🎉 Yahoo! It's Friday, and there's an epic lineup of sports coming your way. Enjoy yourselves this weekend!
⚽️ End of an era: The nominees for the 2023 Ballon d'Or were announced on Wednesday. For the first time since 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo wasn't on the list.
🏀 Mulkey's millions: Fresh off a national title, LSU women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey has signed a record 10-year, $32 million extension.
🏈 The Prime Effect: The No. 1 QB recruit in the Class of 2025 is already eyeing Colorado. Bryce Underwood, a 6-foot-3 junior from Michigan, is planning a trip to Boulder.
🐎 Belmont backup: The Belmont Stakes could be relocated to Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York for 2024 and 2025 while Belmont Park gets renovated.
See what else is trending on Yahoo Sports.
SHADES OF SERENA: COCO EYES TITLE
19-year-old Coco Gauff swept Karolína Muchová, 6-4, 7-5, on Thursday to become the youngest American US Open finalist since 17-year-old Serena Williams won her first major in 1999.
50-minute protest: The match was delayed by 50 minutes due to disruptions by four environmental activists in the Arthur Ashe Stadium stands, with one protester gluing his feet to the concrete.
On the protest: "I definitely believe in climate change … I wasn't pissed at the protestors," said Gauff. "It was done in a peaceful way … If that's what they felt they needed to do to get their voices heard, I can’t really get upset at it."
On Serena: "Being in the same stat line as her means a lot to me. She's my idol … I'm so happy to just be a product of her legacy."
What's next: The sixth-seeded Gauff will face No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka in Saturday's final after the Belarusian staved off American Madison Keys, 0-6, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (10-5). Sabalenka, 25, is the first woman to reach all four major semifinals in the same year since Williams in 2016.
Meanwhile, in the men's bracket... Entering the tournament, the dream men's final was No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz vs. No. 2 Novak Djokovic. With victories today, they'll make our dreams come true.
Djokovic, who has won 30 straight tour-level matches vs. Americans, is a heavy favorite against 20-year-old Florida native Ben Shelton (3pm ET, ESPN).
Alcaraz, the defending champ, takes on 2021 champion Daniil Medvedev tonight (7pm, ESPN). The Spaniard made at least the semifinals in three of the four majors this season.
🍿 Must-see highlight: Gauff wins epic 40-shot rally (YouTube)
BURROW GETS THE BAG
Joe Burrow agreed to a five-year, $275 million extension with the Bengals on Thursday, making him the NFL's highest-paid player by average annual value ($55 million per year).
Snapshot: Here are the highest-paid players across the "Big Four" leagues by AAV, per Spotrac.
🏀 NBA: Nikola Jokić ($55.2M)*
🏈 NFL: Burrow ($55M)
⚾️ MLB: Justin Verlander/Max Scherzer ($43.3M)
🏒 NHL: Nathan MacKinnon ($12.6M)
Who's next: Shohei Ohtani is expected to top this list when he hits free agency this offseason. Early projections suggest he could get somewhere in the range of 10 years, $600 million — or $60 million per season.
*Players like Damian Lillard ($60.8M AAV) and Jaylen Brown ($57.7M) are set to earn more per season than Jokić, but their extensions don't kick in until 2025 and 2024, respectively.
BEHIND THE LENS
Each week, we'll be going "Behind the Lens" with a Getty Images photographer to get the backstory on the most spectacular images in sports.
This week's photo: Nebraska volleyball player Harper Murray serves against Omaha in front of 92,003 fans at Memorial Stadium, a world record for attendance at a women's sporting event.
Photographer: Steven Branscombe
Date: August 30
📸 Behind the lens: We asked Steven, a Nebraska native, to take us behind of the scenes of this stunning photo — and historic event. How'd he get the shot? What equipment did he use? How was the atmosphere in the stadium that night?
Steven Branscombe: For most sporting events, my goal is to shoot tight action photos. But for this event, I had to change my thinking in order to capture the stadium and the record crowd.
Harper Murray uses a high jumping serve. I caught her at peak height with just a little separation between her hand and the ball, and a sea of Nebraska fans dressed in red in the background under a nice clear sky.
I've covered some special moments, like Wichita State beating Kansas to go to the Final Four. But it's fair to say this one tops the list. The roar from the crowd when they announced the world record was as loud as any I've heard.
Equipment: The image was taken with a Nikon Z9 body equipped with a Nikkor 70-200mm lens and a FTZ mount.
Technique: I shot in manual mode with auto-ISO at 10 frames per second. This frame was shot at ISO 250 at 1/1600 second at f/3.2. The lens was set at 70mm.
AROUND THE WORLD IN 60 SECONDS
🇵🇭 Manila, Philippines — Serbia beat Canada early this morning, 95-86, to advance to their second FIBA World Cup final in the past three editions. They'll face the winner of this morning's USA-Germany game.
🇲🇽 Mexico City — Thousands of runners have been disqualified from the Mexico City Marathon, run two Sundays ago, after allegedly using vehicles and public transportation to cut the course.
🇪🇸 Zaragoza, Spain — Sepp Kuss, currently leading the Vuelta a España after Stage 12 of 21, is the first American in 10 years to wear a leader's jersey at a Grand Tour (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia or Vuelta).
🇦🇷 Buenos Aires, Argentina — Lionel Messi got Argentina's World Cup title defense off to the perfect start on Thursday, scoring on a free kick to defeat Ecuador, 1-0, in their first South American qualifier.
FOOTBALL MOVIES, RANKED
With football season upon us, we figured we'd rank the 10 best football movies ever made.
Remember The Titans (2000): Incredible film, incredible soundtrack.
Jerry Maguire (1996): Some will say this is not a football movie. I disagree.
Rudy (1993): The theme song hits me right in the feels.
Friday Night Lights (2004): Boobie Miles!
Any Given Sunday (1999): "Either we heal now as a team, or we will die as individuals." What a speech.
North Dallas Forty (1979): "Every time I call it a game, you call it a business. And every time I call it a business, you call it a game!"
Varsity Blues (1999): RIP, Paul Walker.
Draft Day (2014): Vontae Mack, no matter what.
Little Giants (1994): "That's no cheerleader, that's my niece Becky... and she's pissed." A timeless classic.
The Program (1993): "Starting defense! Place at the table! Woo!"
Runners-up: Brian's Song (1971), The Replacements (2000), The Longest Yard (1974 and 2005), All The Right Moves (1983), The Waterboy (1998), Radio (2003), The Express (2008)
SEPT. 8, 1968: ASHE'S FIRST SLAM
55 years ago today, Arthur Ashe defeated Tom Okker of the Netherlands to win the inaugural 1968 US Open, the first in which professionals could compete* (aka. the start of the Open Era).
His lasting impact: Ashe remains the only Black American man to win a major, which he did three times (1970 Australian Open, 1975 Wimbledon). Arthur Ashe Stadium, opened in 1997, is the main US Open venue and the largest tennis venue in the world.
⚾️ 1965: A's shortstop Bert Campaneris played all nine positions in a single game, becoming the first of five MLB players to do so. In 2015, Will Ferrell matched him for an HBO short film.
🎾 1973: Margaret Court won the US Open for her 24th grand slam singles title, which remains an all-time record, one ahead of Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic.
*Fun fact: Ashe was still an amateur and thus ineligible to accept the $14,000 grand prize, so it went to Okker as runner-up. Ashe collected a $20 per diem during the two-week tournament — so $280 total.
WATCHLIST: WHAT A WEEKEND
For the first time in eight months, college football and the NFL share the same weekend. Plan accordingly.
Saturday: Nebraska (+3) at No. 22 Colorado (12pm ET, Fox); No. 23 Texas A&M (-4) at Miami (3:30pm, ABC); No. 20 Ole Miss (-7.5) at No. 24 Tulane (3:30pm, ESPN2); No. 11 Texas (-7) at No. 3 Alabama (7pm, ESPN); Stanford (+29.5) at No. 6 USC (10:30pm, Fox)
More to watch:
🏀 WNBA: 11 games (Fri-Sun, ION/CBSSN/ESPN2/NBA) … Final weekend of the regular season.
🏀 FIBA World Cup: USA vs. Germany (Fri. 8:40am, ESPN2) … Winner faces Serbia at 8:40am on Sunday for the championship.
⚽️ Friendly: USMNT vs. Uzbekistan (Sat. 5:30pm, TNT) … In St. Louis.
🏁 NASCAR Playoffs: Kansas Speedway (Sun. 3pm, USA)
🥊 UFC 293: Israel Adesanya vs. Sean Strickland (Sat. 10pm, ESPN+ PPV) … Middleweight title fight in Sydney, Australia.
🏉 Rugby World Cup: Eight matches (Fri-Sun, Peacock) … The 20-team group stage begins today in France.
A friendly reminder from Yahoo Sports AM reader, Elaine: "Make sure you stand up every hour when watching sports on TV." Thank you, Elaine.
Alabama has more players on active NFL rosters (57) than any other college program and is one of just four schools with at least 40.
Question: Who are the other three schools?
Hint: SEC and Big Ten.
Answer at the bottom.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
MLB teams twitter/X handles
27/30 got their team name (i counted "dbacks") pic.twitter.com/lebOjWDDso
— Jay Cuda (@JayCuda) September 6, 2023
Today I learned that the Giants, Guardians and Rays are the only MLB teams whose Twitter/X handle isn't their name.
The Giants are @SFGiants because the New York Giants own @Giants. Totally normal reason. Makes complete sense.
The Guardians are @CleGuardians because Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" beat them to @Guardians. Again, this makes sense.
Then there's the Rays, who are @RaysBaseball because @Rays belongs to… some random guy named Ray S. who lives in Canada.
Shoutout to Jay Cuda for this incredibly useless yet amazing stat.
Trivia answer: Georgia (49), Ohio State (48), LSU (43)