NASCAR driver Chase Elliott is one of four drivers eligible to win the Cup Series Championship on Sunday in Phoenix, Ariz. Photo courtesy of HMS Racing
MIAMI, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- NASCAR's Cup Series Championship, UFC and boxing title bouts, and hundreds of regular-season NBA, NHL, NFL, soccer and college football matchups fill this weekend's sports schedule.
A PGA Tour golf tournament also teed off Thursday and runs through Sunday in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
But the one-mile, D-shaped, asphalt oval at Phoenix Raceway will be the main attraction this weekend. Thirty-nine drivers will race in the final event of the season.
Only four are eligible to claim the sport's top prize: the Cup Series Championship.
Cup Series Championship
Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., and Denny Hamlin qualified for respective spots in the Championship 4 through nine previous Cup Series playoff races.
Larson and Elliott drive Chevrolets for Hendrick Motorsports. Hamlin and Truex drive Toyotas for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Larson, who won four playoff races, is a heavy favorite to win the finale Sunday in Phoenix. The race airs at 3 p.m. EST Sunday on NBC.
"He's got tremendous confidence," Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, told reporters Tuesday, when asked about Larson.
"He believes that he can drive anything, and he believes he can win in anything."
Elliott, last year's Cup Series champion, is the second-best bet to win at Phoenix. Hamlin is the third-favorite. Truex Jr., who won the 2017 title, has the worst odds of the Championship 4 drivers.
Hamlin and Larson will race for their first Cup Series title. Hamlin finished fourth in 2020 and 2019, third in 2014 and 2006, and second in 2010. Truex followed his 2017 title with second-place finishes in 2019 and 2018.
"We know that down through history there's been a lot of great players that haven't won championships, Super Bowls, NASCAR championships," Joe Gibbs told reporters Tuesday.
"I mean, it's just part of it. We've had great drivers that are in the Hall of Fame that did not win a championship.
"I think Denny probably answered it the best last year when he kind of said he's kind of at peace with what he's been able to do. ... But also you just know he has a burning desire and is going to give it everything he's got on Sunday."
Larson is the only driver in the Championship 4 without a previous win at Phoenix. Hamlin won two previous races and was a Top 5 finisher 15 times at Phoenix.
The foursome will navigate among 35 other cars in Sunday's finale, with the top finisher claiming the Cup Series title. Stage 1 is 75 laps. Stage 2 is 115 laps. The final stage is 122 laps.
Two games air on national TV Friday to launch the weekend football slate. Boston College hosts Virginia Tech at 7:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN2. Utah battles Stanford at 10:30 p.m. on FS1.
The Saturday schedule features more than 50 games, with each of the Top 4 teams in the College Football Playoff rankings in action.
Army battles Air Force in the first matchup at 11:30 a.m. EDT on CBS. Georgia, the No. 1 team in the College Football Playoff rankings, hosts Missouri at noon on Fox. No. 2 Alabama hosts LSU at 7 p.m. on ESPN or CBS. No. 3 Michigan State battles Purdue at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.
No. 4 Oregon faces Washington at 7:30 p.m. on ABC. No. 6 Cincinnati, ranked No. 2 in the Coaches Poll, hosts Tulsa at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Ohio State, ranked No. 5 in the Coaches Poll and the College Football Playoff, faces Nebraska at noon on Fox.
In the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) host the Cleveland Browns (4-4) in a significant AFC North division matchup at 1 p.m. EST Sunday on CBS.
Patrick Mahomes' Kansas City Chiefs (4-4) host the Green Bay Packers (7-1) at 4:25 p.m. Sunday on Fox. The Los Angeles Rams (7-1) host the Tennessee Titans (6-2) at 8:20 p.m. Sunday on NBC.
Two UFC title fights and a super middleweight boxing bout take place Saturday on ESPN+ and Showtime pay-per-view, respectively.
Kamaru Usman (19-1-0) battles Colby Covington (16-2-0) in the main event of UFC 268 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Covington can take Usman's welterweight title belt with a victory.
Usman, who is favored in the fight, claimed the blt with a 2019 win over Tyron Woodley. He retained the belt with another win over Covington in December 2019. Usman's lone loss came in 2013 against Jose Caceres.
Covington beat Woodley in his last bout on Sept. 19, 2020. He won six-consecutive fights before his 2019 loss to Usman.
The main card for UFC 268 is expected to start at 10 p.m. EDT. Rose Namajunas battles Weili Zhang for the women's strawweight title in the co-main event.
Justin Gaethje faces Michael Chandler in the first fight on the main card. Shane Burgos then takes on Billy Quarantillo in a men's featherweight bout. Frankie Edgar and Marlon Vera face off in a bantamweight bout before Namajunas-Zhang.
In boxing, Caleb Plant will attempt to take Canelo Alvarez's WBC, WBO and WBA super middleweight titles Saturday in Las Vegas. Alvarez will look to take Plant's IBF belt.
Plant and Alvarez are expected to walk to the ring at about 11:30 p.m. EDT Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The main card is expected to start at 9 p.m. on Showtime pay-per-view.
Alvarez is a heavy favorite to win the bout. The winner becomes the first undisputed super middleweight champion in boxing history.
Weekend schedule (in EDT/EST)
World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba: Second round from 3 to 6 p.m. on Golf Channel
Knicks at Bucks at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
Pelicans at Warriors at 10 p.m. on ESPN
Virginia Tech at Boston College at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2
Utah at Stanford at 10:30 p.m. on FS1
Truck Series Championship: Lucas Oil 150 at 8 p.m. on FS1
Coyotes at Ducks at 10 p.m. on ESPN+
Devils at Kings at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN+
Premier League: Manchester City at Manchester United at 8:30 a.m. on NBCSN
Bundesliga: SC Freiburg at Bayern Munich at 10:30 a.m. on ESPN+
Premier League: Burnley at Chelsea at 11 a.m. on Peacock Premium
La Liga: Barcelona at Celta Vigo at 11:15 a.m. on ESPN+
Serie A: Fiorentina at Juventus at 1 p.m. on beIN Sports
Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN+
Ligue 1: PSG at Bordeaux at 4 p.m. on beIN Sports
La Liga: Rayo Vallecano at Real Madrid at 4 p.m. on ESPN+
Army at Air Force at 11:30 a.m. on CBS
Liberty at Ole Miss at noon on SEC Network
Ohio State at Nebraska at noon on Fox
Kansas State at Kansas at noon on FS1
Wake Forest at North Carolina at noon on ABC
Pittsburgh at Duke at noon on ACC Network
Illinois at Minnesota at noon on ESPN2
Missouri at Georgia at noon on ESPN
Idaho State at BYU at 3 p.m. on ESPN3
Tulsa at Cincinnati at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2
Navy at Notre Dame at 3:30 p.m. on NBC
Penn State at Maryland at 3:30 p.m. on FS1
Oklahoma State at West Virginia at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
Michigan State at Purdue at 3:30 p.m. on ABC
Baylor at TCU at 3:30 p.m. on Fox
Auburn at Texas A&M at 3:30 p.m. on CBS
Wisconsin at Rutgers at 3:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network
Mississippi State at Arkansas at 4 p.m. on SEC Network
N.C. State at Florida State at 4 p.m. on ACC Network
Tennessee at Kentucky at 7 p.m. on ESPN2
Boise State at Fresno State at 7 p.m. on CBSSN
LSU at Alabama at 7 p.m. on ESPN/CBS
Iowa at Northwestern at 7 p.m. on Big Ten Network
Oregon at Washington at 7:30 p.m. on ABC
Texas at Iowa State at 7:30 p.m. on FS1
Indiana at Michigan at 7:30 p.m. on Fox
USC at Arizona State at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN
UTSA at UTEP at 10:15 p.m. on ESPN2
San Diego State at Hawaii at 11 p.m. on FS1
Lightning at Senators at 2 p.m. on NHL Network
Bruins at Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. on NHL Network
World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba: Third round from 2 to 5 p.m. on Golf Channel
Jazz at Heat at 7:30 p.m. on NBA TV
Lakers at Blazers at 10:30 p.m. on NBA TV
Xfinity Series Championship at 8:30 p.m. on NBCSN
UFC 268 on ESPN+
Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler at 10 p.m.
Shane Burgos vs. Billy Quarantillo after first fight
Frankie Edgar vs. Marlon Vera after second fight
Rose Namajunas vs. Weili Zhang after third fight
Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington after fourth fight
Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant at 11:30 p.m. on Showtime pay-per-view
Premier League: Watford at Arsenal at 9 a.m. on Peacock Premium
Premier League: Spurs at Everton at 9 a.m. on NBCSN
La Liga: Atletico at Valencia at 10:15 a.m. on ESPN+
Premier League: Liverpool at West Ham at 11:30 a.m. on NBCSN
Serie A: Hellas Verona at Napoli at noon on beIN Sports
La Liga: Real Sociedad at Osasuna at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN+
Serie A: Internazionale at AC Milan at 2:45 p.m. on beIN Sports
La Liga: Sevilla at Real Betis at 3 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: Orlando at Montreal at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: Chicago at Columbus at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: Atlanta at Cincinnati at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: New York Red Bulls at Nashville at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
MLS: Miami at New England at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: PhiladelphIa at NYCFC at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: DC United at Toronto at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: LAFC at Colorado at 6 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: Minnesota at Los Angeles Galaxy at 6 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: Austin at Portland at 6 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: Dallas at San Jose at 6 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: Salt Lake at Kansas City at 6 p.m. on ESPN+
MLS: Seattle at Vancouver at 6 p.m. on ESPN+
Falcons at Saints at 1 p.m. on Fox
Broncos at Cowboys at 1 p.m. on Fox
Patriots at Panthers at 1 p.m. on CBS
Vikings at Ravens at 1 p.m. on Fox
Browns at Bengals at 1 p.m. on CBS
Bills at Jaguars at 1 p.m. on CBS
Texans at Dolphins at 1 p.m. on Fox
Raiders at Giants at 1 p.m. on CBS
Chargers at Eagles at 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Packers at Chiefs at 4:25 p.m. on Fox
Cardinals at 49ers at 4:25 p.m. on Fox
Titans at Rams at 8:20 p.m. on NBC
World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba: Final round from 2 to 5 p.m. on Golf Channel
Cup Series Championship at 3 p.m. on NBC
Spurs at Thunder at 7 p.m. on NBA TV