52 Defense First

Every contender this season has a lockdown defender

By Phil Taylor

SEC stopper Jarvis Varnado

60 Calipari and Pitino

Is Kentucky big enough for two egos of this magnitude?

By Grant Wahl

64 SI's Men's Top 20

Scouting reports, season schedules and projected starting lineups

• The 65-team NCAA field

100 5 Minute Guide

New faces to watch, All-America teams and story lines to follow

102 Stanford Women

Jayne Appel leads a frontcourt that foes look up to

By Kelli Anderson

• SI's Women's Top 20


San Diego Chargers

The offense no longer runs through LaDainian Tomlinson, but in accepting the new order he has rediscovered the joy of running

By Jim Trotter


Boise State

The undefeated Broncos showed that they deserve a BCS bowl berth, but will they get it?

By Albert Chen

• SI's projected BCS bowl lineup


6 Leading Off

14 Letters

18 Scorecard

A hoops turning point

26 Just My Type

Jobless Larry Johnson

by Dan Patrick

28 Faces in the Crowd

30 Inside ...

• Boxing

Manny the Great

• The NBA

Shaqless Suns shine

• College Football

Buckeyes' odd couple


Mark Martin's big year

• The NFL

Bengals rule division

108 The Vault

Bears on a tear, 1985

112 Point After

How LeBron could be the NBA's Steve Jobs

by Chris Ballard



Photographs by John Biever (Michigan State, Kansas); Bob Rosato (Kentucky); John W. McDonough (Washington); Lou Capozzola (Villanova); Mitchell Layton (Connecticut)

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PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (ALDRICH)UPPER HAND Center Cole Aldrich (in blue) is No. 1 Kansas's most fearsome defender. EIGHT PHOTOS