This is an article from the Nov. 23, 2009 issue
Down is up, and West is East: On Sunday (ESPN) the L.A. Galaxy, the West champs, meet Real Salt Lake, the lowest seed and winner of the Eastern Conference final ... even though it plays in the West. (Wild cards are seeded by record, not conference.) L.A. can cap a tumultuous year—remember the Landon Donovan--David Beckham tiff?—with its third MLS title.
Jets vs. Patriots
Before New England visited the Meadowlands in September, Jets coach Rex Ryan left voice messages for season-ticket holders, saying his team needed them in full throat that weekend. It worked: The place was a madhouse, and New York won 16--9. Will Bill Belichick do the same for his team? Doubt it, but the first-place Pats may not need help. They're unbeaten at home this year.
National Dog Show
The Lions (hosting the Packers) and the Raiders (visiting the Cowboys) won't be the only dogs on TV this Thanksgiving. NBC has the Kennel Club of Philadelphia's annual canine throwdown (taped last weekend). Sadie, a Scottish terrier ranked No. 1 dog in the country by the America Kennel Club, will be among the four-legged favorites.
Oregon vs. Arizona
Droughts are a fact of life in the desert, but a frustrating one could soon end. The Wildcats are the only Pac-10 team to never go to the Rose Bowl, but they have a shot: Wins in their final three games will get them there. The first-place Ducks, ranked No. 11, are first up. Good news for the Cats: RB Nic Grigsby should be back after missing most of two games with a shoulder injury.
Coaches vs. Cancer Classic
College hoops gets cranking with this annual minitournament at Madison Square Garden. The 15th edition has UNC vs. Ohio State in one semi and Cal vs. Syracuse in the other; the final is on Friday (all games on ESPN2). What does the A.H. (After Hansbrough) era look like for UNC? Watch freshman John Henson, who could be the Heels' next star.
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Joe Montana's house
Have $49 million? (Gee, wonder how he arrived at that price?) The NFL Hall of Famer is selling his Calistoga, Calif., manse. (He and his wife now live in Southern California.) It's a Tuscan-style estate, anchored by a 9,700-square-foot house; there's also an equestrian center, boccie court and working olive farm. Ooh and ahh at villamontana estate.com.
The Pop Culture Grid
|Athletes in the mix||Britney lip-synching is like ...||Must-have fall accessory||I always sleep in my ...||Favorite movie quote||Plastic surgery I might consider|
|RICH PEVERLEY Thrashers C||Hockey without a puck||A winter hat||Boxer shorts and T-shirt||"You can't handle the truth!"||Tummy tuck|
|CARLOS BOCANEGRA USA Soccer D||Music to my ears||My new scarf from Paris||Retainer||"Allow myself to introduce myself"||Anything to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club|
|MARCUS MCNEILL Chargers T||Every little boy's dream||MacBook Air||Jordan shorts and a wife beater||"With every step I gain more confidence"||I wouldn't have plastic surgery|
|CURTIS LOFTON Falcons LB||No comment||A heavy coat||Oklahoma gym shorts||Don't have one||Lasik|
Inside the Grid
Surgery would let Peverley curtail his workouts: "I'm going for a permanent six-pack so I never have to do sit-ups." But the 6'7", 336-pound McNeill won't toy with perfection. "You see how big I am?" he asks. "It had to take God a long time to assemble me. I wouldn't want to mess up all of this fineness."