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September 10, 2012 Table Of Contents

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LEADING OFF

LEADING OFF

SI.com

Sports Illustrated

THE MAIL

THE MAIL

EDITOR'S LETTER

New Media, Medieval Hours

By Terry McDonell

Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS

Cupcake Wars

Get fat on the Savannah States all you want, but in the new BCS you might want a few more Cowboy Classics on your résumé

By Andy Staples

Chasing Glory

Handicapping NASCAR's postseason contenders

By Lars Anderson

The New Efficiency

The tight budgets of three leading wild-card contenders extend beyond their payrolls to their skimpy run production

By Joe Sheehan

THE CASE FOR ... Andre Ward

By Chris Mannix

FALL OF THE RED SOX

THE EPIC RED SOX FAIL

A year ago, the Red Sox were baseball's model franchise. Words can only begin to describe how far they've fallen

By Tom Verducci

NFL KICKOFF 2012

NO PRESSURE, MAN

By Matt Gagne

U.S. OPEN

BIGGER, RICHER, CALMER, COOLER

Oh, the U. S. Open has changed—less raw, more polished, the nouveau province of the hipster and the high-heeled. But the old electricity? It still courses through the most thrilling fortnight in sports

By S.L. Price

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

05...04...YOU'RE NOT EVEN A REAL PLAYER...03...02...BUT YOU WILL MAKE THIS KICK...

The do-or-die life of kickers—outsiders in their own game—forges a bond that connects them across generations, and misses

By Lee Jenkins

THE WOMEN BEHIND THE MEN

The Other Half Of the Story

TOO OFTEN FORGOTTEN IN THE NFL CONCUSSION DEBATE ARE THE WIVES AND GIRLFRIENDS WHO BEAR THE BURDEN OF CARING FOR SUFFERING PLAYERS—AND WATCHING THE MEN THEY LOVE SLOWLY SLIP AWAY

By Melissa Segura

POINT AFTER

And Now, What They Really Think

By Phil Taylor

Departments

Masthead

Oh, Give Me My Home

With all the benefits to watching the NFL on television, there's little to gain from seeing the game in person anymore

By Steve Rushin

HOT | NOT

FOR THE RECORD

The Air Over There

One year on from a Russian jet crash, players face the prospect of returning to the KHL

By Sarah Kwak

For Fun and Country

A boisterous, brave and well-traveled fan club keeps the flag flying for the men's national team

By Grant Wahl

AN AT BAT AT LAST?

A player bids to come back from a beaning

By Stephanie Apstein

FACES IN THE CROWD

COACHES EDITION

Edited by Alexandra Fenwick

When the Shark Bites

An Aussie surfing star rides to the rescue during a vicious attack

By Dan Greene

JUST MY TYPE

By Dan Patrick