I don't understand your question. Your post was titled:
Suggestions for Direct TV w/ hard drive
What hard drive? You are asking for a lot of recommendations with supporting points, which is like an essay. Football and basketball are coming, sure, but not much in High Def, which I assume is the HD to which you refer. High Def won't be the deFacto standard for many more years. As it won't happen for several years and you are waiting until then, why go and get suggestions? All the hardware will change by then.
For sports, get DirecTV with TIVO. There is no substitute, as Dish doesn't have the sports packages and the TIVO integrated receivers are flat out bitchin' with the ability to record one channel and watch another or record 2 channels at once while watching something previously recorded on the hard drive.
If you want High Def as well, you are screwed in a PVR right now. Dish has one coming out this fall, but it might not be shipping until December. But with Dish, you don't get the sports packages that DirecTV has.
There is no absolute winner on HD yet. Get DirecTV w/Tivo and when the time comes, address the HDTV issue.