Week Ahead

What to watch and watch for
January 08, 2007

THURSDAY 1/4
Mercedes-Benz Championship
While much of America delays taking down the holiday decorations because it's so damn cold outside, 36 top pros will hit the links in Maui wearing their summer togs. The kickoff tournament for the 2007 PGA Tour season has been dominated by a guy who's used to warm weather in January: Aussie Stuart Appleby (above), who has won three in a row at the Kapalua Resort. (Through Sunday) Golf Channel 6 p.m.

SATURDAY 1/6
NFL Wild-Card Weekend
Eight teams hop on what they hope will become the Road to Super Bowl XLI—but don't count on it. Only once in the last five years has a team that didn't receive a first-round bye gone on to win the Super Bowl. If anyone can buck that trend, it's New England quarterback Tom Brady (right). In 11 career playoff starts, he's 10--1. Check listings

Samuel Peter vs. James Toney
The book on the 38-year-old Toney, a former world champ, is simple: If you can hit him, you can beat him. The problem is catching him. In September the elusive Toney (69-5-3) bobbed and weaved his way to what he thought was a win over the big-punching Peter (27--1), but the Nigerian Nightmare took a controversial split decision. The stakes in the rematch are high. The winner gets a date with WBC heavyweight champ Oleg Maskaev. Showtime 10 p.m.

MONDAY 1/8
BCS National Championship Game: Ohio State vs. Florida
Will this be the Year of the Gator? Florida, which won the NCAA hoops title last April, can become the first school to hold both the football and basketball crowns simultaneously. The school that's come the closest? Tonight's opponent. The Buckeyes won a share of the 1961 football crown, then lost the hoops title game the next spring. Fox 8 p.m.

TUESDAY 1/9
Hall of Fame Election Results
With Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. virtual shoo-ins to be elected in their first year of eligibility, the big question is how Big Mac will fare. Mark McGwire hit 583 homers, but questions about steroid use (and his refusal to address the issue) make him a long shot to get the 75% of votes cast needed for enshrinement.

SI PICK OF THE WEEK

SATURDAY 1/6
Cleaning the Glass
Rebounding machine Ben Wallace—who had games of 27 and 20 boards in December—left Detroit for the Bulls as a free agent after last season. But when he welcomes his old teammates to Chicago for their first matchup of the year, he'll see a squad that has actually improved on the glass. Rasheed Wallace (above) is pulling down 8.9 boards per game, and Tayshaun Prince (5.9) and Rip Hamilton (4.1) are also averaging career highs. At 18--9 the Pistons have the best record in the East, but the Bulls are just two games back after winning 14 of 17. Check listings 8:30 p.m.

PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (WALLACE) PHOTOBOB ROSATO (GATOR) PHOTOAL TIELEMANS (BRADY) PHOTOMARCO GARCIA/PGA TOUR/WIREIMAGE.COM (APPLEBY)

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)