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August 16, 2004 Table Of Contents

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Inside Cover

What Els Could Go Wrong?

Heartbreakingly close in the first three majors of the season, Ernie Els has one last chance to turn a disappointing year into a great one

By Seth Davis

Pressing Matter

Chris DiMarco’s Ryder Cup hopes went from lock to longshot in two hellish days

By Jim Gorant

Big Play With Kent Cayce

Rod Pampling won the International by playing smart and swinging hard, as he did on a 182-yard seven-iron shot that set up his critical eagle at 17

By Kent Cayce

Heard on the Range

By Farrell Evans

Golf Plus/SI.com Poll

Voting hours at si.com: 7 p.m. EST Sunday to 3 p.m. EST Monday

Sal Stats

By Sal Johnson

Whistling Straits

By GORJUS George Lucas*

Playing Their Way On

2¢ With Todd Hamilton

By Todd Hamilton

Catching Up With ...

Duke Carlisle, Quarterback

OCTOBER 21, 1963

Air and Space

McEnroe’s New Racket

By Steve Rushin

BASEBALL

A Blue Streak

Coming off a red-hot July and a flurry of deadline trades, the Dodgers are the talk of L.A. again

By Alan Shipnuck

Baseball

A Chance of Sunshine in Florida

The Marlins are counting on newly acquired catcher Paul Lo Duca to spark them to a second-half turnaround

By Tom Verducci

PRO FOOTBALL

BACK IN THE RUNNING

The Bills’ Willis McGahee showed flashes of his old form as he put his surgically reconstructed knee to its toughest test yet

BY Peter King

THE OLYMPICS

POOLING THEIR RESOURCES

The U.S. water polo team has trained maniacally for Athens, driven by a new coach who expects them to walk on water

By Bruce Schoenfeld

2004 College Football Preview

COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2004

Fountain of Youth

USC football has been revitalized thanks to a wellspring of blue-chip recruits who contribute right away

By Austin Murphy

The Big Switch

LSU’s Nick Saban is the master at signing multiskilled athletes and putting them at the right positions

By Kelley King

Who Wants It?

Jason White has a message for Matt Leinart: Winning the trophy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

By Tim Layden

5 Minute Guide

By Gene Menez

The Top 25 Scouting Reports

1 USC

The loss of a slew of starters doesn’t faze the Trojans, whose remaining stars are aligned for another title

By Austin Murphy

2 Oklahoma

Forget those final two games? No chance. Last year’s late collapse has the Sooners more fired up for ’04

By Lars Anderson

3 LSU

Picking up where they left off last year, the Tigers and their dominant defense are rarin’ to geaux

By Kelley King

4 Georgia

With wideout Fred Gibson healthy, focused and ready to lead, the Dawgs have the legs for a title run

By Mark Beech

5 Miami

A quick, powerful offensive line will help push the ACC newcomers to the forefront of the conference

By Kelley King

6 Florida

A go-for-broke defense led by a hog-wild linebacker will make Year 3 of the Ron Zook era the best yet

By Kelley King

7 Texas

The Longhorns’ mission: Beat Oklahoma. If they do, Vince Young could lead them to a Big 12 championship

By Lars Anderson

8 Ohio State

Spearheaded by a butt-kicking Butkus Award hopeful, the Buckeyes will reassert their Big Ten supremacy

By Stewart Mandel

9 Florida State

With a healthy one-two punch out of the backfield, the Seminoles look to fight off the ACC’s newcomers

By Kelley King

10 Kansas State

Boasting the nation’s best back, the reigning Big 12 champs (take that, Sooners!) go for two in a row

By Lars Anderson

11 Tennessee

With no veteran passer to bail out the offense, the pressure is on the running game to carry the Vols

By Mark Beech

12 Michigan

If Braylon Edwards’s new outlook is any indication, the Wolverines are serious about another Big Ten title

By Stewart Mandel

13 Auburn

The Tigers have retooled their offense--and put the disappointments of last year behind them

By Lars Anderson

14 Missouri

Stop Brad Smith: It’s the easy answer to beating the Tigers but one of the hardest tasks in college football

By Lars Anderson

15 Iowa

Inspired by LSU’s defense-led national championship, the hard-hitting Hawkeyes are setting their sights high

By Gene Menez

16 Clemson

The powerful right arm of Charlie Whitehurst elevates the Tigers from also-ran status to ACC contenders

By Mark Beech

17 Maryland

The ACC’s stingiest defense has lost key personnel, but thanks to D’Qwell Jackson, none of its sting

By Mark Beech

18 Oregon

With a strong season from country-boy quarterback Kellen Clemens, the Ducks will make hay in the Pac-10

By Gene Menez

19 Utah

Having climbed to the top of the Mountain West, the Utes are now ready to make their BCS push

By Gene Menez

20 West Virginia

The Mountaineers’ skilled and experienced offensive line will clear a path to the Big East’s BCS bowl bid

By Mark Beech

21 Nebraska

Change is in the air in Lincoln: The once-grounded Huskers embrace Bill Callahan’s West Coast offense

By Kelley King

22 Cal

A prolific passer and a first-class wideout corps headline the most promising Bears team in ages

By Richard Deitsch

23 Minnesota

A big-bang backfield and a dominant line have the Gophers believing this is their breakthrough season

By Stewart Mandel

24 TCU

With a strong line fronting a potent and balanced offense, the Horned Frogs will again be bowl-bound

By Gene Menez

25 Toledo

Record-setting quarterback Bruce Gradkowski pilots a Rockets offense that’s ready to soar into the elite

By Stewart Mandel

The Rest 26-117

COMPILED BY Richard Deitsch

IT WAS AN UGLY DAY,

exactly as forecast. A steady mist was falling; the air was cold. The thing about football is, nobody worth a damn ever ran out on the field believing he couldn’t win.

By John Ed Bradley

The Life of Reilly

Summer Steroid Fun!

HEY, KIDS! HERE ARE COOL PUZZLES TO SOLVE WHILE WE WAIT TO SEE WHICH OLYMPIC MEDALISTS FLUNK DRUG TESTS IN ATHENS

By Rick Reilly

Departments

Leading Off

A Fresh Face--for 2006

As World Cup qualifying kicks off, teenager Eddie Gaven could have the brightest future of any U.S. prospect

By Grant Wahl

Letters

Renaissance Fan

Embrace your inner couch potato: Research shows the best and the brightest are often those who cheer the loudest for their favorite team

By Warren St. John

Blowing the Whistle

Disgruntled NHL officials accuse their Hall of Fame ex-boss of corruption

By Lisa Altobelli

GO FIGURE

By Mark Bechtel

WHAT IS ... RealGM.com?

By Mark Bechtel

FOR THE RECORD

By Mark Bechtel

Off the Mat

By Bill Syken

BECKHAM’S WORLD WE’RE JUST LIVING IN IT

By Mark Bechtel

THE SHOW

By Bill Scheft

Q+A Matt Lauer

By Matt Lauer

THE WEEK AHEAD

WHAT TO WATCH AND WATCH FOR

By Julia Morr

UNDER REVIEW

By Stephen Cannella

THE POLL POSITION

By Mark Bechtel

SPORTS BEAT

By Mark Bechtel

Faces in the Crowd