'Tis his season! And not in name only. Senior forward is UNC's early MVP. He's scoring (14.0 points a game), rebounding (7.3) and serving as defensive stopper for the 6-1 Tar Heels, who'll be home for the holidays with three games in Chapel Hill starting on Dec. 28.
Mount Union beat Wisconsin-Whitewater 35-28 to win the Division III title and end a 14-1 year. Said Purple Raiders coach Larry Kehres, whose .915 winning percentage is NCAA football's best ever, "This team deserves to be called great."
Antonio snagged six passes in San Diego's big win over the Colts (page 143) and leads all tight ends with 82 catches. The other Gateses--Bill and Melinda--aren't as adept at receiving, but for their giving they were named, with Bono, TIME's Persons of the Year.
Redskin had three TD catches (doubling his season's total) in a win over Dallas that put team in wild-card position. As Mavs guard Darrell Armstrong might--and did--say, into a microphone before a home game, "How 'bout the Redskins?"
In a showdown in South Africa, Retief Goosen said, "No, Els," to Ernie by getting birdies on his last two holes to win by a stroke. Els's five-foot putt for eagle on 18 fell short. Said Goosen, "I was surprised when he missed."
Think losing to the lousy Jets in Week 14 was rough? Try god-awful Browns 9, god-awfuller Raiders 7 in Week 15. Silver and Black fell to 4-10 this year, 9-21 under coach Norv Turner, who may be near the end of a brief Raiders reign.
Before his Dec. 17 bout with 7-foot, 323-pound Nikolay Valuev, boxer declared, "He's got a head the size of a Volkswagen. I can't miss hitting him." He didn't, but lost anyway in a loudly booed split decision.
Once-high hopes for the injury-riddled Cardinals hit bottom in a loss to the Texans (WR Anquan Boldin to Mesa's East Valley Tribune: "We never expected to come in here and lose.") The Coyotes were rattled by Coach Gretzky's departure to be with his ill mother, and the Suns dropped four of five.
SI PLAYERS POLL
Who has the best visitor's locker room in the NFL?
Who has the worst?
FAST FACTS: Visitors might get too comfortable in the spacious locker room at Denver's five-year-old Invesco Field--the Broncos are unbeaten at home this year.... Complaints about the 49ers' visitor's room, built decades ago for MLB's Giants, include that it's crowded, far from the field and generally dingy.
[ Based on a survey of 357 NFL players ] • For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/Players.
DAVID E. KLUTHO (NOEL)
SCOTT A. MILLER/US/PRESSWIRE (PURPLE RAIDER)
WILLIAM E. AMATUCCI JR./WIREIMAGE.COM (COOLEY)
JUDA NGWENYA/REUTERS (ELS)
PAUL SAKUMA/AP (TURNER)
JOCKEL FINCK/AP (RUIZ)