SI Players: LIFE ON AND OFF THE FIELD
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PRO FOOTBALL
Breaking Away
Behind their go-for-broke quarterback and two high-profile reclamation projects, the Cowboys overpowered the Giants to gain separation in the NFC East. Looming ahead: a showdown with the Packers for conference supremacy
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Bowl Chaos Season
Illinois's upset of No. 1 Ohio State shook up an already tumultuous race for the national championship. With three weeks left, here's who is in the best shape to play for the title
PRO BASKETBALL
Waiting for Kobe?
His arrival would create a new set of problems. But if the Bulls don't start winning soon, they may have no choice but to make a deal for Kobe Bryant
College Basketball Preview
A Fight Between Friends
Two freshmen, old pals, have arrived in L.A. to turn a classic football rivalry into a crosstown hoops war. It's USC vs. UCLA. It's O.J. Mayo vs. Kevin Love
The Best of ENEMIES
Everyone knows about Duke--North Carolina. But college hoops feuds can't get much more contentious than these burgeoning battles, fueled by poaching coaches, blue-chip recruits, buzzer-beaters and simple bad blood
A Pillar of Strength
During a stunning run to the finals and its painful aftermath, Rutgers forward Essence Carson became the voice of her embattled team
5 Minute Guide
A fast-break run through the top players, the compelling stories and the underdogs to watch this season
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW
2 UCLA
Adding a frosh prince, this battle-tested Bruins team finally may finally find its way to a title
3 Tennessee
After a year at Iowa, the return of this native son has the Volunteers thinking San Antonio
4 Memphis
The Tigers are experienced, deep and talented. Their coach wonders whether that'll be enough
5 Georgetown
Big men are a Hoyas tradition, but a versatile guard could be the key to a Final Four return
6 Kansas
The do-everything sophomore is gone. Enter another sophomore forward who can do it all
7 Louisville
The Cardinals get serious about winning a title, but they still have work to do on defense
8 Indiana
A hardened senior and a precocious freshman are ready to lead the Hoosiers deep into March
10 Marquette
After their martial arts training, the undersized Golden Eagles figure they can fight to the end
12 Duke
There's no established go-to guy, but there is a freshman forward who's happy to fill the role
13 Texas A & M
Used to winning ugly, the Aggies have a new coach, a new star and a new plan in motion
14 Oregon
Last year's Pac-10 surprise will stage another three-for-all, while applying a bit more muscle
15 USC
All eyes are on a prized recruit, but the Trojans really need their Taj to be monumental
16 Gonzaga
Getting past the Bulldogs will be a tall order, but it's the little guy who is key to the season
17 Texas
Schooled by pros, the sophomore playmaker is poised to become the next Longhorns legend
18 So. Illinois
A lockdown defense and a well-rounded star will again have the Salukis in the hunt in March
20 Kentucky
The new boss is great at whipping up instant winners, but he could use a big man (or three)
Filling the Brackets
Despite enough at-large, mid-major bids to make Billy Packer groan, the Big East and Pac-10 will rule on Selection Sunday
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