Sat., Nov. 11
NCAA FOOTBALL: OREGON AT USC
Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
This is Homecoming for USC. More important, the Trojans need to beat No. 25 Oregon to hold their No. 9 national ranking and stay within striking distance of Cal in the Pac-10 race. It's going to come down to a battle of the quarterbacks. Head to Memorial Coliseum (3911 S. Figueroa St.) -- a.k.a. "The Grand Old Lady" -- Sat., Nov. 11, to see USC's John David Booty face off against Oregon's Dennis Dixon.
Do: One of the nation's great film festivals -- the 20th annual AFI Fest (Web site) -- enters its final weekend. See The Last Picture Show director (and Dr. Melfi's shrink on The Sopranos) Peter Bogdanovich riff on his encounters with so-called Hollywood legends, Thu., Nov. 9, at the Linwood Dunn Theater (1313 Vine St., Hollywood). Then attend French Connection director William Friedkin's new film, Bug, Sat.-Sun., Nov. 11-12, at the ArcLight Theater (6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood). Don't miss the festival's annual 24-Hour Movie Marathon at the Mark Goodman Screening Room (2021 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles), Sat., Nov. 11, a 35-year retrospective of films as varied as The Return of the Secaucus 7 and Eraserhead.
Stay: Hotel prices in downtown Los Angeles are surprisingly reasonable. Stay at the 4-star Wilshire Grand Hotel (930 Wilshire Blvd.), where rooms start at $128, or the 4-star Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel (711 S. Hope St.), with rooms from $149.
Eat: It's quite self-evident what dish you should get at Lawry's The Prime Rib (Web site), which has been on La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills since 1938. In addition to the prime rib, the creamed corn and yorkshire pudding are recommended.
Sun., Nov. 12
NASCAR: CHECKER AUTO PARTS 500
Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.
Two races to go to settle The Chase. This week the setting is Phoenix International Raceway (125 S. Avondale Blvd.), a one-mile oval with a funky bend in the backstretch. Rusty Wallace holds the NASCAR Nextel lap record, at 26.830 seconds -- which translates to 134.178 mph. Twenty-six points separate the leader, Matt Kenseth, from Jimmie Johnson heading into the Nov. 5 race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Web site: http://www.phoenixintlraceway.com/
Do: Make this a racecar weekend. Visit the Penske Racing Museum (7125 E. Chauncey Ln., Phoenix) -- a collection of 18 racing and vintage cars, including 11 of the Penske team's 13 Indy 500 winners. You'll also find Rusty Wallace's 2002 NASCAR Ford Taurus and Roger Penske's 1963 NASCAR Pontiac Catalina.
Stay: Stay in downtown Phoenix at the 4-star Hyatt Regency Phoenix (122 N. 2nd St.), where rooms start at $210, or at the 2-star Phoenix Place Hotel & Suites (3600 N. 2nd Ave.), with rooms from $90.
Eat: Head to the Capital Grille (2502 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, in the Biltmore Fashion Park, Web site), for primo beef. Try the Kona-crusted dry-aged sirloin with caramelized shallot butter or the dry-aged steak au poivre with Courvoisier cream sauce.
Sun., Nov. 12
NFL: ST. LOUIS AT SEATTLE
Qwest Field, Seattle
The Rams are back. QB Marc Bulger is having an MVP-level year, and his star WR Torry Holt ain't looking too bad, either. Seattle hopes that last year's MVP, Shaun Alexander, will be back from injury for this pivotal NFC West duel at Qwest Field (800 Occidental Ave. S.), just south of downtown Seattle.
Web site: http://www.seahawks.com/
Do: Go whale watching. Come October, Orca whales follow their palates into Puget Sound, where tasty Pacific salmon gather. Several charter companies offer trips from Seattle into the Sound to view these beautiful behemoths. Contact Salish Sea Charters (Web site) for more information.
Stay: You'll like the prices. Book a downtown room at the 4-star Sheraton Seattle Hotel (1400 6th Ave.), where rooms start at $159. Or try the 3-star Best Western Executive Inn Seattle Downtown (200 Taylor Ave. N.), with rooms from $98.
Eat: Dine at the Metropolitan Grill (820 2nd Ave., Web site), the city's classic beef palace, within walking distance of the stadium. Order the prime New York strip loin or the prime New York peppercorn steak.
Sun., Nov. 12
SOCCER: MLS CUP
Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, Tex.
The 11th MLS Cup -- the Super Bowl of American soccer -- plays out at Pizza Hut Park (6000 Main St., Frisco), the home field of FC Dallas. The best team throughout the season has been D.C. United, which features 17-year-old phenom Freddy Adu. The league is brimming with talent. Eleven members of the 2006 U.S. World Cup team play MLS soccer.
Do: This is rodeo country. Head to the Cowtown Coliseum (121 E. Exchange Ave., Ft. Worth, Tickets), home every Friday and Saturday to Stockyards Championship Rodeo. The historic Coliseum, completed in 1908, hosted the first rodeo bull-riding competition, the first indoor rodeo and was the setting for such movies as Tough Enough and Pure Country.
Stay: Stay in downtown Dallas, 27 miles south of Frisco and 34 miles east of Ft. Worth. Bunk at the 4-star Stoneleigh Hotel (2927 Maple Ave.), where rooms start at $106, or the 4-star Belmont Hotel at Dilbeck Court (901 Ft. Worth Ave.), with rooms from $118.
Eat: Go to Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House (5251 Spring Valley Rd., Dallas, Web site), the city's finest steakhouse -- and in Dallas that's saying a lot. Order the 26-ounce Double Eagle strip steak or the 24-ounce prime porterhouse.
Various airlines are offering flight deals to Buffalo. Tickets are limited, so hurry: Orbitz Deals
Hockey heaven! Travel to Buffalo's HSBC Arena (1 Seymour H. Knox III Plaza, Tickets) Fri., Nov. 10, to see Sabres G Ryan Miller and C Chris Drury take on C Ollie Jokinen and the Florida Panthers. Then head to the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum (263 Michigan Ave., Web site), and view some of the finest automobiles ever made, by one of the premier automakers of the time. You'll see Pierce-Arrows made for U.S. presidents and the royal families of Saudi Arabia.
Various airlines are offering flight deals to Madison. Tickets are limited, so hurry: Orbitz deals
Defending NCAA hockey champion Wisconsin hosts No. 13 Denver for two games at the Kohl Center (601 W. Dayton St., Tickets) Fri.-Sat., Nov. 10-11. Badgers G Brian Elliott is one of the nation's best. Get out your own aggressions Sat.-Sun., Nov. 11-12, at Apocalypse Paintball Inc. (W9496 County Hwy. CS, Poynette, Web site), where you and friends can play paint-soldier on secluded fields.
Sat., Nov. 11
What a college football Saturday! Travel to Rutgers's Rutgers Stadium (1 Scarlet Knight Way, Piscataway, N.J.), to see QB Mike Teel, RB Ray Rice and the No. 15 Scarlet Knights host QB Brian Brohm, WR Mario Urrutia and No. 5 Louisville. Or visit Arkansas's Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (Stadium Dr., Fayetteville, Ark.), to see QB Mitch Mustain, RB Darren McFadden and the No. 12 Razorbacks face QB Erik Ainge, WR Robert Meachem and No. 8 Tennessee. Or trek to Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium (2047 Eaves Memorial Coliseum, Auburn, Ala.) to see QB Brandon Cox, RB Kenny Irons and the Tigers face QB Matthew Stafford and Georgia in what is called The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.
Sat., Nov. 11
BANG MUSIC FESTIVAL
Bicentennial Park, Miami
Duran Duran, Modest Mouse and Gnarls Barkley headline the second annual Bang Music Festival, one of the nation's most diverse music festivals, at Bicentennial Park (601 Biscayne Blvd., Tickets). The all-day affair features more than 50 bands on five stages. Rock on! Stay over through Sun., Nov. 12, to see Dwyane Wade, Shaq and the Heat take on Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets at American Airlines Arena (Tickets).
Thu.-Sun., Nov. 9-12
GOLF: HSBC CHAMPIONS
Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai, China
This tournament, which features 10 of the world's 20 top-ranked golfers, bills itself as the international championship of champions. Each player -- from Tiger Woods to Jim Furyk to Luke Donald to Colin Montgomerie -- is the defending champion of one or more tournaments representing the PGA, the European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Australian Tour. Sheshan International Golf Club (1999 Linyin Ave., Sheshan National Tourism Resort, Shanghai, Tickets) is a superior layout that winds through rolling hills, stands of pine and along canals and lakes.
Between rounds, discover Shanghai (Web site). Walk through Huangpu, the downtown district, which hugs the Huangpu River and includes People's Square, the Bund and the Shanghai Museum. Then wander south to Nanshi, known as Old Town. Here, you'll find the Old Town Bazaar -- an ancient shopping district -- Shanghai's old city wall and the Confucian temple.