Davis Cup Semifinal: U.S. vs. Australia
Like Crocodile Dundee, Australia's samurai-coiffed Patrick
Rafter created quite a stir during a visit to New York City by
winning the U.S. Open earlier this month. Rafter, ranked third
in the world, will face the sport's higher-rated players, Pete
Sampras (No. 1) and Michael Chang (above, No. 2), in what should
be the pivotal matches in this best-of-five tie.
ESPN2, 3:30 PM; ESPN, SUNDAY, 3 PM
Nebraska at Washington
Tennessee at Florida
Picture-in-picture alert: Two of the season's best matchups,
featuring four of the AP poll's top seven teams, are aired
simultaneously. Fans of the ground game will love the
Husker-Husky matchup, showcasing I-back Ahman Green (Nebraska)
and tailback Rashaan Shehee (Washington). The SEC East showdown
(page 46) promises to be an aerial dogfight.
ABC/PPV (NEBRASKA-WASHINGTON); CBS (TENNESSEE-FLORIDA), 3:30 PM
Dolphins at Buccaneers
The Battle of Florida--simmer down, Jaguars junkies--boasts one
hot team. Unexpectedly, it's Tampa Bay, 3-0 and the surprise of
the early season, thanks in part to a crop of youngsters from
Sunshine State schools. Warrick Dunn (Florida State) is the
Bucs' leading rusher (89.3 yards per game), Reidel Anthony
(Florida) and Horace Copeland (Miami) are tied for the team lead
in receptions, with seven, and tackle Warren Sapp (below, Miami)
is tied for third in the NFL with 3 1/2 sacks.
TNT, 8 PM
Yankees at Indians
Sock it, Thome! In Cleveland folks are abuzz about first baseman
Jim Thome's socks, in two senses of the word. At week's end
Thome's 40 home runs placed him third among American League
sluggers, but it's Thome's hose, which he wears exposed up to
the knees, that has inspired his teammates. On Aug. 27, Thome's
27th birthday, the other players on the Tribe began imitating
his shocking stocking style, after which the Indians went 11-5.
But Cleveland better pull up its socks when the Yankees come to
town: New York is 7-2 at Jacobs Field over the last two seasons.
The two teams almost certainly will meet again in next week's
divisional playoffs, when Thome's Tribe will need to have more
runs in its bats than in its hosiery.
FX, 7 PM
The Yanks are coming! Or is it, the shanks are coming?
Continental Europe, specifically Spain's Club de Golf
Valderrama, will for the first time host golf's most
pressure-packed event (concluding Sept. 27-28 on NBC), in which
seemingly nerveless Masters champions--e.g., Bernhard Langer in
1991--suddenly tremble over six-foot putts. Anchoring the
Cup-holding Europeans is Nick Faldo (left), a 10-time Ryder
Cupper. The Americans are banking on a Ryder rookie, Tiger
Woods, who in his three consecutive U.S. Amateur wins ('93, '94
and '95) showed he already ranks as one of the most unflappable
of match play artists.
USA, 8 AM
COLOR PHOTO: CHRISTOPHE GUIBBAND/ALLSPORT/VANDYSTADT [Michael Chang] COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO [Warren Sapp in game]
COLOR PHOTO: J.D. CUBAN [Nick Faldo golfing]
THE ! ZAPPER
Kudos to ABC's Dan Fouts for condemning as "incredibly stupid"
the penalty for excessive celebration following Notre Dame's
final touchdown, which made the score 21-16, late in the Irish's
28-17 loss to Purdue last Saturday. Rarely are commentators so
bluntly critical of officials or the NCAA. (Replays confirmed
Fouts's view that the end zone demonstration was relatively
restrained.) However, Fouts and his broadcast partner, Brent
Musburger, didn't question Irish coach Bob Davie's decision to
kick an extra point rather than attempt (albeit from 17 1/2 yards
out) a two-point conversion that would have brought Notre Dame
within a field goal. If any call deserved criticism, that was it.
All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.