WACO, Texas -- That countdown clock to the season opener in Baylors weight room seemed to ticking so slow this summer amid the bad headlines that kept hitting the program after a report that cost coach Art Briles his job.Id be lying if I said it wasnt difficult, receiver Lynx Hawthorne said.This is finally the week the 23rd-ranked Bears have waited for, the chance to get back on the field. They open their third season in McLane Stadium on Friday night against FCS team Northwestern State.Just proving to ourselves that were not dead. Were still alive and were still willing to fight, linebacker Taylor Young said. None of our goals have changed from the previous years. First weve got to win the state, then weve got to win the conference championship. Our overall goal is the national championship, and that has never changed even with the things that have happened.Briles in eight seasons transformed the Bears from perennial losers into a team that won 50 games the past five years, good enough for two Big 12 titles. But he was gone after the May 26 report from an external investigation into allegations the university mishandled complaints of sexual assault, including some against football players. The schools president and athletic director also left their posts.While Briles is gone, his entire coaching staff remained intact with Jim Grobe, the acting head coach who was in semi-retirement before coming to Baylor days after that report. The 64-year-old Grobe coached his last game at Wake Forest in 2013.The opener also marks the return of Baylor quarterback Seth Russell, who was the top-rated FBS passer last year when he suffered a season-ending neck injury running the ball in the seventh game.Its all excitement, guess its kind of giddy, Russell said. Counting every blessing I have.Russell, a senior, said he is 100 percent ready, and he will certainly need to stay healthy for the Bears since there is no proven backup quarterback after Jarrett Stidham left Baylor. The second-teamer is true freshman Zach Smith.Some other things to know about the opener at Baylors riverfront campus stadium, where Northwestern State lost 70-6 two years ago:SUSPENDED BEARSSophomore receiver Ishmael Zamora is suspended for Baylors first three games after a video surfaced showing him beating his dog with a belt this summer. The suspension wasnt announced until this week, after the Bears had released their initial depth chart that showed Zamora as a starter. Junior safety Chance Waz, a returning starter, wasnt on the two-deep chart. Grobe said Waz is out of the first two games because of some discipline issues with the university.RECORD RUNShock Linwood, coming off consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, is only 204 yards shy of breaking Baylors career rushing record of 3,665 yards that has been held by Walter Abercrombie for 35 years. Linwood will be running behind an offensive line with four new starters, though center Kyle Fuller joins Linwood as the most experienced starters on the team with 26.THE GRADUATEFor the second season in a row, Northwestern State will have a graduate transfer starting at quarterback. Brooks Haack started eight games last season for Louisiana-Lafayette. Last season, the Demons four-quarterback battle didnt get decided until midseason when graduate transfer Stephen Rivers (Vanderbilt, LSU) took over for the rest of the season.NEED A NICKELBaylor junior nickel back Travon Blanchard, one of the defenses most experienced players, will miss the opener after surgery to repair a damaged meniscus in his knee. Blanchard has played 26 games for the Bears, and started 13 of them in the hybrid linebacker-safety position. He could be back for the second game.PURPLE POWERNorthwestern State has only one win against a current Big 12 team. 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Now, with Game 6 set for Fenway Park and an 8:07 p.m. ET first pitch, the Detroit Tigers face the unenviable task of having to beat the Boston Red Sox twice, on the road, to advance to the World Series. ICC chairman Shashank Manohar has said the revival of bilateral cricket is in the hands of the members boards, because bilateral cricket does not fall under the jurisdiction of crickets international governing body. The idea of two tiers in Tests was put forward by Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa, Manohar said, and it was up to the members to decide what to do about it.I can tell as a fact, this issue [two tiers] was raised by Cricket South Africa and Cricket Australia, and came up at the Chief Executives Committee (CEC) meeting in Edinburgh, Manohar told the Indian Express. Being the chairman of the ICC, I dont attend the CEC meetings, but I was specifically called for this agenda item. I said at the meeting that the ICC is not empowered to look into this because these bilateral rights are rights belonging to home boards and its for them to decide what to do. The ICC has nothing to say in this. This matter cant be deliberated on the ICC platform.Haroon Lorgat, CEO of Cricket South Africa and former ICC CEO, had similarly told ESPNcricinfo that it was the responsibility of the member boards and not the ICC to ensure bilateral cricket is in good health. Technically, the ICC is only in charge of organising ICC events like the World Cup, World T20, Champions Trophy and Intercontinental Cup.While revamps of bilateral cricket were being debated, Manohar said it remained equally important to pinpoint the basis of Test crickets attendance problems. He said he felt it largely came down to the many options todays fans have inside and outside of the game. I said at the [CEC] meeting that the decline in crowd attendance for Test matches is not because theres no content. What should be done is a survey. You should find out why the popularity of Test cricket has diminished.For that you will have to interview people who watch T20 games or ODI games. Because there the stadiums are full, so those people are interested in watching the game of cricket.In earlier days, there were only about five Tests in two years time. There was no television. So people used to go and stadiums used to be full. But today, for all 365 days, theres somee game going on somewhere in the world.ddddddddddddSo you can watch a game of cricket anytime, any day. So why would a person waste seven hours for five days, from 10am-5pm? All these things had been argued at the meeting.Manohar also offered specific numbers on the budget for the Champions Trophy 2017 to be hosted in England, saying the BCCIs claim that it was three times that of the budget allocated to this years World T20 hosted in India was false. Thats not factually correct. The budget for the World T20 2016, including the television production cost, was $55,084,116. The budget for the Champions Trophy 2017, including television production cost, is $46,781,507.Yes, there were more matches and teams at the World T20 2016 compared to what will be there for the Champions Trophy. But the Champions Trophy games are full-day games and the accommodation and travel cost in the UK are substantially higher that what they were in India.After replacing N Srinivasan as ICC chairman in November 2015, Manohar had stated his intent to end the imbalance of power at the ICC caused by the constitutional revamp of 2014 - the Big Three episode. Now he reiterated his commitment to the international governing body over the BCCI, of which he was president till May. Today Im unconnected with any particular member of the ICC, he said. Im the independent ICC chairman, so I have to look at the best interests of the ICC. Its for the BCCI representative to look after the best interests of the BCCI.When asked if the BCCIs views did not deserve special attention at the ICC level given it is the biggest contributor to world cricket financially, Manohar said: I dont agree with this. Then, why the same logic shouldnt apply to the BCCI? There are 30 state associations [in India], why shouldnt somebody have a veto power? For example, Mumbai generates the highest revenue but does that mean that they should have a veto power on the BCCI decisions? Institutions function in a democratic manner and decisions are taken by the majority. Cheap NFL Womens Jerseys Cheap Stitched Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping Discount NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Hoodies Cheap Jerseys Throwback Cheap Jerseys Throwback ' ' '