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SPORTS WEEKEND | TV-RADIO

Channel 2 Runs Reverse on Notre Dame

November 13, 1998|LARRY STEWART

Thank goodness Channel 2 management came to its senses.

Until late Thursday, the station was planning to show Notre Dame-Navy on Saturday instead of Arkansas-Tennessee.

The Times called the station on Wednesday to state the case for showing No. 1 Tennessee and No. 10 Arkansas, two unbeaten teams, over the Notre Dame-Navy game. The Times got nowhere, and a station spokeswoman simply read a statement regarding Notre Dame's tradition.

Channel 2 had been swayed by the fact that Notre Dame-Boston College got a 4.2 rating in Los Angeles last Saturday, which equaled the rating for USC-Washington on Channel 9 and wasn't far behind the 4.5 for UCLA-Oregon State on Fox Sports West, an L.A. cable record for college football.

But showing Notre Dame-Navy instead of Arkansas-Tennessee would have been idiotic, and credit the management at Channel 2 for finally realizing that.

ESPN delivers Wisconsin-Michigan at 9 a.m., but it's not all good news for college football fans. Because UCLA-Washington and Nebraska-Kansas State are both 12:30 regional telecasts on ABC, No. 2 Kansas State's first real test will not be shown here.

But at least it is on pay per view where available, and KIEV and XTRA 690 will offer live radio broadcasts. KIEV has its usual Nebraska broadcast and XTRA has picked up a syndicated broadcast with Randy Rosenbloom and Warren Williamson announcing.

NOW WHAT ABOUT GOLF?

The viewing situation for golf fans this weekend is much worse.

You can watch the first round of the Franklin Templeton Shark Shootout at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks live on ESPN today at 11:30 a.m.

You can watch the second round live on CBS Saturday at 10 a.m.

That should get you all fired up for the final round on Sunday, which will also be carried by CBS.

But get this: Channel 2 will show the final round at 11:45 p.m., a time more suitable for an infomercial than a golf tournament.

Because the Shark Shootout has 12 two-man teams this year instead of 10, each round is expected to take more than three hours. So showing it live at 10 a.m. on Sunday would mean the coverage would probably cut into afternoon football.

Showing the golf after football would mean preempting "Sports Central," a ratings winner and moneymaker for Channel 2. The station of course can't preempt its local news, "60 Minutes" or prime-time programming either.

The answer to this problem, it seems, would have been to farm out the final round of the Shark Shootout. A station like Channel 9 would have loved to have it.

"Sure, we could have cleared time for it," said Pat McClenahan, head for sports for Channel 9.

A DEFINING MOMENT

Bill Macatee, the versatile sportscaster who works for CBS and the USA network, will have a relatively sedate weekend. He will drive the 15 or 20 minutes from his home in Calabasas to Sherwood to serve as host of the CBS portion of the Shark Shootout this weekend.

Last weekend, he was busy making television history.

Macatee was the play-by-play announcer on the first high-definition pro football telecast. CBS, separate from its regular telecast, showed the Buffalo-New York Jet game in high definition in some areas of New York.

There was also a rehearsal telecast using players from Kean University in Union, N.J.

High definition television is considered the most revolutionary thing to happen to the industry since the invention of color television.

"I'll say what I said on the air, and that is you get a wider range, a rectangular picture rather than a square one," Macatee said. "You get four times the resolution and four times the details.

"You don't just see a hold, you see the hand. I'll tell you, when high definition comes to the forefront, they should bring back instant replay to help the officials make calls. They'll be able to see everything."

CBS on Thanksgiving Day unveils an innovation we all can see when its uses a yellow marker similar to the one used by ESPN to show the location of a first down. It will be used on two other regular-season games and four playoff games.

Come on, ABC and Fox, get with the program. It's a good thing.

FOX VS. ESPN UPDATE

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