August 31, 2009

Every Monday, Bryan Armen Graham previews the big events of the upcoming week.

1. U.S. Open gets under way

The last Grand Slam of the decade begins Monday (11 a.m. ET, Tennis Channel), with additional coverage on ESPN2 (starting at 1 p.m.) and CBS on the weekends. There's also a comprehensive U.S. Open Mix Channel on DirecTV and, for the first time, free live streaming on of more than 150 matches for users in the United States. (And, of course, there's's comprehensive coverage of the event.)

2. Puddy paints face, supports the team

Don't miss Monday's rerun of a classic Seinfeld ep (7 p.m. ET, TBS). When Jerry lands Rangers-Devils playoff tickets, Elaine asks if boyfriend David Puddy can join. The rest is sitcom history. "The Face Painter" first aired during the Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 11, 1995 -- at the zenith of one of the NHL's most famous modern-day rivalries.

3. Say goodbye to The T.O. Show

Monday's season finale of The T.O. Show (10 p.m., VH1) focuses less on the eponymous wide receiver and more on Monique's impending nuptuals. But we're setting our DVRs for a much more compelling T.O. show, when the Bills open their regular season on Sept. 14 against the Patriots on Monday Night Football.

4. Get inside the bullring

If The T.O. Show is a bag of Cheetos, indie documentary showcase P.O.V. is a Peter Luger porterhouse -- rich, thoughtful, provocative television. Ella Es el Matador (She is the Matador) is Tuesday's latest installment in the long-running series (10 p.m. ET, PBS), tells the story of Spain's only female professional bullfighter and a younger up-and-comer.

5. Guitar Hero 5 hits stores

Why waste your time playing a real instrument when you can shred along to "All Along the Watchtower," "Sympathy for the Devil," or "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on a video game? The fifth installment of the ultimate pick-up-and-play rock experience -- sorry, Rock Band, you took it too far -- hits stores Tuesday. (Band-aids sold separately.)

6. Red Sox, Rays clash on national television

The Rays' wild-card hopes may be on life support -- at five-and-a-half games behind the Red Sox with 33 games left on Monday -- but hope abides in South Florida. Tampa Bay hosts Boston for a three-game midweek series, with Matt Garza taking the hill opposite Josh Beckett in a tasty Wednesday Night Baseball matchup (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).

7. College football kicks off

There's no shortage of attractive matchups on the opening weekend of the college football season (see chart), which kicks off Thursday with South Carolina at N.C. State (7 p.m., ESPN). Tantalizing plotlines include Tim Tebow and top-ranked Florida trying to cover an alleged 73-point spread Saturday against Charleston Southern (7 p.m., and Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus, the former Duke hoopster, making his debut under center against Minnesota (12 p.m., ESPN2). Itching for a juicy rivalry? Try the Rocky Mountain Showdown on Sunday between internecine rivals Colorado and Colorado State, the annual grudge match for Centennial State bragging rights which returns to Boulder after several years at Invesco Field at Mile High.

8. Costas trades barbs with Fallon

Sportscaster Bob Costas, always whip-smart on the late-night circuit, swings by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Friday (12:35 a.m., NBC).

9. Argentina meets Brazil in World Cup qualifier

Two of international soccer's most decorated sides renew hostilities in the marquee fixture of World Cup qualifying in South America (8 p.m. ET, Pay-Per-View). The match showcases global superstars aplenty, from Brazil's Kaka, Luis Fabiano and Robinho, to Argentina's Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero. The continent's top four teams earn automatic bids to South Africa 2010, meaning a loss could put fourth-place Argentina's World Cup hopes in serious jeopardy.

10. NASCAR hits Atlanta for Labor Day Classic 500

There's plenty at stake when the stock-car circuit hits Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) for the penultimate race before the season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup. Three drivers lurk within 112 points of a Chase spot, with six others bunched in an 84-point cluster just inside the dozen-driver cutoff.

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