30 | WORLD SERIES

THE DROUGHT IS OVER

Thanks to their young, homegrown pitchers, the Giants ended 56 years of heartbreak and brought San Francisco a title it can call its own

By Tom Verducci

NFL MIDSEASON REPORT

38 | THE YEAR OF SPECIAL TEAMS

The league's most overlooked units are having a large impact on games and on the playoff race

By Peter King

WHO WILL PLAY (AND WIN) IN THE POSTSEASON

45 | PETER KING'S ALL-PRO TEAM

SI's NFL expert chooses his top first-half performers, with few familiar names and a slew of surprising ones

52 | SNAP, GRIP, DROP, SETUP ... THROW

A quarterback's ability to blend the simple elements of delivering a football is what separates merely good passers from the alltime greats

By Tim Layden

62 | COLLEGE FOOTBALL

UNDEFEATED UTAH

Coach Kyle Whittingham has his team challenging for a BCS berth, thanks in part to a life-altering decision he made six years ago

By Austin Murphy

Departments

4 Leading Off

10 Letters

12 Scorecard

Refs, meet players. It's about time

18 Just My Type

Kobe Bryant on rings and retirement

by Dan Patrick

20 Faces in the Crowd

22 Inside ...

The NBA

Players on the market

College Football

The demise of USC?

Fantasy Football

Pickups on bad teams

NASCAR

Denny Hamlin's plan

78 The Vault

The '77 Irish go green

82 Point After

Nothing to cheer about

by Selena Roberts

The Fire Inside

With hustle and heart, Joakim Noah has transformed himself into the soul of the Bulls

By Lee Jenkins

PAGE 68

ON THE COVER Photograph by Al Tielemans

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