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Original Issue

Week Ahead

What to watch and watch for


Pilgrim's Pride Junior College Bowl O.K., so it's not quite Paul McCartney at the Super Bowl, but this showdown in Mount Pleasant, Texas, between juco powers Trinity Valley (Texas) and Northeast Mississippi promises a dancing chicken mascot as its entertainment. The game should be a little better. Trinity boasts the nation's leading rusher, Eric Ransom (1,531 yards), while Northeast's Cameron Montgomery is averaging over 100 yards per game. Fox Sports 1:30 p.m.


SI Pick of the Week
Bad Blood

'Tis the season and all that, but 40-year-old Bernard Hopkins (left) has been decidedly unjolly since July, when Jermain Taylor (right) ended Hopkins's 10-year run atop the middleweight division with a controversial split decision victory. As they prepared for the rematch in Las Vegas, Hopkins (46-3-1) called Taylor (24-0) a "fake champion" and compared the scoring in the last fight to a rape. The 27-year-old Taylor responded by calling Hopkins a "dirty fighter." It's safe to assume that these two will not be each other's Secret Santas. HBO PPV 9 p.m.

North Carolina at No. 10 Kentucky Tar Heels coach Roy Williams's 2006 recruiting class is the nation's best--but that won't help the champs (who lost all five starters from last season) in Lexington. Wildcats sophomore Rajon Rondo (above) leads the team in scoring (13.8 points) and rebounding (11.0)--no small feat for a guy who's 6'1". CBS noon

SEC Championship, No. 13 Georgia vs. No. 3 LSU The Bulldogs might want to think about investing in a time-share in Atlanta. After beating Georgia Tech last week in the state capital, Georgia (9-2) will try for the conference title at the Georgia Dome. The winner gets a bid to the Sugar Bowl, which will be played in--you guessed it--Atlanta. The Tigers (10-1) must contend with a healthy D.J. Shockley (above), who returned from a knee injury and has thrown for 2,199 yards. He's also the Bulldogs' third leading rusher. CBS 6 p.m.


No. 1 Duke at No. 16 Texas Texas fans have their eyes on national titles in football and men's basketball--both teams are currently ranked No. 2--but no one should forget the women. The Longhorns (3-1) are fresh off a share of the Junkanoo Jam championship, at which Tiffany Jackson, a preseason national player of the year candidate, was the tournament MVP. They'll get their stiffest test of the young season when they host the Blue Devils. Check Listings, 2 p.m.


Miami at San Antonio A Finals preview? Not likely unless Shaq returns to the floor sometime soon. Without the big fella for the last 12 games--he has a sprained right ankle (left)--the Heat has gone 7-5 and is struggling to hold off Orlando and Washington in the mediocre Southeast division. ESPN 9 p.m.