Astros at Cardinals
FX 8 PM In recent years Houston-St. Louis has meant pumped-up
power hitters. In the forefront this year, though, are young
arms like Cardinals rookie Bud (No-Hit) Smith and Astros rookie
Roy Oswalt, pitchers who may well decide whether these National
League Central clubs make it to the postseason.
Bernard Hopkins vs. Felix Trinidad
TVKO 9 PM ($49.95) The most compelling nonheavyweight fight in
10 years, this Madison Square Garden showdown will crown the
first undisputed middleweight champion since Marvin Hagler in
1986. Apparently that's not enough incentive for the voluble
Hopkins. In two prefight press conferences, Hopkins, the IBF and
WBC champ, caused melees by seizing the Puerto Rican flag and
throwing it to the floor. Why? Puerto Rico native Trinidad, said
Philadelphia native Hopkins, was showing a "lack of respect to a
worthy champion. I had to stomp that fire because it was going
to blaze into a real fire of disrespect." Expect the 28-year-old
Trinidad, a former welterweight and super welterweight champion,
to use the sprinkler of superior skill to dampen the 36-year-old
Vikings at Ravens
ABC 9 PM Here at the View, where we prefer our hype to be
utterly shameless, it's never too early to utter the words
"potential Super Bowl preview." In true irresistible versus
immovable tradition, this game features a Baltimore defense that
last year set the NFL record for fewest points allowed in a
16-game season against a Minnesota offense stocked with such
touchdown junkies as quarterback Daunte Culpepper and wideouts
Cris Carter and Randy Moss. We won't tell you that either team
is (cue dramatic John Facenda voice-over) "a team of des-tin-y,"
but this matchup should provide some entertaining football.
Tennessee at Florida
CBS 3:30 PM Heading into last Saturday's 55-6 demolition of
hapless Louisiana-Monroe, the Gators were favored by a mere 56
points. This week the oddsmakers will have to do a little more
calculator-crunching as they try to dope out No. 2 Florida's
battle with the No. 8 Vols. To beat the Gators in Gainesville
for the first time since 1971, Tennessee has to hope defensive
tackle and one-man maelstrom John Henderson gets to Florida
sophomore quarterback Rex Grossman before he can find receiver
Jabar Gaffney (10, above). On offense Casey Clausen, the Vols'
inconsistent sophomore signal-caller, must make good decisions.
When flushed from the pocket, he would do well to follow the
advice of a certain white-haired handicapper who crooned that
"the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and
knowing what to keep."
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO
Net gain: Last Saturday night's all-Williams U.S. Open women's
tennis final on CBS trounced ABC's football matchup between
Nebraska and Notre Dame 7.7 to 4.4 in the overnight Nielsens.
Will CBS keep the women's final in prime time next year, even
though it has the rights to the Florida-Miami game, which
normally would be scheduled at night?... Warning: The redesigned
ESPNEWS may look like a web page, but it isn't. Between the main
picture, box scores, statistics and the ticker, you long for a
computer mouse to zero in on one aspect. As it is, viewing can