By Gregg Hoffmann Special to Published Nov 24, 2004 at 5:17 AM

{image1} Since this Weekend Sports Buzz appears the day before Thanksgiving, here are some people and things local sports fans can be thankful for.

1. Brett Favre -- The 35-year-old veteran quarterback is still one of the best in the NFL and has led the Packers back into the playoff picture after a miserable start.

2. Mark Attanasio -- The L.A. investor has given local baseball fans new hope with his purchase of the Brewers. If he increases the payroll, and the young minor leaguers live up to their billings, we could finally see a winner in Miller Park. Look for MLB owners' approval to come in a Dec. 6 conference call.

3. Bob Harlan -- The Packers' president has had the foresight to improve Lambeau Field and take other measures that should ensure NFL football in the smallest sports market in the country for a long, long time, if not forever.

4. Herb Kohl -- The Senator would prefer to get out of the NBA basketball business, but he also will not sell to somebody that won't assure the Bucks of staying right here.

5. Phil Wittliff -- This guy has devoted his life to the Admirals and continues as a loyal advocate for a sport and franchise that might not have a long-range future in town.

6. Barry Alvarez -- UW football has been solid for a decade or more under his leadership. Now he heads the entire athletic program in Madison. Despite losses in the final two games, the Badgers had a great season.

7. Crean, Bo and Pearl -- These three guys have taken Division I basketball to a new level in this state. The Golden Eagles, Badgers and Panthers are highly competitive every year.

8. Terry Porter -- It looks like Porter will have the Bucks competitive again in the NBA this season. Plus, in a league that seems to have been taken over by in-your-face thugs, Porter exudes class, and makes sure his team does too.

9. WIAC sports -- This is one of the finest small college conferences in the country in football, basketball and other sports. By the way, Porter played his basketball at UW-Stevens Point for former UW coach Dick Bennett.

10. Youth soccer -- It doesn't get a lot of publicity, but youth soccer thrives in Wisconsin and helps prep, college and pro soccer make it here.

Add some of the things you are thankful for in Wisconsin sports at the end of this column.

Hot Tix

The Packers go for their sixth straight win Monday night when they host the St. Louis Rams. Look for coverage in On the Pack on Tuesday.

In small college football, UW-La Crosse, a winner over St. Norbert last weekend, advances to the second round in the NCAA Division III playoffs against undefeated Linfield College in Oregon on Saturday.

The Bucks return from a western swing to host the NBA champion Pistons at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Bradley Center. The Pistons were involved in the highly-publicized brawl with the Indiana Pacers last weekend.

On Tuesday night, the Lakers make their annual trip to the BC for a 7 p.m. game. L.A. no longer has Shaq, but Kobe still brings superstar -- and somewhat infamous -- interest wherever he goes.

In college basketball, the UWM Panthers are the only men's team at home over the weekend. They host Air Force at 4 p.m. Sunday at the U.S. Cellular Arena. The Panthers set a school record in their season opener by scoring 117 points in a win over Prairie View A&M.

Marquette plays at Oakland University, which actually is in Rochester, Mich., on Saturday. Wisconsin plays at Pepperdine Saturday, but is home Tuesday night to host Maryland in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

The Admirals are in Canada for the weekend with games against Edmonton and Manitoba. The Wave plays at Chicago on Friday night.

Race fans also will be able to take in their sport this winter when the First Annual Burris National Indoor Series brings kart racing to the Wisconsin Products Pavilion near turn four at The Milwaukee Mile. Races will be held Dec. 11-12 and Jan. 1-2. The series was announced this week.

Gregg Hoffmann Special to
Gregg Hoffmann is a veteran journalist, author and publisher of Midwest Diamond Report and Old School Collectibles Web sites. Hoffmann, a retired senior lecturer in journalism at UWM, writes The State Sports Buzz and Beyond Milwaukee on a monthly basis for OMC.