Carolina Panther storylines.

  1. The Baker Mayfield drama — The biggest storyline is almost always going to be your starting QB, whether it is Baker Mayfield, Cam Newton or Randy Fasani, and this season is no exception. This team will probably go as Mayfield goes.
  2. Matt Rhule’s seat — Rhule is a popular “hot seat” coach but some early wins should cool that seat off. Of course, some bad losses and…
  3. DJ Moore breaks out — If you play fantasy football, the name DJ Moore comes up quite often in terms of “sleeper” pick for a wide receiver. Here’s what you should know: Moore hauled in 93 receptions last year (but only four touchdowns). If he has some consistent play from the QB position, one can only imagine what he will be able to do.
  4. The health of Christian McCaffrey — As I am typing this, McCaffrey is listed on this week’s injury report for a cut shin. A minor thing but every time he shows up on the injury report, fans’ hearts will skip a beat.
  5. The new OC — Ben McAdoo comes to town as the new offensive coordinator and may bring a system that is an advantage to the aforementioned Mayfield, McCaffrey and Moore, all of whom might be the best skill position players he’s ever coached. As an OC, he’s an upgrade from Joe Brady.
  6. Jaycee Horn is back — Horn, who went down last season in Week 3, will bring some toughness to the Panther’s secondary.
  7. Phil Snow’s defense — While Rhule’s seat is hot and McAdoo is new, Snow’s defense is expected to make that leap. While all eyes are on Mayfield and the offense (and yes, I said, as Mayfield goes, this team will go), it would not surprise me if it is the defense that is the true star of this team.
  8. The wide-open NFC South — Two new head coaches in Tampa and New Orleans and a new QB in Atlanta means that this Panthers team has plenty of hope not just to make the playoffs but to possibly win the division.
  9. The schedule — The Panthers are going to need to hope that their NFC South opponents fall on hard times — their schedule is not a friendly one. Dates against the Rams, Steelers, Bengals, Ravens and 49ers won’t be easy.
  10. The woes of the owner — David Tepper has been finding himself in the news for all of the wrong reasons recently and sometimes that can have a trickle-down effect. He only needs to look at Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder as a cautionary tale when it comes to fans growing tired of owners who seem to think their actions are above everyone else’s. While Washington is the eighth most valuable NFL franchise, they had the worst attendance in the NFL last season.  

Carolina colleges suit up for Week 2

Don’t say I didn’t warn you last week, Tar Heel fans. The Appalachian St. Mountaineers came to play and Wolfpack fans have a kicker to thank as they eked out a win against East Carolina. Here’s a look at the notable games this week.


  • Duke at Northwestern — Noon
  • South Carolina at Arkansas — Noon
  • UNC at Georgia St. — Noon
  • Wake Forest at Vanderbilt — Noon
  • Charleston Sou. at NC State — Noon
  • Furman at Clemson — 3:30 p.m.
  • Appalachian St. at Texas A&M — 3:30 p.m.
  • Maryland vs Charlotte — 3:30 p.m.
  • Old Dominion at East Carolina — 6 p.m.

The absurdity of sports: Stop trying to be funny Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly has had a rough start to his LSU coach career.

And, after trying to change the mood after a blocked PAT in the loss to Florida State last week, his joke to fine a reporter for being late to a press conference completely backfired.

The reporter's response: "Maybe if you win, I'll be on time."

Welcome to the press pool of the SEC. You are not in South Bend anymore.

Kelly should understand that the last coach, Ed Ogeron, was Mister Personality, and even he was shown the door just two years after winning a National Championship (he even joked about it this week). Kelly was hired to win games, not crack-wise, or be everyone’s buddy. Just win — just like you did at Notre Dame, well except for the whole not winning a National Championship.

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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.