SEPTEMBER IMPORTANT MONTH FOR SPORTS

Although August is now history and summer is nearly over, those 90-plus afternoon temperatures still linger as September arrives.

And with it comes a plethora of sports-related events after somewhat of a lull occurred during the “dog days” of August.

High school football fans are finally happy as the 2015 season began last weekend in Texas. And the college football fans need to wait just a few more hours as their season and those crazy tailgate parties begin as early as tomorrow (Thurs.) for many teams.

There’s probably a dozen or more games being played Friday and Saturday as nearly everyone’s favorite team will be in action.

Our two closest college teams—the Lamar Cardinals in Beaumont and the McNeese State Cowboys in Lake Charles—are both members of the Southland Conference and open their respective seasons on Saturday.

The Cards are hosting the Bacone College Warriors, an institution with only 900 students, and should have little trouble running up a big score on them at Provost-Umphrey Stadium on the Lamar Campus.

The Cowboys may be biting off more than they can chew as they travel east on IH 10 to Baton Rouge to take on the mighty Louisiana State University Tigers. But this will be their “big money game” that the McNeese athletic program desperately needs each year to support the huge budget that now faces college football programs.

Pro football fans still must endure one more week of preseason exhibition games before the regular season officially begins Sept. 10 with a Thursday Night Football extravaganza.

But before that can happen, the teams must follow up Tuesday’s cut-down date with the final one that will get each team’s rosters down to 53 players, which includes the practice squad that runs upcoming opponents’ offensive and defensive formations and plays.

September also marks the crucial final five weeks of the major league baseball season in which the rosters of each team are expanded from 25 to 40 players because most of the minor league schedules are completed. It will be crunch time for most teams still in the hunt for a post-season playoff berth.

Going into Monday’s major league schedule, our Houston Astros are still clinging precariously to a three-game lead over the surging Texas Rangers in  the American League West Division, Kansas City is sitting comfortably atop the AL Central Division by 13 games while Toronto leads the New York Yankees by 1 ½ games in the AL East.

The three National League races still are close with the amazing New York Mets leading the NL East, St. Louis leading Pittsburgh by 4 ½ games in the NL Central and the Los Angeles Dodgers 3 ½ games ahead of the persistent defending world champion San Francisco Giants.

Also in September, the Pro Golf Tour’s regular tournaments are over and the competition for the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus Tour Championship has begun.

The field of eligible golfers was cut down to the top 100 players after last week’s event sponsored by The Barclays and won by young Australian Jason Day. The top 100 in the FedEx Cup advance to the next playoff event at the TPC Boston.

Pro basketball fans will have to wait nearly until the end of the month when the teams begin their training camps for the 2015-16 season.

Tennis buffs will have the opportunity this week to monitor Serena Williams’ bid for a calendar-year grand slam in the U.S Open that began Monday in New York.

Fishing and hunting enthusiasts must remember to renew their respective licenses Sept. 1, with the dove hunting season opening in September in certain areas in the state of Texas.

KWICKIES…It’s not so amazing that the Houston Texans visited the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans and beat the Saints quite handily 27-13. But they did it without the services of defensive stalwarts J.J. Watt, Vince Wilfork, Johnathan Joseph, Jadevon Clowney and just a few downs by linebacker Brian Cushing. And to top it off, the Texans were four-point underdogs in the contest. All three quarterbacks—starter Brian Hoyer, back-up Ryan Mallett and third-stringer Tom Savage—all got the football into the end zone when they were in the game, although a couple of the scores were nullified by yellow hankies.

The Houston Astros, who are certainly not the major league’s most prolific scoring team, have a 58-10 record when scoring four or more runs in a baseball game.

The Buffalo Bills new head coach Rex Ryan made a pair of surprising decisions Monday, releasing veteran running back Fred Jackson and naming unknown Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback over Matt Cassel and E. J. Manuel.

USA Today Sports Weekly in this week’s edition named the seven baseball players who have the best shot at surpassing Barry Bonds total of 762 career home runs. It’s not too surprising that Alex Rodriguez, with 679 has the best odds at 9-1, followed closely by Albert Pujols with 553 at 10-1, Mike Trout at 131 is 14-1, Miguel Cabrera at 406 is 20-1, Giancarlo Stanton at 181 at 25-1 and Bryce Harper at 86 also at 25-l. But what is surprising is that Beaumont native Jay Bruce, who is the active leader under 30 years of age with 200 homers, is 100-1.

Chicago Cubs ace pitcher Jake Arrieta not only became the first pitcher in the major leagues to win 17 games this season, but in doing so hurled the major league’s sixth no-hitter of the season, blanking the LA Dodgers 2-0 Sunday night. He also finished the month of August with a 6-0 record, becoming the first Cubs’ pitcher with that many wins in the month since Rick Sutcliffe in 1984, and lowered his ERA to 0.43 in August.

JUST BETWEEN US…Last week was full of exciting Little League World Series games that were televised from Williamsport, Pa., the birth-place of Little League baseball. The team from Pearland, TX. made a great showing and finished the event as the Consolation Champions after defeating Mexico 6-4 Sunday. Pearland lost a heart-breaking 3-2 game to Lewisberry, Pa. which scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning, Saturday for the U.S. championship. Pennsylvania got into a slugfest with Tokyo, Japan Sunday in the world championship game, blowing a 10-2 first inning lead and losing 18-11. The winners pounded out 22 hits, including four home runs.