Washington at UCLA
The last two times the Bruins failed to win their first two games of the year (1983 and '93), they ended up in the Rose Bowl. UCLA began 1997 with two losses, but behind quarterback Cade McNown and tailback Skip Hicks (right) the Bruins have won seven straight. The fortunes of the 7-2 Huskies rest largely in the hands of quarterback Brock Huard, who sat out Saturday's 31-28 loss to Oregon with a sprained left ankle. Huard leads the nation in passing efficiency (169.4). Despite the loss to the Ducks, I the Huskies control their Rose Bowl destiny, needing wins over UCLA and against Washington State to return to Pasadena on New Year's Day.
?ABC, 3:30 PM
Don King: Only in America
Ving is King. Ving Rhames portrays boxing's Bar-num in all his glorious, notorious and nefarious gesticulations, vituperations, prevarications and, as King is depicted as saying in the film, "negrotiations." After having "an epiphanous experience of pure religiosity" in prison ( King served four years for manslaughter), King transmogrifies himself into a promoter of "historical ramifiliations." In one of many vignettes in which he addresses the camera, King exudes, "The ultimate gravitational force of the universe is money, baby."
? HBO, 8 PM
Xplosion at Power
After having the ABCs worst record last season, the Portland Power deserved to be called the Oregon Trail. Only center Natalie Williams, who led the league in rebounds (12.5 per game) and tied for fifth in scoring (17.3), provided any voltage. Now Williams is the turbine behind the Power's surge. At press time Portland was 7-2, and Williams was recently named ABL Player of the Week after averaging 23.3 points and 13 rebounds in three games, all wins. Colorado, last year's Western Conference champ, was 3-6.
?FOXSPORTSNET, 7 PM
"He's too slick, too smart, too preppy," said a NASCAR fan clad in an ANYBODY BUT GORDON T-shirt at the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Oct. 5 who obviously wasn't happy that Jeff Gordon (below) was poised to win the Winston Cup points championship. "He doesn't even look like a racecar driver." The clean-cut, 26-year-old Gordon needs only to finish in the top 18 in this season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway to win his second driving title in the last three years. Tailgating Gordon in the standings is Dale Jarrett, 40, whose Nov. 2 victory in Phoenix kept alive his bid to overtake the front-runner.
? ESPN, 12:30 PM
Knicks at Rockets
Imagine the following scenario inspired by the name of a certain well-coiffed CNN/SI correspondent: Nick Charles. If Rockets forward Charles Barkley (above) played for the Knicks, he would be a $5 cab ride from NBA headquarters (to discuss fines, retirement, etc.), could hire forward Charles Oakley as his bodyguard and would enhance his chances of at last winning a title. Barkley is still crashing the glass: Witness his 21 rebounds during a 124—110 win over the Clippers on Nov. 5.
?TNT, 8 PM
All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.