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September 12, 2011 Table Of Contents

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LEADING OFF

LEADING OFF

Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS

JIM TROTTER'S: PICKS OF THE WEEK

Among the full slate of 16 games to kick off the 2011 season, these are three of the most compelling matchups.

By Jim Trotter

WHY WE'LL WATCH

The Vick saga, Peyton's plight and the Pats' perils are among 2011's top story lines

By Peter King

BACKING IN

One of the runners to watch in '11, Ryan Mathews could hold the key to a San Diego Super Bowl

By Jim Trotter

THE WILDCATS' WILD CARD

Northwestern entered the season without its Heisman-candidate quarterback. Not to worry. Athletic backup Kain Colter is ready

By Matt Gagne

STEWART MANDEL'S: EXTRA POINTS

By Stewart Mandel

ACES IN QUEENS

After years of waiting in vain for the next big thing, U.S. fans were finally given something to cheer about at the Open

By S.L. Price

GETTING WARMER

By Andrew Lawrence

TEN YEARS

TEN YEARS

The games we watched played a substantial role in fostering a return to normalcy after 9/11. In the decade since the attack, with two wars still raging, sports still provide comfort—but they have also inspired, united and reminded

By Tim Layden

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

The Start of Something Big

Too early to play everybody's favorite parlor game, BCS 2012? Never. LSU has the eye of a January tiger. Oregon, good-bye. And Boise State? Fixing to make yet another mess of the championship calculus

By Austin Murphy

MOORE OF THE SAME BOISE MAGIC

Even with a megaconference taking shape in their midst, the BCS-busting Broncos might be the best bet out west to play for the title

By Lars Anderson

BASEBALL

GOOD AND NASTY

The Braves' three-headed relief monster—two parts lefty, one part Rookie of the Year front-runner, 100% filthy—has made life historically brutish and short for hitters. Now all the trio needs is a worthy nickname

By Ben Reiter

TRACK AND FIELD

DOUBLE FEATURE

In a dry (and fast) run for the 2012 Olympics, the world championships in South Korea produced a pair of stirring story lines: Usain's redemption and the USA's dominance

By Tim Layden

PRO BASKETBALL

THE TRIALS OF DIANA TAURASI

No one loves the game more than the Mercury guard, a leading contender for WNBA MVP, but even she didn't understand what hoops meant to her until a string of harrowing events threatened to derail her career

By Kelli Anderson

TCU Coach GARY PATTERSON

The House of Dream Chasers

Twenty-five years ago TCU coach Gary Patterson was a tumbleweed assistant clinging to a Division II job. No one expected he would rise to the top of his profession—not even the author, who lived with him then

By S.L. Price

POINT AFTER

PROSE FOOTBALL

By Joe Posnanski

Departments

Letters

COURTIN' IN THE PARK

What lockout? NBA stars' playground pyrotechnics are keeping the game alive

By Alexander Wolff

HOT | NOT

FOR THE RECORD

Requiem for a Heavyweight

A third untimely death may spur the NHL to take another look at fighting's place in the game

By Brian Cazeneuve

Images of a Forgotten Era

A rare memorabilia collection recalls the glory of military football

By Brian Hendrickson

The NFL's New Leaf

For tech-savvy teams, the digital playbook will be a game changer

By Jim Trotter

FACES IN THE CROWD

Edited by Alexandra Fenwick

Still Punching

By Rebecca Shore

JUST MY TYPE

By Dan Patrick