BCS championship game
It's time for the Gators and the Sooners to settle things and for another bowl week tradition: guessing where the title-game coaches will work next season. Oklahoma's Bob Stoops has shot down rumors that he'll coach the Denver Broncos, who are owned by OU alum Pat Bowlen. Stoops and Florida's Urban Meyer, a veteran subject of NFL rumors, are gunning for their second titles.
The Billion Dollar Game
To most fans the Super Bowl is preceded by two weeks of hype. But in this illuminating book Allen St. John (Clapton's Guitar) chronicles a full year of buildup involving sponsor deals, party planning and Fox camera placements before last year's Giants-Patriots clash. It's an insider's look at a billion-dollar industry and a game that is much more than just a game.
Finally, after a five-week off-season, the PGA Tour kicks off its 2009 schedule. Some of the PGA Tour, anyway. The world's top four players—Tiger Woods, Sergio García, Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington—are all sitting out the event in Maui. Defending champ Daniel Chopra will be there, though, along with 32 other Tour event winners from '08.
National Bowling Stadium Championship
Kegling may be an odd choice on an NFL playoff afternoon, but the venue for this PBA Tour event makes flipping to ESPN worthwhile. The National Bowling Stadium in Reno is the Taj Mahal of tenpins, with 78 tournament-quality lanes. And if guys in bowling shirts aren't enough, the 440-foot-wide video screen stretching above the lanes is the world's longest.
Hall of Fame Inductees
When Cooperstown's class of '09 gets picked on Monday, Rickey Henderson's phone is sure to ring; whether the alltime steals and runs leader, who's eligible for the first time, will answer is another question. There's more drama surrounding Jim Rice. Will the ex--Red Sox outfielder make it in his final year of eligibility? Last year he fell just 16 votes short of enshrinement.
The Pop Culture Grid
How do sports stars fit in?
New Year's resolution
_____ is really aging fast
Show that turns you into a couch potato
I'm dying for _____ to get back together
Celeb who should take it easy in 2009
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI Tennis Player
To not eat white bread
The Backstreet Boys
JEFF CARTER Flyers C
Eat at home a little more
My teammate Glen Metropolit
Britney Spears and Kevin Federline (top)
MOLLIE FANKHAUSER LPGA
Get more tattoos
MTV's Rob and Big
Rob and Big (left)
P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Sean Combs
JON BEASON Panthers LB
The Carolina Panthers
Jake Delhomme and Muhsin Muhammad
The Dallas Cowboys
INSIDE THE GRID
Wozniacki made her choice just after Lohan created her headlines for reportedly fighting with girlfriend Samantha Ronson at a Miami club. Beason's pick, of course, is off the scene these days, which pleases the Panthers' top tackler. "All that off-the-field stuff and hearing about them in the media, I'm tired of it," he says of the T.O.-blighted crew. "They're like five-year-olds who say, 'I'm mad he didn't come to my birthday party!'"
BILL FRAKES (MEYER)
BOB ROSATO (STOOPS)
JEFF GROSS/WIREIMAGE.COM (CHOPRA)
CHUCK SOLOMON (HENDERSON)
JAMES D. SMITH/ICON SMI (DALLAS COWBOYS)
GETTY IMAGES (BEASON)
AION ARTS (FRANKHAUSER)
LOU CAPOZZOLA (CARTER)
SIMON BRUTY (WOZNIACKI)
PETER KRAMER/GETTY IMAGES (ROB AND BIG)
JIVE RECORDS (CD)
MATT SAYLES/AP (PITT)
ERIC JAMISON/AP (SPEARS AND FEDERLINE)