?National Finals Rodeo
ESPN2 MIDNIGHT (TAPE DELAY)
In what this magazine (Aug. 27) dubbed the most underrated sporting event, the top 15 competitors in each of professional rodeo's seven categories head to the land of Siegfried and Roy for the cowboy Super Bowl. The telecasts continue nightly on ESPN2 and ESPN, which will show the finals on Dec. 16 (4 p.m.). Still, no matter how amazing the feats performed during the 10-day competition, the most impressive job of roping this year has to be pop star Jewel's lassoing of bullriding legend Ty Murray.
HBO 10 PM
The way Charles Barkley (down 48 pounds, to 290, and dropping) sees it, if the Round Mound of Rebound can somehow become a little less rotund, he could soon join fellow Dream Teamers Michael Jordan and Christian Laettner on the Wizards. "I don't know if I could ride to the rescue," Barkley, who retired two seasons ago, tells correspondent Armen Keteyian about a possible NBA comeback, "but I don't want to leave [ Jordan] out there by himself." Among tonight's other weighty topics is Mary Carillo's report on college athletes who become pregnant.
? 76ers at Hawks
TBS 8 PM
Turns out Harry Potter doesn't live at Hogwarts after all. He's actually a Wizard in Washington and wears number 23. How else to explain the Sixers (8-3 through Sunday since guard Allen Iverson returned from the injured list) looking like Muggles against Michael Jordan during their 94-87 loss last week? Tonight Philadelphia is up against another scoring machine in Atlanta forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who put up 50 points against the Pistons on Nov 23.
? Bears at Packers; 49ers at Rams
FOX 1 PM
Whether it's Bart Simpson versus Principal Skinner, Ally McBeal jousting with Ling Woo or Terry Bradshaw taking on Jimmy Kimmel, you can count on Fox to produce the most entertaining rivalries on TV. These games are no exceptions. Surprising Chicago travels to Lambeau Field for the 163rd meeting in the NFL's most-played series, which it leads 84-72-6. Beware, Bears: Packers quarterback Brett Favre is 15-4 against you, including a 20-12 victory at Soldier Field on Nov. II, in which Green Bay fullback William Henderson (33) caught three Favre passes for 41 yards. In almost certainly more comfortable conditions at the Dome at America Center, NFC West powers St. Louis and San Francisco continue their jousting, which began when the Rams were based in L.A. and which they lead 53-49-2.
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.