Saturday 11/29

The Skins Game

Here's how to put some more zip in this tired 18-hole event,
which this year features two-time defending champion Fred
Couples and the ubiquitous Tiger Woods: 1) replace Tom Lehman
and Mark O'Meara, the other players, with Mr. Bean and Happy
Gilmore; 2) make the golfers themselves pony up the dough for
lost skins; and 3) one word: Caddie-cam. Couples will bid to
become the second three-time champion (Payne Stewart is the
other) in this event's 15-year history. All eyes at Rancho La
Quinta Country Club, however, will be on Woods, who will seek to
close the year as he opened it: with a victory in his native
Southern California.

Monday 12/1

Packers at Vikings

The American Heritage Dictionary defines metronome as "a device
to mark time at a steady beat." It does not weigh in on
Metrodome, but cheeseheads know the word refers to a site where
Green Bay (9-3) is steadily beaten (0-5 since 1992). Minnesota
(8-4) has not made a Super Bowl appearance since the Bud (and
Lou) Grant era, but that's not defensive tackle John Randle's
fault. Randle (left, 93), fifth in the NFL in sacks this year
with 10 1/2, has 79 1/2 in the last six seasons--more than
anyone in the league.

Tuesday 12/2

SuperSonics at Wizards

New name, new uniforms and tonight, for the Washington Wizards
(ne Bullets), a new home, the MCI Center. (This team hasn't had
a center receive such rave reviews since Wes Unseld was a rookie
in 1968.) Wizards point guard Rod Strickland has been more
generous than a food bank, with his league-leading 10.5 assists
per game at week's end. But can he spread the love when guarded
by the Glove, Seattle's Gary Payton?

Kansas vs. Arizona

The Jayhawks were 34-1 and in the center of everyone's NCAA
tournament office pool sheet last March. Then came their fateful
85-82 loss to the Wildcats in the Sweet 16. Lute's recruits
never looked back en route to the championship. This year
Arizona's top eight players have returned, including the
nation's best backcourt, in Miles Simon and Mike Bibby (right).
To counter in this Great Eight tournament game, Kansas will send
out the country's best frontcourt, in forwards Raef LaFrentz and
Paul Pierce and 7-foot freshman center Eric Chenowith.
ESPN, 9:30 PM

Thursday 12/4


This vintage 1968 biography will be most educational for younger
viewers who know Vince Lombardi only through actor Jerry
Stiller's commercial caricature. The film was produced shortly
after Green Bay beat the Oakland Raiders 33-14 in Super Bowl
II--the final game as Packers coach for Lombardi, who was
hoisted afterward by Jerry Kramer (below). Though Lombardi
belongs on football's Rushmore, this bio, which includes
interviews with Packers such as Bart Starr and Paul Hornung,
depicts him as a passionate man. "He made football players out
of some men," says his wife, Marie. "I think he's much more
proud that he made men out of some football players."

All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.

COLOR PHOTO: HEINZ KLUETMEIER [John Randle in game] COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN [Mike Bibby in game] COLOR PHOTO: NEIL LEIFER [Vince Lombardi on Jerry Kramer's shoulder]


The best college football studio show? ESPN's College GameDay
(telecast this week on Saturday at 11 a.m.). But must analysts
Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit disagree on every matchup? How
long will it be until Corso (a.k.a. the Coach) huffs, "Kirk, you
ignorant slut!"? Surely these contretemps are scripted. "Not so
fast, my friend," says Corso, who seals his picks--as does
Herbstreit--in an envelope and delivers them to the producer
hours before showtime. "I swear on my word of honor that every
dispute is legit. A couple of weeks ago I really believed that
Clemson, Purdue and Washington would win. [All three lost.]
Maybe that's why I'm an ex-coach."