Daily Sports: NL Central Race Heats Up In St. Louis

The race for the NL Central title is the only real drama going in the National League playoff race, as we seem to know the five teams that will qualify for the postseason, with three in the Central. But thanks to MLB’s two-year old playoff format, who finishes in first place is of great consequence. And that makes tonight’s Cincinnati-St. Louis game of great consequence.

ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball is on the call tonight at 7 PM ET from Busch Stadium and the battle between two teams jousting with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the division title is clearly the highlight of Monday’s daily sports TV choices.

For football-only fans, this is the week they’ve been waiting for. We’ll get legitimate games, at least on the college level. The regular season starts Thursday night, and if you want to whet your appetite with a little bit of last year, surf to ESPNU at 8 PM ET for a replay of last year’s SEC Championship Game between Georgia and Alabama, the de facto national championship game.

The NFL only has one week of preseason games left before their own season starts September 5, a week from Thursday. The NFL Network spends most of today showing replays of the preseason games from last week, and the prime-time fare is Atlanta-Tennessee at 8 PM ET.

There was a lot of football on the agenda at TheSportsNotebook over the weekend, and our college football coverage now has previews of all ten conferences, plus the independents up online. Today we tie it all together with some final predictions on a national scale, from who will play in the biggest bowl games, to who will ultimately win it all.

We’ll also have MLB coverage, with a look at the American League, both the landscape of its playoff race and a specific feature still to be determined. I’ll also be podcasting over at Prime Sports Network with Greg DePalma at 4 PM ET.