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SPORTS WEEKEND | TV-RADIO / LARRY STEWART

Ramsey Finds End Zone in New Career

October 09, 1998|LARRY STEWART

Texas-UCLA was big enough for ABC. So was Washington State-UCLA.

So you'd think ABC would have picked up the third-ranked Bruins playing No. 10 Arizona in a heartbeat. This could be the Pacific 10 Conference game of the year.

But no, ABC went for Notre Dame-Arizona State instead. The reason? ABC figures Notre Dame's national following will draw a bigger rating. The game is going to 43% of the country.

The Channel 7 people aren't too pleased with ABC's decision, but the Fox Sports Net people sure are. And so is commentator Tom Ramsey.

Ramsey, the former UCLA quarterback, and play-by-play partner Steve Physioc draw the assignment. The 7:15 p.m. game will be shown on most Fox Sports Net affiliates, including Fox Sports West.

Physioc and Ramsey worked the Washington- Arizona State thriller earlier in the season and also worked last Saturday's Arizona-Washington game, won by the Wildcats on Ortege Jenkins' acrobatic touchdown run with four seconds left.

"I said at the time that it was one of the most incredible plays I'd ever seen," Ramsey said of Jenkins' somersault into the end zone, "and I still feel that way."

Cade McNown has broken a number of Ramsey's UCLA passing records, but one he hasn't is touchdown passes. McNown has thrown 48, Ramsey threw 50.

"It would be great if he broke it Saturday night," Ramsey said. "He's going to break it, so why not when I'm there?"

Ramsey, who broke into broadcasting with Prime Ticket in 1990, has become one of the better college football commentators in the business.

He's a Pat Haden clone. He sounds like Haden, and he's also good.

"To be mentioned with Pat Haden is quite a compliment," Ramsey said. "You know, Pat helped me a lot when I was getting started."

His ties to Bill Daniels led Ramsey into broadcasting. Daniels owned the Los Angeles Express of the old USFL when Ramsey was the quarterback. Daniels also owned Prime Ticket.

"I had never thought about broadcasting as a career," said Ramsey, whose nine-year pro career ended in 1990 when the Indianapolis Colts released him because they had drafted Jeff George.

"Bill said to go see Don Corsini [then the head of production at Prime Ticket]. I walked into Don's office and he told me I was their new UCLA commentator."

Ramsey has also worked in sales since his playing days--for Prime Ticket, Rick Kulis' Event Entertainment, XTRA and Fox Sports West.

He moved to Denver a year ago to work in corporate sales for the Broncos, joining former UCLA teammate Michael Young, the team's director of corporate relations. Ramsey has since moved on to a similar job with the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs.

Ramsey was among the UCLA Hall of Fame inductees honored at halftime of last Saturday's Washington State-UCLA game at the Rose Bowl--in absentia.

Ramsey said he wanted to be there but that his wife, Audra, is pregnant with their third child and couldn't be there. Another problem, of course, was that he would have had to miss the Arizona-Washington assignment.

The way things turned out, he was glad he was at the game in Seattle. And he's thrilled he'll be at Saturday night's game in Tucson.

"I'll be surprised if it's not a great game," he said.

SHORT WAVES

USC-California on Saturday at 3:30 will be a local telecast on Fox Sports West 2 with Tom Kelly and Craig Fertig. . . . Kickoff for the USC-Washington State at Pullman, Wash., on Oct. 17 has been set for 7:15 p.m. and the game will be televised by Fox Sports Net. . . . FX has one of the better games Saturday--No. 5 Kansas State at No. 14 Colorado. . . . Attention UCLA fans: If you haven't already, check out the "Bruin Blue and Gold Show" on XTRA 1150 Sundays, 8-9 p.m. Matt Stevens and Jan Prestella are the co-hosts. Prestella is play-by-play announcer Chris Roberts' spotter and a UCLA expert.

Thank goodness Channel 2 has decided to give us Denver-Seattle Sunday instead of another Raider game. The Raiders don't get good ratings here anymore, and they play the woeful Chargers on Sunday. . . . The "NFL Sunday Ticket" satellite dish package is reaching 770,000 subscribers, compared to 550,000 last year.

With the opening of the NHL season, Channel 9 offers a doubleheader Saturday, the Mighty Ducks at Washington at 4 p.m. and the Kings at Edmonton at 7. Channel 9 also has the Ducks at Philadelphia Sunday at 4. . . . The Ducks have a new radio station, XTRA (690), but because of USC football Saturday their season opener will be on KOGO (600).

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