First Down: Five new sports books for holidays

THE BEST OF THE WEEKEND IN SPORTS

Clemson at Virginia

The Tigers are clinging to the lead in the ACC Atlantic Division, while the Cavaliers want to finish respectably. Undefeated TCU, which beat Clemson earlier this year and is vying for a berth in the BCS title game, will watch this one closely.

Redskins at Cowboys

It has been a tough year for the Burgundy and Gold, but the season can’t be all bad if it includes back-to-back wins over Denver and Dallas.

Colts at Ravens

Indianapolis puts its undefeated record on the line against an inconsistent Baltimore crew looking to salvage its season.

Cal at No. 14 Stanford

Both teams are chasing Oregon in the Pac-10 but remain in the hunt for a Rose Bowl berth.

TWT FIVE NEW SPORTS BOOKS FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON

1. “The Book of Basketball” by Bill Simmons - The ESPN.com writer has earned a huge following with his humorous look at the world of sports. His first book about the NBA already has topped the New York Times’ nonfiction bestseller chart.

2. “The First Fall Classic” by Mike Vaccaro - The subtitle to this book is “The Red Sox, the Giants and the Cast of Players, Pugs, and Politicos Who Reinvented the World Series in 1912.” It’s an account of one of the most exciting series in history, won by the Red Sox in seven games.

3. “The Machine” by Joe Posnanski - One of the best sports writers in America offers a definitive account of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds. Posnanski’s conversational style brings to life a great season with Rose, Morgan, Foster and Bench.

4. “The Perfect Season” by M.G. Missanelli - In the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, Miami was supposed to win big over Penn State. But the Nittany Lions had other ideas, triumphing in a memorable clash of styles.

5. “Boxing: A Cultural History” by Kasia Boddy - The New York Times called it “a treasure trove for boxing historians and aficionados.” This 500-page book of essays might make a good gift for the fight fan.

HE SAID WHAT?

“Let me see here, Kentucky Wildcats, No. 4 in the country, I’m hearing four first-round draft choices, and you’re asking how it got away from me?”

- Miami (Ohio) basketball coach Charlie Coles, responding to a reporter’s question following the Redhawks’ 72-70 loss to Kentucky on Monday

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