Lineup

September 17, 2006

SEPTEMBER 18,2006
VOLUME 105, NO. 11

FEATURES

PRO FOOTBALL
44 Pass or Fail
The NFL's opening weekend highlighted the upheaval at quarterback--and no onefaced more scrutiny than Carson Palmer
by Michael Silver

TENNIS
52 As Good As They Get
At the U.S. Open, Roger Federer tightened his Tigerlike grip, and MariaSharapova fufilled her lavish promise
by S.L. Price

COLLEGEFOOTBALL
56 First Class
By guiding Ohio State to a win at Texas, Troy Smith showed he's theunquestioned leader of the No. 1 team in the land
by Austin Murphy

BASEBALL
62 Listen to His Bat
First baseman Ryan Howard has turned the Phillies' stretch drive into a boomingblast with his epic home run binge
by Franz Lidz

CHASE PREVIEW

In It to WinIt
Can Kyle Busch live down his hothead reputation?
by Lars Anderson
PAGE 66


Departments

8 Leading Off

16 Letters

19 Air andSpace
That notion that there's an advantage to height? It's just another tall tale bySteve Rushin

20 Scorecard

• Marion Jones'ssuspect circle
• Remembering an LPGA founder
• Great bits of sideline reporting

31 Faces in theCrowd

33 Players

86 Life ofReilly
For Leon Spinks's teeth or Mickey Mantle's liver, visit a hall greater than thesum of its parts by Rick Reilly

Inside ...

79 Baseball

• Barry Bondsrallies the Giants
• Tale of two ex--Red Sox prospects

80 CollegeFootball

• New clock ruleirks coaches
• The heat is on at Mississippi State

Cover

PHOTOGRAPH BYPETER READ MILLER

INSET PHOTOS: AlTielemans (Palmer); Manny Millan (Sharapova); Al Tielemans (Howard); NigelKinrade (Busch)

SI Extra

To sign up forSPORTS ILLUSTRATED's free subscriber-only e-mail newsletter, go tosicustomerservice.com/siextra.

ON THE WEB SI.COM

FREE SCORES, STATS AND BREAKING NEWS--NO SIGNUPREQUIRED.

>>BASEBALL

For the second year SI.com has surveyed fans toidentify the top ballpark. More than 8,500 people ranked stadiums in categoriesranging from parking to atmosphere--which the sausage races (right) lend toMiller Park in Milwaukee. Go to SI.com/baseball to find out which venues havethe best food, the most players worth the price of admission and the biggestbang for the buck.

>>NFL

In his new column, TEN FANTASY THINGS I THINK I THINK,Peter King (left) advised sitting Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck becausehe's "heading into a hornet's nest in Detroit" and starting runningback Laurence Maroney because "the Pats love him and will use him alot." Well, Hasselbeck struggled during Seattle's 9--6 victory, and Maroneyled New England in rushing with 86 yards against the Bills. Read King's tipsevery Friday at SI.com/nfl.

>>RIFFS OF REILLY

Jimmy Connors has improved Andy Roddick's tennis game,but might he be having an adverse effect on Roddick's love life? And just whatadvice does Rick Reilly have for fabled Packers quarterback Brett Favre(right)? Find out in this week's Riffs at SI.com.

DOWNLOAD FREE

Pick your NFL team and get news from across the web onyour desktop at SI.com/mysi.

PHOTORICHARD SCHULTZ/WIREIMAGE.COM (HOWARD) 62
MONSTER MASH As the season has gone on, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard hasbecome more of a deep threat at the plate.
PHOTOGREG FOSTER (BUSCH) PHOTOROBERT BECK (DUCKETT) 39
SKINS' GAME When he isn't training on the California beaches, Washingtonrunning back T.J. Duckett does a more conventional workout.
TWO PHOTOSJOHN BIEVER (SAUSAGE, FAVRE) PHOTOMEL LEVINE (KING)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)