ABC's main college football game Saturday is Ohio State at Penn State at 9 a.m. PDT. It is going to 83% of the country-- everywhere but the West Coast.
Since ABC is limited to two telecasts on Saturday, we get California-UCLA at 12:30 p.m. and Arizona State-Washington at 4 p.m.
Last weekend, we missed out on Florida State-Miami and Michigan State-Michigan, to name two.
Because of ABC's regionalization of college football, and because this is an off year for college football on the West Coast, we are getting the crummy games.
There is a solution to this problem, although not a cheap one. There is the ESPN Game Plan pay-per-view package. For $99 for the season, or $11.95 for one Saturday, you get up to a dozen extra games--and all the significant ones.
Another problem, besides having to shell out money, is that not all cable companies offer ESPN games. If that's the case, there's always DirecTV.
WHAT'S WILT'S NUMBER?
ESPN, as part of the "SportsCentury" series, profiled Bill Russell as the 18th-greatest North American athlete of the 20th century on Oct. 1, and last Friday Magic Johnson got his moment as athlete No. 17.
That left two basketball players on the ESPN list--Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.
Ted Williams, profiled the same night as Johnson, was athlete No. 16 and Jackie Robinson is up tonight at 7:30 as No. 15.
The Robinson show is another good one. Bob Costas sums it up at the end by noting that Robinson might not have been the best baseball player, but if he isn't the most important, then who is?
ESPN isn't saying where Chamberlain ends up, but wouldn't No. 13 be appropriate?
"He's coming up, that's all I can say," said Mark Shapiro, the "SportsCentury" coordinating producer.
The sad thing is, ESPN wasn't able to interview Chamberlain for his profile before he died.
"We really wanted him for the Russell profile too," Shapiro said, "but he kept canceling on us because of various health problems--his hip and his back.
"The last time we talked to him he had agreed to sit down with us either this week or next."
Opinions on baseball announcers vary more than in any other sport. One Times editor said that Joe Buck and Tim McCarver could be the worst duo of all time.
My feeling is that both the Fox team of Buck, McCarver and Bob Brenly and the NBC team of Costas and Joe Morgan are good ones. But I give the edge to Buck and McCarver. They seem, almost always, to be out front. McCarver knew right away Wednesday night that the Yankees' Chuck Knoblauch had muffed the ball in the top of the 10th, whereas earlier Wednesday, Costas and Morgan were lax in criticizing Met Manager Bobby Valentine for not removing pitcher Kenny Rogers sooner.
Also, there is good chemistry between Buck and McCarver, who are full-time baseball announcers and work together on Saturdays during the regular season.
By the way, it will be Costas and Morgan on the World Series, since NBC has it this year.
One more thing. In this space last week was a note on Chris Berman's use of Cookie "Days of Wine and" Rojas. That's not original. Bobby Wine and Cookie Rojas were the Philadelphia Phillies' double-play combo in the 1960s, and the good folks there said, "It's the days of Wine and Rojas."
KXTA (1150) actually did something nice this week, going out to El Sereno to broadcast its morning show on Wednesday and raising $12,000 for the family of Alex Vasquez, the 4-year-old who was a victim of a hit-and-run accident. The station has set up an Alex Vasquez Memorial Fund and is accepting donations at KXTA, 3400 Riverside Drive, Suite 800, Burbank, CA 91505. . . . KXTA also may have been the first news outlet to report Chamberlain's death on Tuesday. Its sister station in San Diego, XTRA, was cuffed because it had Jim Rome on a delay when the story broke.
Johnny Ortiz's "Ringside" segment on Peter Vent's show on KRLA (1110) Saturday night at about 9:20 will include a 1996 interview he and Joe McDonnell did with Chamberlain at KWNK. Chamberlain talks about boxing and his proposed match with Muhammad Ali in 1967. Chamberlain says he bowed out after his father convinced him he needed to spend time practicing free throws, not boxing.
Listening to Chris Roberts gush while interviewing UCLA defensive players after last Saturday's UCLA-Oregon game, you would have thought the Bruins had shut out the Ducks, not almost blown a 24-point lead.
Turner Broadcasting has hired John Thompson as an NBA analyst. . . . The "Phil Jackson Show" will be part of pregame Laker programming this season on KLAC (570).
Wrestling enthusiasts are saying play-by-play announcer Randy Rosenbloom should have picked his high school reunion or UCLA-Oregon for a radio syndicator over the awful pay-per-view "Heroes of Wrestling" show last weekend. Rosenbloom was as out of place behind the microphone as Pee-Wee Herman would have been in the ring.