Lineup

October 15, 2006

OCTOBER 16, 2006
VOLUME 105, NO. 15

FEATURES

BASEBALL PLAYOFFS
38 Blown Away
The hard-throwing Tigers stunned the Yankees and the A's power arms beat the Twins. Now they'll square off in a most unexpected showdown
by Tom Verducci

• BIG RED IS NOT DEAD
The revived Cardinals move on to meet the Mets
by Michael Farber

SOCCER
46 London Calling
Jay DeMerit couldn't make it in the U.S. So he went to England, and now he's a bloomin' favorite
by Grant Wahl

PRO FOOTBALL
50 Pass Happy
The rise of strong-armed quarterback Rex Grossman may be the final piece in the Bears' Super Bowl puzzle
by Tim Layden

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
MIDSEASON REPORT

Battle of the South

The SEC is the best, toughest, wildest conference in the land
by PHIL TAYLOR

The Pigs Are Flying
by AUSTIN MURPHY

•SECOND-HALF OUTLOOK

•TWO-MINUTE DRILL

PAGE 54

Departments

6 Leading Off

12 Letters

15 Air and Space
In baseball's silly season, there's plenty of room for Gardy, Grady and Boof
by Steve Rushin

16 Scorecard
Yankees haters rejoice!
Remembering Buck O'Neil
A Blue Devil's amazing recovery

25 Faces in the Crowd

29 Players

72 Life of Reilly
What has four wheels, four feet, two eyes and one horn? An inspirational marching band entry
by Rick Reilly

Inside...

66 The NFL
A smooth start for Matt Leinart
What's ailing LaVar Arrington?

70 Motor Sports
Little E's untimely spinout
An F1 star's NASCAR debut

Cover
PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID BERGMAN

INSET PHOTO: Chuck Solomon (Rogers); COVER FLAP: Bob Rosato (Grossman); Paul Sancya/AP (Rodriguez)

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>> BASEBALL
How far can the left arm of ace Barry Zito (below) carry the A's? How realistic are the title hopes of the resurgent Tigers, the underdog Cardinals and the hard-hitting Mets? Follow the league championships and the World Series at SI.com/baseball, with analysis from Tom Verducci, John Donovan, Jacob Luft and Albert Chen. Also check out a gallery of the top moments in LCS history at SI.com/photo.

>> COLLEGE FOOTBALL
It's crystal ball time again: SI.com's experts make their predictions for the second-half flops, the Heisman Trophy winner and the coach who will be fired first at SI.com/collegefootball. Also find out who joins Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis (left) on the midseason All-America team.

>> NHL
Thanks in part to Brendan Shanahan (right) and his 600th goal, the Rangers got off to a 2--0 start. But after a tough four-game stretch, will they move up SI.com's weekly power rankings? Go to SI.com/nhl to find out.

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PHOTOMICHAEL ZAGARIS (A'S)38 EASY A'S
Before their clinching victory over the Twins last Friday, (from left) Joe Kennedy, Mark Kotsay, Nick Swisher and Frank Thomas lounged in the Oakland clubhouse.
PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (SEC) PHOTOGLENN SMITH/AP (NASCAR)70 A WHEEL MESS
Jeff Gordon (24) Casey Mears (42) Jamie McMurray (26) Greg Biffle (16) Clint Bowyer (07) and Sterling Marlin (14) collided in Turn 1 at Talladgea on Sunday.
PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (ZITO) PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (LAURINAITIS) PHOTOLOU CAPOZZOLA (SHANAHAN)

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)