And now for some good news: The ABC announcers on Saturday's USC-UCLA game will be Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson, who are excellent.
What, you were hoping for Brent Musburger?
Musburger and partner Dan Fouts are working Florida-Florida State, ABC's main regional game Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Florida-Florida State is going to 65% of the country.
USC-UCLA will be shown in only 20% of the country, with Kansas State-Missouri going to 15%.
Michigan-Ohio State at 9 a.m. is the national telecast with Keith Jackson and Bob Griese.
It's sometimes an adventure figuring out what ABC games your cable company will show on pay-per-view, if any. A call to your cable company isn't always the answer because often no one there knows.
There are always satellite dish systems, which offer every pay-per-view game and list the channels in their on-screen program guides.
If cost is a concern, consider this: According the current issue of Forbes magazine, the average DirecTV subscriber spends $540 a year, the average cable subscriber $411.
On Saturday, DirecTV, with its own production, will show the Harvard-Yale game on Channel 303 at 9:30 a.m. Dan Jiggets, a former Harvard All-American, Brian Dowling, a former Yale quarterback, and USA Today's Christine Brennan are the announcers.
HE FITS THE BILL
Bill Macdonald, who along with David Norrie will announce the USC-UCLA tape-delayed telecast that will be on Fox Sports West Sunday at 5 p.m., is somewhat of an oddity. He attended both UCLA and USC as an undergraduate.
Macdonald attended UCLA for 1 1/2 years, attended Orange Coast College for a semester, then got a degree in communications from USC.
Fox Sports West has gone through a lot of changes since it began as Prime Ticket in 1985, but Macdonald has been there from Day 1.
He was the public relations director and radio commentator for the Lazers, an indoor soccer team that played at the Forum, when he was hired to do a telecast on Prime Ticket with Joel Meyers. It was the second event ever televised by Prime Ticket. Macdonald has since done every on-air job imaginable.
On Saturday, Macdonald will rush from the Rose Bowl to the Forum to do the pregame show for the 7:30 King game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Macdonald came to Corona Del Mar from New York in 1961, when he was 3. His parents, Bob and Lillian, still live there, and Macdonald, a single father of three boys, is close by in the Newport Coast area.
Macdonald also devotes a lot of time to the Special Olympics. He became involved five years ago when he started announcing Fox Sports West's annual Special Olympics Summer Games at UCLA. "If we ever need an emcee, Bill always makes himself available," says Dick Van Kirk, the president of Southern California Special Olympics, "and he always does a fantastic job."
USC radio announcer Lee Hamilton is calling Saturday's game the "Jacor Bowl," referring to the company that owns UCLA flagship station XTRA 1150 and USC flagship XTRA 690.
"It's the battle of the broadcasts, me and Paul McDonald against Chris Roberts and Billy Ray Smith," Hamilton said.
XTRA 1150 gets the earlier start. Joe McDonnell will be at Blimpie's in Westwood today, and on Saturday Dave Smith and Ben Maller will begin broadcasting from the Rose Bowl at 7 a.m.
XTRA 690 will begin broadcasting from the Rose Bowl at 9 a.m.
Three who have played key roles in past USC-UCLA games will be elsewhere Saturday. Pat Haden wraps up his first season of announcing Notre Dame home games for NBC when the Irish play host to Louisiana State at 10:30 a.m., Terry Donahue will be in Knoxville, Tenn., working Kentucky-Tennessee for CBS and John Robinson will be announcing Stanford-California for Fox Sports Bay Area. . . . Robinson was hoping to join former USC announcers Larry Kahn and Mike Lamb on a national radio broadcast of USC-UCLA before the Fox Sports assignment came along. Robinson will join Kahn and Lamb on later broadcasts, including Arizona State-Arizona on Nov. 27 and some bowl games.
Channel 11's Rick Garcia will preview USC-UCLA with a half-hour special, "Countdown to Kickoff," tonight at 10:30. . . . Channel 2 offers a half-hour Hollywood Park special Saturday at 4:30 p.m. featuring live coverage of the Prevue Stakes. . . . XTRA 1150 introduces a new show Saturday night, "XTRA Forum Club," which will be broadcast from 9 to midnight on Saturdays when the Kings play at the Forum. Tom Nast and Tom Boman will serve as co-hosts. . . . George Bodenmeier, 46, who has been at ESPN since 1981, has been named the network's president, replacing Steve Bornstein, who was promoted to chairman. Bornstein is also the president of ABC Sports.
Talk radio usually gets knocked in this space, but XTRA 1150 actually did something nice this week, arranging for a San Clemente grandmother, Betty O'Hearn, to fly to Champlin, Minn., to see her grandson, Craig O'Hearn, 16, play in a high school football game.