Clemson picked No. 1 in preseason poll

CLEMSON — Clemson will enter the 2019 campaign ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to the preseason Coaches Poll released by USA Today. The selection marks Clemson’s first preseason No. 1 ranking in the coaches poll in school history.

The top ranking represents Clemson’s fourth consecutive Top 5 preseason Coaches Poll debut in the last four years, extending the longest such streak in program history. The Tigers have exceeded their preseason Coaches Poll ranking in each of the last eight seasons, a streak that will come to an end this year by virtue of Clemson opening the campaign in the poll’s top position in 2019.

Auburn-UGA rivalry moves to October

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Auburn and Georgia will play the Deep South’s oldest rivalry earlier than usual in 2020.

The traditional rivals meet Oct. 10 in Athens, Georgia that season. The SEC released the league-wide schedules for 2020 Wednesday.

It’s the first time the Tigers and Bulldogs have played a regular season game outside of November since 1936 when they faced off in Columbus, Georgia.

They have traditionally met shortly before playing in-state rivals Alabama and Georgia Tech. It’s not really a reprieve since Auburn will host LSU the week before the Iron Bowl. Georgia closes against Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia Tech.

Haslem returning to Heat for 17th year

Udonis Haslem has made his decision: He’s returning to the Miami Heat.

Haslem, who was considering retirement, announced Tuesday that he is returning for a 17th season. The 39-year-old has spent his entire NBA career with the Heat, and should become just the sixth player in league history to play such a long career with only one franchise.

It’s a veteran’s minimum contract, worth just under $2.6 million this season. Haslem made the announcement on Instagram, saying “to be continued.”

Bears to unveil statues of Payton, Halas

CHICAGO — The Bears will unveil statues of Hall of Famers Walter Payton and George S. Halas outside of Soldier Field on Sept. 3.

The 12-foot, 3,000-pound bronze statues honoring the great running back and the franchise founder and coach will be made public two days before Chicago hosts Green Bay to kick off the NFL’s 100th season.

Payton entered the Hall of Fame in 1993. He held 16 NFL records when he retired. Halas, who led the team for 40 years, entered the hall in its first class in 1963.

Former Wisconsin WR wants to be readmitted

MADISON, Wis. — Former Wisconsin Badgers football player Quintez Cephus has filed a petition to be readmitted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison after he was found not guilty of sexually assaulting two female students.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports Wednesday that Cephus directed his attorneys on Tuesday to file the petition. They are asking for a response by Thursday.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank will decide whether to readmit Cephus in consultation with the school’s Title IX coordinator.

The 21-year-old Cephus was found not guilty Friday of second- and third-degree sexual assault. He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday that he wants to play football again.

Contact sports writer Skylar Rolstad at 223-1813 or follow him on Twitter @SkyRolSports.