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FEATURES

COLLEGEFOOTBALL

44 They GotGame

The first 115meetings between bitter rivals Kansas and Missouri were mostly forgettable, butthis one won't be. Saturday's victor will be one win from playing for thenational championship

By AustinMurphy

PRO FOOTBALL

48 The Fight forSecond

While the Patriotscontinue to operate on a higher plane, NFL Nation is left to wonder whether aviable contender--Dallas? Green Bay? Indy?--will emerge

By Tim Layden

• The Pats'precision play-calling

NASCAR

54 Bringing ItHome

Jimmie Johnsonrepeated as Nextel Cup champ with a flawless run at Homestead

By LarsAnderson

HIGH SCHOOLBASKETBALL

60 A Big-timeGamble

Some top recruits,like point guard Oscar Bellfield, would rather wait than sign

By GeorgeDohrmann

SOCCER

68 OrangeGroove

The HoustonDynasty--er, Dynamo--seized its second straight MLS Cup

By Grant Wahl

MICHAEL VICK

THE ROAD TO BADNEWZ

Through his riseand fall the QB stayed loyal to a tight circle of friends--homeboys who usedhim and ultimately sold him out

By George Dohrmannand Farrell Evans

Page 70

Departments

10 Leading Off

18 Letters

22 Players

• The antidote toBarry Bonds

• Remembering JoeNuxhall

• The Stars'strange G.M. choice

• Sports' biggestlosers

• First Person:Chris Paul

• The NFL's Jonesbrothers face off

• Caltech: revengeof the nerds

40 Faces in theCrowd

88 Life ofReilly

In Washington highschool athletics, a punishment that seems criminal by Rick Reilly

Inside . . .

81 The NFL

• Assessing RexGrossman

84 The NBA

• Dwyane Wadefires up the Heat

86 CollegeFootball

• A winningmakeover at Georgia

Cover

PHOTOGRAPH BYDAMIAN STROHMEYER

INSET PHOTO: DavidWalberg

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FEATUREDCOLUMNS

PETER KING

The Pats AreUnstoppable

The question isnot who can beat Tom Brady and the Patriots. It's who can give them a game.There's never been anything like this in the NFL.

Read more of thiscolumn at SI.com/king.

LARS ANDERSON

Hail to theChamps

Jimmie Johnson'screw chief, Chad Knaus, is a solid motivator and, more significantly, asingenious as anyone in the Nextel Cup garage.

Read more of thiscolumn at SI.com/anderson.

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CHRIS MANNIX'SBLOG

FanNation

Rebuilding,again

The Hawks haveseven lottery picks on their roster, including Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams,but they don't have a lot of wins to show for it.

Weigh in with yourthoughts at fannation.com.

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PHOTO

DAVID WALBERG (JOHNSON)

54 A WHEEL RUSH At the Ford 400 on Sunday, Jimmie Johnson's pit crew was efficient enough for a seventh-place finish, which clinched his second straight Nextel Cup championship.

PHOTO

MICHAEL BLACKWELL/POLARIS (VICK)

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

JOHN W. MCDONOUGH

HEINZ KLUETMEIER

ROBERT BECK

JOHN BIEVER

TWO PHOTOS

MEL LEVINE (KING, ANDERSON)

PHOTO

DAMIAN STROHMEYER (BRADY)

PHOTO

NIGEL KINRADE/AUTOSTOCK (JIMMIE JOHNSON)

PHOTO

PETER READ MILLER (ROETHLISBERGER)

PHOTO

JOHN BIEVER (TEBOW)

PHOTO

BOB ROSATO (JOE JOHNSON)