THE LIVE ALBOM:
* For all the hoopla over Sunday’s game, the fact is, if the Lions lose, everyone will say, “Never mind. The last two games are the important ones.”
* Can they beat the Niners? Sure. If this NFL season has proven anything, it’s that nobody is that good.
* By the way, I don’t know whether Barry Sanders will play again this season. But I’ll bet you this: If he doesn’t get a new contract by next week, he definitely won’t play again this season.
* Speaking of the Niners, Harris Barton is certainly a fine player. But every time he takes the field, he starts yelling “Cut me, Mick, cut me.”
* One question about the Tigers’ new logo: If they’re not going to wear it on the uniforms, who cares?
* After Duke beat Michigan last week, Steve Fisher said, “I hope we see them again this season.” I don’t know. I think we’ve seen enough of Duke for a while.
* By the way, I respect Duke as a team, but this kid, Marty Clark, he has a little of the Brigitte Nielsen thing going, doesn’t he?
* Sports Illustrated picking Don Shula as Sportsman of the Year was a surprise. I can’t believe SI passed a chance to have Michael Jordan on the cover for the 9,000th time.
* I watched Pistons practice the other day. It was depressing.
* You can’t help but remember when Vinnie Johnson, John Salley and Dennis Rodman were on the second unit, scrimmaging against the first.
* Speaking of Pistons, they’ll have to do without Dan O’Sullivan, now that he’s the starting quarterback for the Lions, under stage name Erik Kramer.
* What happened to Jeff Alm, the Houston lineman, is not only tragic, it’s another strong argument for gun control. Alm shot and killed himself moments after an auto accident, clearly distraught at seeing his friend die. Jeff’s family would have liked to comfort him. Thanks to a handy shotgun, they can’t.
* The simple fact is, if that shotgun wasn’t around, Jeff Alm might be.
* The question about Bobby Knight used to be: “Would you let your son play for him?” Now, you wouldn’t even let Knight’s son play for him.
* Only 57 shopping days to the (Bang Bang, Maxwell’s) Lillehammer Olympics.
* Speaking of Winter Games, did anyone notice Eric Heiden and actor Robby Benson disappeared about the same time? Coincidence? I think not.
Mitch Albom will sign “Fab Five” and “Live Albom III” at noon today, Waldenbooks, Renaissance Center; 5:30 p.m., B. Dalton, Summit Place Mall; and 7:30 p.m., B. Dalton, Lakeside Center. On Saturday: 1 p.m., B. Dalton, Eastland Mall, and 3:30 p.m., B. Dalton, Oakland Mall.