The Southeastern Conference's West Division has the top two teams in the country in Alabama and LSU, defending national champion Clemson is right behind them and a host of others are lurking at the midway point of the season.
While their campaigns often take on elements of a French farce, it's seldom a laughing matter to strike France in the knockout stages of a Rugby World Cup.
Deandre Ayton strolled around the practice court, talking and laughing with coaches and teammates following a two-hour workout with the Phoenix Suns.
A look at what's happening around the majors Tuesday:
TOKYO (AP) — South Africa's Jaco Peyper will referee his 50th test but his first Rugby World Cup quarterfinal when he takes charge of the knockout match between Wales and France at Oita, Japan on Sunday.
MIAMI (AP) — Add Miami's Tyler Herro to the list of rookies who look ready for the regular season.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Devon Toews scored at 1:13 of overtime to complete a stunning late-game comeback by the New York Islanders as they downed the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Monday.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — It took Mason Crosby 13 seasons to perform his first Lambeau Leap.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions had a chance to build a big lead in the first half.
TOKYO (AP) — Everyone loves a winner. And in Japan right now, that has moved rugby from the sidelines into the mainstream.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers say Anthony Davis is day-to-day with a sprained right thumb.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Victor Robles made an immediate impact in his return to the Washington Nationals' lineup.
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 100 pitches in, Stephen Strasburg was adamant he wasn't quite ready to leave the latest superb start by a Nationals pitcher against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Championship Series — a win that put Washington on the verge of the city's first World Series in 8…
Of the eight teams remaining in the Rugby World Cup four are coached by New Zealanders who, from similar beginnings, pursued divergent coaching careers before their paths intersected at this tournament.
CHICAGO (AP) — Corey Crawford and the Chicago Blackhawks stayed focused and tightened their play against a tough opponent to earn their first win of the season.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt shook his head and blamed himself. The answers aren't coming easy right now.
TOKYO (AP) — Two weeks ago, Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus described it as a "scary" prospect. It got a whole lot scarier this week.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James believes Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey "was either misinformed or not really educated on the situation" regarding the potential consequences of his actions when he tweeted in support of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests.
TOKYO (AP) — Roger Federer wants to become a five-time Olympian.
PARIS (AP) — Turkish players defied UEFA with another military salute in Turkey's 1-1 draw with France in their European Championship qualifier on Monday.
TOKYO (AP) — Ireland center Bundee Aki will miss the rest of Ireland's Rugby World Cup campaign after failing to have his red card overturned for a high tackle in the Pool A game against Samoa last weekend.
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — A key to the Los Angeles Chargers' success last season was Philip Rivers taking care of the ball.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams cornerback Aqib Talib and left guard Joe Noteboom are headed to injured reserve.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Yankees and Astros plan all-bullpen games from the start in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series in a sign of the times.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Even after sweeping a four-game homestand to start the season, the Colorado Avalanche felt they could do a better job of starting games.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The 49ers' undefeated record seemed somewhat soft until they beat the Los Angeles Rams.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams largely avoided injuries and adversity during coach Sean McVay's first two seasons.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State wide receiver Weston Bridges is entering the transfer portal.
NEW YORK (AP) — Gerrit Cole walked into a conference room after one of his first spring training workouts with the Houston Astros in February 2018 and was met by about 10 people.
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Steve Torrence beat Doug Kalitta in the Top Fuel final on Monday and took over the points lead at the 12th NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings shifted their strategy this season, determined to re-establish a running game that could not only get them in the end zone more but dominate an opponent when they need it to.
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The last time the Seattle Seahawks started the season 5-1, they ended the year claiming their only Super Bowl title.
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 700th career goal but couldn't keep Portugal from losing 2-1 to Ukraine in qualifying for the 2020 European Championship on Monday.
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott believes the third-ranked Tigers are on the right track to get back to playing aggressive, dominant football — something the team had to be reminded of the past couple of weeks.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona combined some good football with a little good fortune to earn a 34-33 victory on Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Victor Olofsson and the Buffalo Sabres are building confidence from a strong start to the season.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman will be back next season.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan linebacker Josh Uche recalls being excited when he saw the second half of this season's schedule.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons are riding a four-game losing streak and have dropped 10 of 14 going back to Week 10 last season.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers will be without his top target for the second straight week after receiver Davante Adams was ruled out for the Green Bay Packers' game against the Detroit Lions with a turf toe injury.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With Drew Brees sidelined, the defense has become the must-see unit for the New Orleans Saints.
NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Darnold's presence alone gave the New York Jets an immediate lift.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jameis Winston's propensity for turning the ball over isn't the only thing ailing the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The absence of a consistent running game and a leaky defense are also making it difficult to win.
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Ryan Blaney emerged safely from the wreckage at Talladega Superspeedway that claimed other playoff contenders, winning by a tiny margin that was huge for his championship hopes.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel is taking some time before deciding if Marcus Mariota remains his starter or the time has arrived to turn the Titans over to backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Racism and politics overshadowed results in European Championship qualifying on Monday as England's players were subjected to a barrage of racist abuse in Bulgaria and Turkey celebrated an equalizer against France by lining up to give a military salute.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Injuries in the defensive backfield just keep on coming for the Baltimore Ravens, who likely will play without safety DeShon Elliott the rest of the season.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Duke Williams stopped dreaming of scoring his first NFL touchdown some three years ago, when the receiver essentially walked away from football.
DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Red Wings senior vice president Jim Devellano has had surgery to remove a non-cancerous brain tumor.
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Jarvis Landry jumped up and down on the sideline, flapping his arms while madly urging Browns coach Freddie Kitchens to throw his red challenge flag.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard spent the Indianapolis Colts' past three games watching from his house.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The Minnesota Wild stuck to their defensive plan Monday and it paid off to give them their first win of the season.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets have activated tight end Chris Herndon after he completed a four-game suspension and waived linebacker Frankie Luvu.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears returned to work Monday after their bye week elated to have several missing pieces back but without key players from their front line on both sides of the ball.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Patriots have placed fullback Jakob Johnson on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.