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SI View The Week in TV Sports


Sunday 10/11

Winston 500

You sit in the recliner watching the Goody's Headache Powder,
Lube and Corn Chips 500 when suddenly it hits you: Traffic! I'm
riveted to traffic. Yes, but what sublime commuting this is. No
tolls. No HOV lane. No speed limit, although there is a Lake
Speed limit (one). Best of all, if you are involved in a fender
bender you walk away with no hike in your insurance premium. Dad
gum, what a deal! Last year's Winston 500, at the Talladega
(Ala.) Superspeedway, would have put a traffic-copter pilot to
sleep. No pileups to report, no closed lanes, no alternate
routes to offer. For the only time in Talladega's three-decade
history, a race was run with no yellow flags. Mark Martin
scooted around the 2.66-mile track in his Ford Thunderbird at an
average speed of 188.4 mph, making the '97 running the quickest
500-mile NASCAR race ever. Martin, who also won this race in
'95, is chasing Jeff Gordon (above) for the Winston Cup series
points lead (4,457 to Martin's 4,283). Gordon has already
equaled the win total (10) that he had in both '96 and '97 but
has taken the checkered flag just once in 10 previous races at


Saturday 10/10

Kansas State at Colorado

James Garcia is the most bored man in Kansas--and that's saying
something. Garcia, the Wildcats punter, has appeared in eight
plays in fifth-ranked K-State's four wins. Between quarterback
Michael Bishop's leading an offense that averages 62.3 points
and placekicker Martin Grammatica's possessing 65-yard field
goal range, Garcia almost never has to buckle his chin strap.
His 55.8-yard gross punting average would be tops nationally if
only he had enough attempts (3.6 per game) to qualify. Maybe the
defense of the 14th-ranked Buffs (5-0) will oblige him.
Otherwise, like many a Kansan farmer, Garcia will remain
outstanding in his field but unsung.

AL Championship Series
--NBC 7:07PM

The Yankees have been haunted by the Indians all season. The
1954 Tribe won a then American League-record 111 games but was
swept in the World Series, a fact of which New York, winner of a
league-record 114 games, is constantly reminded. Further
bolstering the Indians' hopes is that their likely starter
tonight, righthander Jaret Wright, won two of his three
decisions against New York this season.

Monday 10/12

Dolphins at Jaguars
--ABC 8:20 PM

Between the sunny days that they thought would never end, this
year Floridians have seen fire and they've seen rain. Comparing
the devastation wrought by brushfires to that borne of Hurricane
Georges is like comparing the damage either contender,
Jacksonville (4-0) and Miami (3-1), can render. The Jaguars lost
half of their James (Stewart-Fred) Taylor backfield combo when
the former partially tore the ACL in his left knee. Quarterback
Mark Brunell may be the best runner of the three. Though they've
never met before, Miami and Jax think that come the AFC playoffs
they might see each other again.

Tuesday 10/13

Red Wings at Capitals
--ESPN 7:30 PM

Who can forget last year's Stanley Cup final? Don't all raise
your hands at once. Detroit skated to its second straight Cup
with a four-game sweep of Washington, although the Caps gamely
lost thrice by one goal. Wings center Steve Yzerman won the Conn
Smythe Trophy for being the postseason MVP, then purchased a
cottage in Ontario formerly owned by Conn Smythe, the legendary
Maple Leafs owner. Think how spirited play might become if there
were a Hugh Hefner Trophy.


COLOR PHOTO: NIGEL KINRADE [Jeff Gordon in racing helmet]


Rating at the end of last Friday's Yankees-Rangers Game 3 on
NBC--meaning 3.62 million households were tuned in at 2:30
a.m. ET.


Last year in the Windy City, Morocco's Khalid Khannouchi ran the
swiftest marathon ever on U.S. soil (2:07:10), a feat he will
try to beat in the Chicago Marathon (DIRECTV Channel 323,
PRIMESTAR Channels 190, 191, 192, Sunday, 8:30 a.m.).


Rain delay? Brain decay. Last Friday NBC looked more lost than
Dr. Carter during the first season of ER. When a Texas T-storm
suspended play during Game 3 of the Rangers-Yankees series, the
network whiffed by going almost immediately to a rerun of Third
Rock from the Sun. Here's how NBC should handle the next rain
delay: 1) show the last, lost minutes of the 1968 Jets-Raiders
"Heidi" game; 2) air any Tea Leoni screen test; or 3) let Jim
Gray interview himself.