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Final Days of WNBA Season Bring Drama

Plus, two CFB litmus tests and the NL wild-card race continues.

For the second straight week, the NFL’s Thursday night game ended on a last-second field goal, this time with Washington beating the Giants after Dustin Hopkins’s first unsuccessful attempt was waved off because of an offsides penalty. It was a painful ending for Giants fans like myself but a great start to a loaded sports weekend. Tonight’s slate features the second-to-last day of the WNBA season, the continued battle for the NL wild card and two college football matchups to get the weekend started.

Here’s what I’m watching on the final Friday of summer.

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MUST WATCH

Phoenix Mercury at Seattle Storm

Tonight is one of the biggest nights of the season in the WNBA, and this matchup is the most important of them all. Seattle currently sits just a half game ahead of Phoenix for the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, which is critical because the No. 4 seed has to play only one single-elimination game rather than two when the playoffs begin next week. Phoenix has arguably been the league’s second-best team since the Olympic restart, recently seeing a nine-game winning streak snapped by the Sun. Meanwhile, the Storm have sputtered of late, falling out of regular-season title contention while dealing with the absence of Breanna Stewart due to a foot injury.

10 p.m. ET, NBA TV, watch on fuboTV

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LINEUP

  • CFB: UCF at Louisville | UCF won its first big test of the year in Week 1 against Boise State. A road win at Louisville would help position the Knights to contend for a New Year’s Six bowl berth. 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, watch on fuboTV
  • Washington Mystics at New York Liberty | Both squads are fighting for their playoff lives in this one. The Liberty would be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss, while the Mystics could move ahead of the Sparks for the eighth and final playoff berth with a win. 7 p.m. ET, Twitter
  • Los Angeles Dodgers at Cincinnati Reds | Just a game out of the second NL wild-card race, the Reds could use a couple of surprise victories this weekend against the mighty Dodgers. It won’t be easy tonight with Walker Buehler on the mound for L.A. 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, watch on fuboTV
  • CFB: Maryland at Illinois | Maryland’s victory over West Virginia to open the season has folks in College Park excited about the third year of the Mike Locksley era. Tonight’s road test in Champaign will be a good measuring stick to see whether the Terps have taken the next step. 9 p.m. ET, FS1, watch on fuboTV
  • Las Vegas Aces at Chicago Sky | This one doesn’t feature many implications for the playoffs, but it should be a fun battle between two of the league’s best frontcourts. 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV, watch on fuboTV

HIDDEN GEM

San Diego Padres at St. Louis Cardinals

fernando-tatis

Fernando Tatís Jr. has hit .340 in September, but the Padres are just 5-8 this month.

No one really seems to want the second wild-card spot in the NL, though the Cardinals have done the most to claim it lately with five straight wins. This weekend’s series with the Padres will go a long way toward determining who secures that final playoff spot. And while tomorrow’s battle of aces between Yu Darvish and Adam Wainwright will headline the series, every game matters at this stage in the season. Tonight’s starting pitching matchup features a pair of righthanders who have struggled this season in Vince Velasquez and Miles Mikolas. Whichever starter can give his manager a quality start will be setting the tone for what is the biggest series of the year for both teams.

8:15 p.m. ET, Bally Sports Midwest/Bally Sports San Diego, watch on fuboTV

Think we missed something worth watching? Reply to guide@si.com and let us know what we should be looking out for and why.

Happy streaming!

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