Miami at Syracuse
? CBS 3:30 PM
The clues: Quarterback. Senior. Long-shot Heisman Trophy candidate. Has thrown up on the field this season. Spells his last name M-c-N.... No, we're not talking about UCLA's Cade McNown, but Syracuse's Donovan McNabb (right). On Nov. 14, McNabb led the Orangemen on a game-winning drive against Virginia Tech in which he threw an abdominal up-and-out pattern before tossing a touchdown pass on the final play. McNabb will need the sometimes porous Syracuse defense to contain Hurricanes running back Edgerrin James, who has averaged 147 yards rushing in Miami's last four games, all wins. Whoever carries the day at the Carrier Dome wins the Big East and the conference's Bowl Championship Series spot.
Broncos at Chargers
? ESPN 8:15 PM
Half of this game will be exciting—the half when Denver is on offense. The 11-0 Broncos boast the league's leading rusher ( Terrell Davis) and the AFC's third-leading receiver in terms of yardage ( Ed McCaffrey). Denver also has two of the league's top-six-rated quarterbacks in future Hall of Famer John Elway and U-Haul of Famer Bubby Brister. San Diego (5-6) counters with the league's top-rated defense. Should a blowout occur, there's consolation: Play-by-play man Mike Patrick and analysts Paul Maguire and Joe Theismann comprise the best NFL broadcast booth.
Tennessee at Louisiana Tech
? ESPN2 7 PM
If Pat Summitt didn't exist, there would be more space for sports literature (!) on the Barnes & Noble bookshelf, and Lady Techsters coach Leon Barmore would get more attention. In his 17th season Barmore (460-71) has the highest winning percentage in Division I—for women or men—and at week's end had No. 2 Louisiana Tech, led by top scorer and rebounder Amanda Wilson, riding a 52-game home victory streak. The last foe to win in the Lady Techsters' Thomas Assembly Center was the Lady Vols, who accomplished that feat in 1995 and who also beat Louisiana Tech in last March's NCAA tide game.
Great Eight Classic
? ESPN 7:30 PM
Lamar Odom is what's known as a Rhode scholar: marginal student, brilliant basketball player. Odom, now a 6'10" sophomore at Rhode Island, sat out last season while he shored up his academic record. Last month, in his collegiate debut, Odom had 19 points (including the game-winning bucket), 14 rebounds and nine assists in an 87-85 defeat of TCU. In tonight's opener from Chicago's United Center the Rams face Utah, last year's NCAA runner-up. Then top-ranked Duke meets Michigan State and its All-America point guard Mateen Cleaves.
Red Wings at Avalanche
? ESPN2 9 PM
Colorado began the season with a new coach, Bob Hartley, and after an 0-4-1 start, what seemed like a first line of Emily, Howard and Mr. Carlin. Goalie Patrick Roy needed either a shrink or a shrunken net. Oh, Bob. After that shaky beginning, though, the Avalanche went 8-5-1, despite being without several top defensemen because of either injury or contract holdouts. Two-time defending Stanley Cup champ Detroit is playing with new heart since the return of coach Scotty Bowman from cardiac and knee operations.
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. SOURCE: NIELSEN SPORTS MARKETING SERVICE