Stallions' Joel Bouagnon (36) looks for a a place to go against Hotshots' Erick Dargan (24) during the first half at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. on February 10, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY — For a league that needed a quick infusion of cash to stay afloat — or was the recipient of a timely buy-in from a devoted investor, depending on whom you believe — the Alliance of American Football has pulled some impressive ratings so far.

Following strong Week 1 ratings, the Salt Lake Stallions and Birmingham Iron attracted more than 1 million viewers to their Week 2 showdown last Saturday afternoon.

It certainly helped that the game — a 12-9 defensive battle won by the Iron — was televised on TNT. The Stallions-Iron drew 1,018,000 sets of eyeballs to the screen. It was the eighth-highest rated show on cable for Saturday.

In comparison, the Stallions-Iron duel was in the same viewership ballpark as the Utah Jazz’s game against the Golden State Warriors earlier in the week. That interesting pre-All-Star-break matchup of two of the Western Conference’s best teams had a 1.05 share and 1,621,000 viewers.

That came after nearly three million viewers tuned into the AAF’s first-ever game, a matchup of the San Antonio Commanders and San Diego Fleet on CBS the previous week.

While that is a promising start, the AAF is not scheduled return to TNT or CBS the rest of the season. The biggest networks for the remaining eight weeks of play are the NFL Network and CBS Sports Network.

The Stallions’ first home game — a rematch against Arizona on Saturday (1 p.m.) at Rice-Eccles Stadium — will be broadcast on Bleacher Report Live.

High expectations

Utah fans can start planning a New Year’s Day trip to Pasadena, California, if they have faith in college football expert Brett McMurphy’s prognostications.

McMurphy is predicting a Utah-Ohio State showdown in the Rose Bowl, a pairing that would be even more fun if Urban Meyer hadn’t stepped down from his position with the Buckeyes.

“I really like the team they’ve got coming back,” McMurphy said of the Utes, who impressed him by winning the Pac-12 South despite injuries to Tyler Huntley and Zach Moss.

Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig’s return will be a shot in the arm to the Utes, McMurphy believes.

“He wants to play amore physical brand of football,” McMurphy said of Ludwig, who was the Utes’ O.C. from 2005-08. “I think that plays into the strength of Kyle Whittingham, what he wants to do.”

The fact that the Utes play Cal and Oregon State instead of Stanford and Oregon in 2019 also helps, the Stadium football analyst believes. McMurphy also likes Oregon and Washington from the North.

“I just really like Utah to take advantage of what is a very watered down Pac-12 South,” he said. “I think Utah is set up for a really good year.”

Shot of a lifetime

A Utah Valley University fan didn’t just get a story to tell for generations to come when he hit a half-court shot in front of the crowd at a Wolverines game.

He won free oil changes for life from UVU and Murdock Hyundai.

Aptly, the name on his Twitter handle is Chipper.

Chipper shared the fun shot to local media after Thursday’s game and had a request from UVU’s social media team.

“Can y’all dm (direct message) this to me?” he wrote. “My mom doesn’t have Twitter and she doesn’t believe I actually made it.”

Big shot

Tony Finau continues to open eyes on the PGA Tour. On Thursday, the Salt Lake City golf star nearly drove the ball from the tee to the hole on a 415-yard, par-4 with one wicked smash.

Another high rating

Former University of Utah star linebacker Trevor Reilly has made a name for himself early on in the AAF season. He’s currently the top-rated linebacker in the fledgling, eight-team league.

Weekend planner

Friday, Feb. 22

  • NBA: Jazz at Thunder, 7:30 p.m.
  • G League: Stars at Lakeland, 5 p.m.
  • ECHL: Grizzlies at Allen, 6 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Dixie State vs. Regis, 5:30 p.m.
  • Men’s golf: UVU, SUU at Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate, at Palm Desert, Calif.
  • Women’s tennis: Utah at Washington State
  • Prep sports: 4A boys basketball first round
  • Prep sports: 3A boys basketball tournament, at SVC
  • Prep sports: 2A boys basketball tournament, at Weber State
  • Prep sports: 5A/6A girls basketball tournament, at SLCC
  • Prep sports: 3A girls basketball tournament, at SVC
  • Prep sports: 2A girls basketball tournament, at Weber State

Saturday, Feb. 23

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  • NBA: Jazz vs. Mavericks, 8 p.m.
  • ECHL: Grizzlies at Allen, 6 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: BYU vs. San Diego, 2 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Utah State vs. Boise State, 2 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Weber State at Idaho State, 2 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: SUU at Idaho
  • Women’s basketball: Dixie State vs. Colorado Christian, 5:30 p.m.
  • Men’s golf: UVU, SUU at Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate, at Palm Desert, Calif.
  • Women’s golf: UVU, SUU at GCU Invitational
  • Men’s tennis: Utah vs. Marquette/Montana
  • Men’s tennis: Weber State vs. EWU
  • Women’s tennis: Utah at Wisconsin
  • Women’s tennis: BYU vs. Seattle, at Pullman, Wash.
  • Prep sports: 3A boys basketball tournament, at SVC
  • Prep sports: 2A boys basketball tournament, at Weber State
  • Prep sports: 5A/6A girls basketball tournament, at SLCC
  • Prep sports: 3A girls basketball tournament, at SVC
  • Prep sports: 2A girls basketball tournament, at Weber State
  • Prep sports: 1A boys basketball play-in
  • Prep sports: 1A/4A girls basketball play-in

Sunday, Feb. 24

  • ECHL: Grizzlies at Allen, 3 p.m.
  • Men’s golf: UVU, SUU at Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate, at Palm Desert, Calif.
  • Women’s golf: UVU, SUU at GCU Invitational
  • Men’s tennis: Weber State vs. Northern Colorado
  • Women’s tennis: Utah vs. Minnesota, at Madison, Wis.