SI PICK OF THE WEEK
If you have trouble getting an NFL front-office type on the phone this week, try giving the Ladd-Peebles Stadium press box a ring. More than 700 pro coaches, scouts and general managers will be in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. Last year 10 participants were drafted in the first round, including Offensive Rookie of the Year Cadillac Williams. This year's gem could be Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler (above), the SEC's top passer (3,073 yards) and a projected top 10 pick. He'll try to impress his Senior Bowl coach: the Titans' Jeff Fisher, whose team will pick third in April. ESPN 4 p.m.
Arturo Gatti vs. Thomas Damgaard
During the 1990s three of Gatti's bouts were selected as Fight of the Year, and his face speaks of epic struggles. In his last bout Gatti (above left) came out on the wrong side, getting pummeled for six rounds by Floyd Mayweather. But the 33-year-old Gatti (39-7, 30 KOs) is all about comebacks, and he'll look to rebound from that TKO against Denmark's Damgaard (37-0, 27 KOs), who is making his U.S. debut. HBO 9:45 p.m.
January 30, 2006
Express PBR Classic
Chris Shivers (right) would like to become the first bull rider to win three PBR season championships, but Adriano Moraes (and a fair number of ornery 1,600-pound bulls) are standing (and snorting) in his way. Moraes, who also has two titles, is atop the PBR standings through six events, with Shivers a close second. OLN 8 p.m. (Sunday, NBC 1 p.m. and OLN 8 p.m.)
Penguins at Rangers
Think Pittsburgh misses Jaromir Jagr? The Czech is having his best season since leaving the Pens in 2001--he's the NHL's top scorer, with 71 points. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has the Eastern Conference's second-worst offense. NBC 2 p.m.
On Shelves: Foul Lines
The novel by SI senior writers Jack McCallum and L. Jon Wertheim tells the story of the L.A. Lasers of the National Basketball Federation, with an emphasis on the off-court side. "The characters are mostly composites," says McCallum, "but you may recognize one or two."
No. 22 Louisville at No. 6 Villanova
Conference USA is looking pretty good right about now. Louisville, in its first season in the Big East since leaving C-USA for the Big East, was cruising along at 12-1 until conference play started. The Cardinals are 1-4 since, and they'll have their hands full with the Wildcats. ESPN 7 p.m.
Detroit at New Jersey
Billups for MVP? Point guard Chauncey Billups (left) has led the Pistons to a 33-5 start, averaging 18.8 points and 8.6 assists. Nets fans might argue for Vince Carter. The Nets have won six of 10 with Carter averaging 27.5 during that stretch. Check listings 7:30 p.m.