Michigan at Notre Dame
Cheer, cheer for old Notre.... Hey! Who you calling old? I didn't say old. Who called anyone old? The Irish have taken many a lick in the wake of former offensive line coach Joe (Will ya still need me, will ya still feed me?) Moore's age-discrimination suit against the school after coach Bob Davie fired him. Coming off that loss, not to mention six defeats last season, factored in with an inexperienced quarterback in Jarious Jackson, the Irish (ranked 25th by SI) should be down. But do not count them out, even though the No. 8 Wolverines retain nine starters, including their leading tackier, linebacker Sam Sword, from the country's stingiest defense of 1997 It should be close. The last five meetings between these two teams in South Bend (two wins for each, with one tie) have been decided by a total of nine points, with four games coming down to the final play.
? NBC, 3:30 PM
Ohio State at West Virginia
Here's a multiple-choice question for the Buckeyes, whom SI has ranked No. 1 in college football entering the season. The movie Dead Man on Campus is 1) about a student looking to salvage his grade point average through the death of his roommate, 2) about the summer-school professor who flunks Ohio State linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer or 3) about to go to video because it was a dud in theaters. Should Butkus Award winner Katzenmoyer fail any one of his three summer-school classes (grades are due on Friday), fans will be deprived of watching him collide with fellow Heisman hopeful Amos Zereoue (far left). Famous Amos rushed for 1,589 yards last season for the No. 18 Mountaineers. News out of Morgantown is that campus leaders have voted that frat houses be dry by the year 2000. Should Zereoue and Co. win tonight, the school will party like it's 1999.
? CBS, 8 PM
Jets at 49ers
As CBS returns to the NFL after a four-year hiatus, play-by-play man Greg Gumbel teams in the booth with Phil Simms, whom Jets coach Bill Parcells will try to lure out of retirement during pregame warmups. In the off-season New York jettisoned quarterback Neil O'Donnell and installed frisky Glenn Foley as its quarterback of the future. Foley and newly acquired running back Curtis Martin will be tested immediately against a San Francisco defense, led by tackle Bryant Young, that was tops in the league a year ago. Memo to the Niners brass: Don't the Jets' new-old uniforms look sharp? Bring back those gold pants for Jerry Rice (left) and crew!
? CBS, 4:15 PM
Mac and Sammy Watch
With apologies to the Starland Vocal Band:
Knocking bat and ball together makes the sparks ignite,
And the thought of hittin' 62 is so excitin',
Skyrockets in flight, Afternoon
Labor Day loyalties will be divided between Jerry Lewis and St. Louis (in France the terms are interchangeable) as the Cards' Mark McGwire and the Cubs' Sammy Sosa play Home Run Derby at Busch Stadium while Lewis tear-jerks us through his 33rd annual telethon. At week's end Big-Mac-and-Flies-to-Go had belted 55 homers and Sosa had slammed 54. Other probable national McGwire sightings this week: Saturday, 1 p.m., Fox; and Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN. As for Sosa, tune in to WGN on Saturday at 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m. and Friday at 3 p.m.
?WGN, 2 PM; TUESDAY, FX, 8 PM
Roger Maris: Reluctant Hero
Maris, who died in 1985, would have been 64 on Thursday. Too bad he isn't around to observe McGwire's and Sosa's assault on his '61 home run record because, as this elegiac one-hour documentary details, he surely didn't enjoy his own 61-homer year. Such was the pressure that Maris (left) asked Yankees manager Ralph Houk if he could sit out game No. 154 (by which, ruled commissioner Ford Frick, Maris had to beat or tie Babe Ruth, or an asterisk would be affixed to his record); Houk convinced Maris to play, and Maris blasted No. 59 that night. Even Yankee-haters will get chills as Maris's clouts parade across the screen in ill-lit black and white.
? ESPN, 8:30 PM; ESPN CLASSIC, 10 PM
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.