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World Series, Big Ten college football launch weekend sports schedule

Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers can win the franchise's first World Series since 1988 if they beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the best-of-seven series. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers can win the franchise's first World Series since 1988 if they beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the best-of-seven series. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The 2020 World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers is the premier event of the weekend sports schedule.

College football's Big Ten Conference begins its regular season schedule Friday. Dozens of other college football and NFL games be held Saturday and Sunday as the gridiron slate continues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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NASCAR drivers will also be on the track in Texas for a Cup Series playoff race.

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje will enter the Octagon Saturday in a lightweight title unification bout at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi. Spain's La Liga, Germany's Bundesliga, France's Ligue 1, England's Premier League and Italy's Serie A also will produce dozens of weekend soccer matches.

RELATED World Series: Rays' red-hot Arozarena ties Jeter record, eyes Bonds mark

But stateside, it will be the "Fall Classic" that draws the most eyes to tablets, TV screens and smartphones as Major League Baseball wraps up one of the most unique seasons in history.

World Series

The Rays' win in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday ensured that the best-of-seven series will go to at least five games after the Dodgers won Game 1. The win also means the MLB campaign, which had its regular season shortened from 162 games to 60 games due to the pandemic, will last a little bit longer for baseball fans.

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RELATED Rays hold off Dodgers to win Game 2, even World Series

"We are having fun," Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger told reporters this week. "We know how hard it is. To put extra pressure on yourself is just not the way to do this."

Los Angeles and Tampa Bay is a matchup between one of MLB's biggest spenders -- in the Dodgers -- and one of the league's most-frugal clubs. The Dodgers payroll of nearly $108 million is nearly four times more than the $28.3 million the Rays disperse to their players.

The Dodgers also entered the MLB season and series as heavy favorites to win the Commissioner's Trophy. A decorated starting rotation and abundance of All-Star hitters have the National League West squad poised to snatch their first title since 1988.

RELATED World Series: Kershaw, Bellinger guide Dodgers to Game 1 win over Rays

But first, the Dodgers will need to fend off the pesky Rays. Tampa Bay's offense has been inconsistent, but is led by one of the top hitters this postseason in rookie Randy Arozarena. The Rays' pitching staff also features Cy Young award winner Blake Snell and several other terrific arms.

Fellow Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw led the Dodgers to a Game 1 win. Snell led the Rays to a victory in Game 2.

A pair of right-handed pitchers will face off in Game 3. Walker Buehler will start for the Dodgers. Charlie Morton will take the mound for the Rays.

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Game 3 is at 8:08 p.m. EDT Friday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Game 4 is at 8:08 p.m. EDT Saturday. Game 5 will be at the same time Sunday.

Big Ten returns

The Big Ten Conference will begin its college football schedule on Friday with Wisconsin set to host Illinois at 8 p.m. EDT on the Big Ten Network.

The conference slate continues with Ohio State hosting Nebraska at noon EDT Saturday on Fox. Michigan State also hosts Rutgers on Saturday.

Penn State will face Indiana at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday. Iowa has a matchup Saturday against Purdue, while Michigan plays at Minnesota. Northwestern will host Maryland in the final Big Ten matchup this weekend at 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday on the Big Ten Network.

The Big Ten announced in September that it would allow its member schools to play conference-only football schedules this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. The conference announced in August that it would postpone the 2020 season until the spring of 2021 before conference officials changed that plan.

Big Ten schools had original plans to start seasons in early September before the campaigns were disrupted by the pandemic.

UFC 254

Khabib Nurmagomedov battles Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi. The winner of the rivalry match will claim a unified lightweight title belt.

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Gaethje (22-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is the interim lightweight belt holder after he won a UFC 249 bout against Tony Ferguson in May. He has won four consecutive fights, but the 31-year-old is a heavy underdog for Saturday's bout on Yas Island.

Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) snatched the lightweight title on April 7, 2018, with a win over Al Iaquinta. The 32-year-old then beat Conor McGregor on Oct. 6, 2018. Nurmagomedov won his last bout on Sept. 7, 2019, at UFC 242 against Dustin Poirier.

The UFC 254 main card will begin at 2 p.m. and airs on pay-per-view. Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba open the card with a light heavyweight bout.

Lauren Murphy then takes on Liliya Shakirova before Jacob Malkoun battles Phil Hawes in a middleweight bout.

Heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Walt Harris will be in the fourth fight. Robert Whittaker then battles Jared Cannonier in a middleweight bout before the main event.

Friday

Baseball -- World Series

Los Angeles Dodgers at Tampa Bay Rays at 8:08 p.m. EDT on Fox

Saturday

Soccer

Bundesliga: Eintracht Frankfurt at Bayern Munich at 9:30 a.m. EDT on ESPN+

La Liga: Real Madrid at Barcelona at 10 a.m. EDT on beIN Sports USA

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Premier League: Chelsea at Manchester United at 12:30 p.m. EDT on NBC

Premier League: Sheffield at Liverpool at 3 p.m. EDT on Peacock Premium

Ligue 1: Dijon at PSG at 3 p.m. EDT on DAZN

College football

Syracuse at Clemson at noon EDT on ACC Network

North Carolina State at North Carolina at noon EDT on ESPN

Nebraska at Ohio State at noon EDT on Fox

Georgia Southern at Coastal Carolina at noon EDT on ESPNU

Kansas at Kansas State at noon EDT on FS1

Alabama at Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. EDT on CBS

Notre Dame at Pittsburgh at 3:30 p.m. EDT on ABC

Iowa State at Oklahoma State at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Fox

Penn State at Indiana at 3:30 p.m. EDT on FS1

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN3

Michigan at Minnesota at 7:30 p.m. EDT on ABC

Virginia at Miami at 8 p.m. EDT on ACC Network

Cincinnati at SMU at 9 p.m. EDT on ESPN2

Texas State at BYU at 10:15 p.m. EDT on ESPN

UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba at 2 p.m. EDT on pay-per-view

Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova after first fight

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Jacob Malkoun vs. Phil Hawes after second fight

Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris after third fight

Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier after fourth fight

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje after fifth fight

Golf

Zozo Championship: Third round from 5 to 8 p.m. EDT on Golf Channel

Baseball -- World Series

Los Angeles Dodgers at Tampa Bay Rays at 8:08 p.m. EDT on Fox

Sunday

Soccer

Verona at Juventus at 3:45 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

NFL

Steelers at Titans at 1 p.m. EDT on CBS

Cowboys at Washington Football Team at 1 p.m. EDT on Fox

Bills at Jets at 1 p.m. EDT on CBS

Panthers at Saints at 1 p.m. EDT on Fox

Packers at Texans at 1 p.m. EDT on Fox

Browns at Bengals at 1 p.m. EDT on CBS

Lions at Falcons at 1 p.m. EDT on Fox

Seahawks at Cardinals at 4:05 p.m. EDT on Fox

Jaguars at Chargers at 4:25 p.m. EDT on CBS

49ers at Patriots at 4:25 p.m. EDT on CBS

Chiefs at Broncos at 4:25 p.m. EDT on CBS

Buccaneers at Raiders at 8:20 p.m. EDT on NBC

NASCAR

Cup Series: Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at 3:30 p.m. EDT on NBCSN

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Golf

Zozo Championship: Fourth round from 5 to 8 p.m. EDT on Golf Channel

Baseball -- World Series

Los Angeles Dodgers at Tampa Bay Rays at 8:08 p.m. EDT on Fox

This week in the National Football League

Philadelphia Eagles' Boston Scott (L) makes the 18-yard, game-winning touchdown catch at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Thursday, to defeat the New York Giants 22-21. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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