GARAGECAM (Watch live)— 11:30 a.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series— 3 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series FRIDAY, MARCH 3:ON TRACK— 10-10:55 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FS1 (Results)— 11-11:55 a.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice, FS1 (Results)— noon-1:25 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, FS1 (Results)— 1:30-2:25 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FS1 (Results)— 2:30-3:25 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice, FS1 (Results)— 3:30-4:25 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FS1 (Results)— 4:30-5:25 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice, FS1 (Results)— 5:45 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 (Results)PRESS CONFERENCES (Watch live)— 10:15 a.m.: Chase Elliott— 10:30 a.m.: Daniel Suarez— 10:45 a.m.: Kurt Busch— 11:30 a.m.: William Byron— 11:45 a.m.: Brandon Jones— 2:30 p.m.: Jimmie Johnson— 2:45 p.m.: NASCAR announcement— 6:30 p.m. (approximately): Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying PRESS CONFERENCES (Watch live)— 5:30 p.m. (approximately): Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race SATURDAY, MARCH 4:ON TRACK— 9:15 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 (Results)— 10:40 a.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 (Results)— noon-1:20 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice, FS1 (Results)— 2 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Rinnai 250 (163 laps, 251.02 miles), FS1 (Results)— 4:30 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Active Pest Control 200 (130 laps, 200.02 miles), FS1 (Results)PRESS CONFERENCES (Watch live)— 4:30 p.m. (approximately): Post-NASCAR XFINITY Series race— 6:30 p.m. (approximately): Post-NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Fresh off the season-opening races at Daytona, all three NASCAR Series will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for a tripleheader. Check out the full weekend schedule below. RELATED: See Atlanta races live SUNDAY, MARCH 5:PRE-RACE SCHEDULE—12:30:00 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Driver/Crew Chief Meeting (Media Center)—2:00:00 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drivers Introductions—2:25:00 p.m.: God Bless America: Corey Kent White—2:26:30 p.m.: Flag Folding Ceremony by: Riverside Military Academy—2:29:00 p.m.: Taps by: Riverside Military Academy—2:30:00 p.m.: Presentation of Colors by: Charles Drew Air Force Junior ROTC—2:30:20 p.m.: Invocation by: Tyler Reagin, Catalyst Ministries—2:30:50 p.m.: Intro National Anthem (American Flag unfurled on ballfield by USAF DEP Ceremony Enlistees)—2:31:00 p.m.: National Anthem by: Ed Roland and the Sweat Tea Project—2:32:15 p.m.: Fly-by: 2 F-22’s from 325th fighter wing Tyndall Air Force Base (4 to 1)—2:37:15 p.m.: “Drivers, Start Your Engines” by: Ty Pennington, Star of ABC’s hit show Extreme Makeover Home Edition—2:46:00 p.m.: Start of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, FOX (325 Laps, 500 Miles)ON TRACK— 2:30 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (325 laps, 500.05 miles), FOX (Results) Note: All times are ET
Olympics: Olympic Games organisers will meet via teleconference on Tuesday to discuss the latest coronavirus developments and the impact on the 2020 Tokyo Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will talk with international sports federations – a second executive board meeting in the last two weeks. On Saturday, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Olympics will go ahead from 24 July to 9 August. The Japan section of the Olympic Torch relay is due to start on 26 March. The main focus of the meeting is to discuss disruption to qualifying events for the Games. The coronavirus pandemic has wiped out most of the world’s major sporting events as authorities seek to limit the spread of the virus. The recent torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia was held without spectators, before the rest of the relay in Greece was suspended to avoid attracting large crowds. Several Olympic trials events in the United States have been postponed, including wrestling, rowing and diving. The boxing events in London are going as scheduled, but behind closed doors.
Mississippi Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze stands on the sideline with quarterback Bo Wallace (14) during the third quarter against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. (USA TODAY Sports)Last August, back when Mississippi State was unranked and largely overlooked, Dan Mullen sat in his office and contemplated an important question.Mississippi State had been picked to finish fifth in a loaded SEC West, but Mullen was building a program he hoped would compete for SEC and national championships, and he believed the Bulldogs had reached the point where those goals weren’t laughable. The Bulldogs were riding a streak of four consecutive bowl games, unprecedented in school history. With a veteran returning nucleus, they were primed for more success.FOOTBALL FOUR: Rating and debating college football and the PlayoffBut when it comes to football in the state of Mississippi, one thing trumps all else. A trophy shaped like a gold-plated football — it looked like nothing so much as a big egg — sat on a credenza outside his office, next to some giveaway posters. What was more significant, Mullen was asked, getting to bowl games or winning the Egg Bowl (beating Ole Miss)?“They bring very different results,” Mullen told USA TODAY Sports that late summer afternoon. “Going to four straight bowl games allows you to build your program. … For the program, going to bowl games is more important.”But he wasn’t finished.“To live on a daily basis in the state of Mississippi and to keep a smile on your face for 365 days of the year?” Mullen said. “Winning the Egg Bowl is much more important.”***It made sense at the time, back when five SEC West teams were ranked in various preseason polls — and Mississippi State was not. Now, the Bulldogs (10-1, 6-1 SEC) are ranked No. 4 in the College Football Playoff Top 25. Which at least for the moment means they have the inside track to the playoff. And which means the Egg Bowl is more important than ever.And yet, it might have been even bigger. A month ago, when Ole Miss (8-3, 4-3) took down Alabama and Mississippi State was in the midst of beating LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn, and both teams were ranked near the top of the polls, it seemed the stakes in the Egg Bowl might be winner-takes-the-world. But as Ole Miss has lost three of its past four, fading off the national radar and falling to No. 19 in the Playoff rankings, Mississippi State is in position to win the SEC West — if Auburn beats Alabama. And even if that doesn’t, happen, the Bulldogs might make the playoff anyway.Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen and quarterback Dak Prescott (15) during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats in the second half at Commonwealth Stadium. Mississippi State defeated Kentucky 45-31. (USA TODAY Sports)But there are at least two characteristics of true college football rivalries: To the participants and the respective fan bases, no other rivalry could possibly be seen as more important. And because of that, the external stakes become secondary.It’s one thing for Mullen, who has coached at Florida, Notre Dame and Utah, among other stops, to compare the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry this week to USC-Notre Dame, Florida-Florida State and BYU-Utah.FRONT SEVEN: Previewing the weekend’s best games “I don’t know any that have been as big or as nasty” as the Egg Bowl, Mullen said, because “… they aren’t like this. I think this is bigger than all of those rivalries.”When it comes to his embrace of the rivalry, you probably wouldn’t find many in Mississippi who would disagree. Mullen, a New Hampshire native, refers to Ole Miss exclusively as “The School Up North.” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, who grew up in the state, says, “It’s the pride of the state on the line, the pride of your university and your program. (To) so many, it means so much over the course of the next year to be able to live with the most prized possession of our program: the Egg Bowl.”In other words: Stakes? Who needs them?“The records don’t matter,” Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott said. “It doesn’t matter who has the better record. It wouldn’t matter if we were ranked (Nos.) 1 and 2. This game is just special.”For a change, it matters far beyond the state’s borders — which is nice, but hardly necessary to retain its relevance.Since Mullen’s arrival, Mississippi State has won four of five against Ole Miss. A year ago, the Bulldogs entered the final game of the regular season needing a win to get to a bowl game. There was talk — probably wrong-headed — that Mullen’s seat was getting a little warm.EXPERT PICKS: Week 14 game slate The Bulldogs forced overtime with a late field goal. They took the lead with a touchdown. When Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace took off for the goal line, it appeared the Rebels would get the chance to tie. But safety Nickoe Whitley stripped Wallace. The Bulldogs recovered in the end zone. The celebration began.“I really enjoyed my kids being born,” Mullen said. “I loved my wedding day. But … I can’t speak for what a drug would do for you, but I have a hard time imagining you could get more of a euphoric feeling than in that moment, in that deal. That’s a pretty special deal.“The result of that game will make you feel differently about yourself for a whole year.”***So imagine the feelings this time around for either team, either way it goes. Win, and the Bulldogs might be headed to the Playoff. For the Rebels, who had the same lofty aspirations only a few weeks ago, a win would mean dashing their rivals’ dreams. In a rivalry, that’s more than enough motivation — not that more is needed.“The Egg Bowl,” Freeze said, “motivates our team probably easier than any other week that we play. Definitely easier.”Back in August, Prescott got a similar question: What’s more important, winning the Egg Bowl or the SEC West?“The Egg Bowl,” he said. “For me personally, winning the SEC, I think everybody wants that. But in the state of Mississippi, that Egg Bowl is pretty deep.”And he continued: “If we win the SEC, I believe we’ll win the Egg Bowl.”This time around, if they win the Egg Bowl, they might win a lot more.