OCTOBER 2, 2006
VOLUME 105, NO. 13
In the NFL's best new rivalry the Bengals beat Pittsburgh to take charge of the league's toughest division
by Tim Layden
54 Same Old Scene
In what is an all-too-familiar sight, a deep European team routed the U.S. at the Ryder Cup
by Alan Shipnuck
BASEBALL PLAYOFF PREVIEW
58 Collision Course
Is a Subway Series inevitable? Maybe, but this is October, when power doesn't always prevail
by Tom Verducci
62 Happy Feet
At West Virginia, Steve Slaton has developed into one of the most feared—and fastest—runners
by Phil Taylor
NHL PREVIEW 2006--07
66 Will You Tune In to These Two?
The spruced-up NHL hopes Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby will raise the league's profile in the U.S.
by Michael Farber
• The latest must-see rookie
by E.M. Swift
75 The Best Team $44 Million Can Buy
SI plays general manager—and comes in under the salary cap
81 Scouting Reports
Anaheim beats Buffalo for the Cup
• PLAYERS ON THE SPOT
• MVPs BY DIVISION
10 Leading Off
21 Air and Space
Why run 52 marathons in 52 weeks? If you work in an office, you know why
by Steve Rushin
It's time to embrace global parity
Sportswriters fight for free speech
The healing begins at Duquesne
34 Faces in the Crowd
112 Life of Reilly
Reinforcements for the U.S. team, winner-take-all payoffs and other Ryder Cup remedies
by Rick Reilly
100 College Football
A huge turnaround at Va. Tech
Husky Stadium comes to life
106 The NFL
The Bears' Mr. Reliable
Pass-protection woes in Miami
PHOTOGRAPH BY AL TIELEMANS
INSET PHOTO: David E. Klutho
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The final NL playoff spot could be decided on the final day, with Nomar Garciaparra (right) and the Dodgers hoping to unseat the Padres for the NL West title or edge the Phillies for the wild card. Follow the race for the postseason at SI.com/baseball, then read John Donovan's preview of the first round and SI.com's experts' predictions of who will win the Series.
>> COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Troy Smith (left) didn't start in Ohio State's last game at Iowa, a 33--7 Buckeyes loss in 2004. But he took over at quarterback the next game and has since gone 17--2 as a starter heading into Saturday's return trip to Iowa City. Get a preview of the Big Ten showdown between No. 1 Ohio State and the 13th-ranked Hawkeyes, and read Gene Menez's Heisman Watch at SI.com/collegefootball.
In one of two games this weekend between undefeated teams, Rex Grossman (right) and the Bears welcome the Seahawks to Chicago. Find out who Peter King thinks will come out on top in his Weekend Pickoff at SI.com/nfl, and get Don Bank's wrap-up of Week 4 in his Sunday Snap Judgments.
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SIMON BRUTY (GARCIA)
54 LOVE OF THE IRISH
After earning four points in five Ryder Cup matches for Europe, Sergio García milked the applause in Straffan on Sunday.
MICHAEL O'NEILL (OVECHKIN AND CROSBY)
JIMMY DEFLIPPO/US PRESSWIRE (SIMMS)
106 BODY BLOW
Hits like the one delivered by the Panthers' Julius Peppers on Sunday sent Chris Simms to the hospital with a ruptured spleen and forced the Bucs to turn to a rookie quarterback.
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (SMITH)
ROBERT BECK (GARCIAPARRA)
BILL FRAKES (GROSSMAN)