Steelers at Browns
? ESPN 8:15 PM
After a three-year absence from the NFL, Cleveland can woof about its new-model (not Modell!) franchise (page 66), its new 72,500-seat Cleveland Browns Stadium and its new Brown offensive tackles, free-agent signees Lomas and Orlando. All that and nemesis John Elway retired! Browns fans are blue, however, over the career-ending neck injury sustained by middle linebacker and Buckeye guy Chris Spielman. Cleveland's heralded rookie quarterback Tim Couch ( Ohio SAT verbal question: Couch is to Browns as Bench is to____) was not expected to start tonight; journeyman Ty Detmer was. Speaking of fresh starts, Pittsburgh's mobile quarterback, Kordell Stewart (right), is ready for one after a miserable 1998.
? CBS SATURDAY II AM; SUNDAY 4 PM
No, you haven't stumbled onto a lost episode of Sex and the City. True, this New York-based program is replete with saucy female characters, such as Martina Hingis and the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. It has a lone male lead, Andre Agassi as Mr. Big. And sure, these women, like Sarah Jessica Parker, are in search of something other than love, such as 15, 30 or—Yes! Yes!—advantage. But unlike the ladies on HBO, when these women play, they always get a match. Today's women's final will be especially compelling if it features the revitalized Hingis or either (or both) of the rapidly ascending Williamses.
Georgia Tech at Florida State
?ABC 8 PM
The network that shelved Home Improvement showcases the program that has no need for it. Ten years and two days have passed since any non-Florida school (Clemson) has won at Doak Campbell Stadium. In that span the Seminoles are 54-1-1 at home (blame Miami for the loss and Florida for the tie). The Yellow Jackets shared the ACC tide with Florida State in '98 and possess a Charlie Ward clone in quarterback Joe Hamilton. But with the nation's Heisman fave ( Peter Warrick), top kicker ( Sebastian Janikowski) and nastiest defensive line, the No. 1 Seminoles belong in the AFC, not the ACC.
Dolphins at Broncos
?ABC 9 PM
Last week, two-time defending Super Bowl champion Denver surprised everyone by naming ESPN anchor Dan Patrick its opening-night quarterback. "We figured that no one is closer to John Elway than he is," said one team official. "I mean, have you seen those commercials?" Elways actual replacement is second-year man Brian Griese, who, as the son of Hall of Famer Bob Griese, knows something about following in the footsteps of greatness. Meanwhile, sideline reporter Lesley Visser is already searching for rookie Dolphins defensive end Demetrius Underwood.
SportsCenter of the Decade: The '80s
? ESPN 7:30 PM
The 1980s: Roberto Duran retired (early and often), Duran Duran perspired, and Jimmy Durante expired. The Lakers, 49ers and Carringtons were dynasties (but then everybody wants to rule the world). Tonight cohosts Linda Cohn and Karl Ravech are gonna party like it's 1988. "We've got everything you'd want," says Cohn, "from the ball going between Buckner's legs to Larry Bird's steal to myself in skyscraper-big hair singing the opening lines to Toni Basil's Mickey."
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. SOURCE: NIELSEN SPORTS MARKETING SERVICE.