College GameDay (Saturday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN)
SportsCenter (Sunday, 11 p.m., ESPN)
Alabama’s starting kicker Adam Griffith is no stranger to adversity. At the 2013 Iron Bowl, with one second left in a tied game, Griffith’s 57-yard field goal attempt against rival Auburn was short and returned for a touchdown – an improbable, history-making play. Just as unlikely is Griffith’s road to Alabama – born in Poland to unfit parents and shuffling through orphanages, with little hope for a bright future. That changed in 2006, when a then 13-year-old Griffith was adopted by a couple in Georgia, where he found a successful high school football career that led to a scholarship at Alabama. Earlier this year, ESPN accompanied the Griffith family as they returned to Poland for the first time since the adoption. Gene Wojciechowski reports as Griffith retraces his roots, discovering a new relationship with those of his distant past along the way.
“In Poland, growing up in the orphanage, there was no dreams. Sometimes you go to bed hungry. You don’t have anything… I was never looking forward to having family, you know? I just wanted to be on my own… and do my own thing. I guess that was my dream.” – Adam Griffith
“I think we’ve gained as much from him as I hope he’s gained from us. When I sit back and I think he’s the kicker at University of Alabama I’m always amazed.” – Michelle Griffith, Adam’s adoptive mother
Pressure’s on Serena Williams, as Steffi Graf Knows All Too Well
If anyone can understand the kind of pressure Serena Williams is facing in this year’s US Open, it’s Steffi Graf, who is the last woman to have completed a calendar-year Grand Slam when she achieved the feat in 1988. Nearly 30 years later, Melissa Isaacson interviewed Graf and others on the challenges Williams will face.
Turning the Tide
Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m., ESPN)
As he enters his ninth season with Alabama, Nick Saban is still widely considered to be one of the most powerful coaches in college football. He has led the Crimson Tide to four division titles and three national championships. But then there was last year’s crushing loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, an off-season that saw three Alabama players get arrested in four days and a pre-season ranking that is the team’s lowest since 2009. But as Paul Finebaum discovered in a series of all-access interviews, Saban is focused on the season ahead and unapologetic — at times defiant — about decisions he has made in the past.
Inside Bart Starr’s drive to honor fellow Packer Brett Favre
ESPN the Magazine
Ian O’Connor takes readers inside the Birmingham, Ala., home of Bart and Cherry Starr. Starr, now 81, is desperately trying to work himself up into shape to be able to walk onto Lambeau Field when Brett Favre’s jersey is retired on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a rough go for a man who can no longer remember who Vince Lombardi was. “I really think we’re going to make it,” Cherry says. “I really do.” She admits she’s a little nervous, but then again, she’s also nervous when she watches Ice Bowl reruns. “I’m still not sure Bart’s going to make it in,” Cherry says.
The Sports Reporters
Sunday, 9 a.m., ESPN; 10 a.m., ESPN2
This week’s Panel*
John Saunders (host)
(subject to change)
Outside the Lines Receives Award
ESPN’s Outside the Lines has added another award to its long list of accomplishments: the program, celebrating its 25th anniversary, has been named recipient of the Military Reporters and Editors domestic large broadcast category award for the “Friend Who Fired” story. The segment told the story of the Army Rangers involved in the fatal accident that killed Ranger and professional football player Pat Tillman. None of the Army Rangers who fired upon him spoke publicly about the episode until ESPN found Steven Elliott, who agreed to break the silence. Nicole Noren was the producer of the segment. The award will be presented Oct. 9 in Washington, D.C.
As Seen on ESPN Front Row:
Behind the Glasses: Scott Van Pelt Discusses New Midnight SportsCenter: