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SPORTS WEEKEND | TV-RADIO

Good Calls Enhance USC-UCLA Game

November 17, 2000|LARRY STEWART

Fox Sports Net did two good things this week. First, it found a hole on Fox Sports Net 2 so that Saturday's USC-UCLA game at the Rose Bowl could be televised live at 3:30 p.m., meaning Channel 7 wouldn't have to preempt the 12:30 Oregon-Oregon State game.

And then instead of simply assigning its UCLA announcing team of Bill Macdonald, Mike Sherrard and sideline reporter Suzy Shuster to work the telecast, Fox Sports Net vice president of production Gary Garcia decided to use USC commentator Craig Fertig in the booth as well.

"I was thrilled when Gary called," Fertig said. "The only thing is, it's going to be a little strange working alongside Bill and Mike instead of Tom."

Fertig and Tom Kelly have been doing USC telecasts for nine seasons.

Before Fertig got Saturday's assignment, he was planning to go to Corvallis, Ore., for the big game there. Fertig, after a stint as an assistant at USC, coached the Beavers from 1976-79.

"I think I could have gotten a pass," he said. "They don't have any buildings named after me, but there may be a locker somewhere with my name on it."

That's Fertig. Always quick with the quip. That's one reason he may make more Trojan Club speaking engagements than anyone else.

Another is that he was involved in one of the biggest plays in USC history. His pass to Rod Sherman in 1964 beat Notre Dame, which featured Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte.

One other thing: Fertig may be the most popular Trojan of them all. The turnout at a Fertig roast in August was proof of that.

The Trojan band was there. So was Traveler, and about 600 Trojans, plus one Bruin--Terry Donahue--and Huarte.

Fertig and Donahue have had a kinship since both went after the Oregon State coaching job. It was Donahue's good fortune he didn't get it. He became UCLA's coach the next season.

"This is certainly an out-of-body experience," Donahue told the gathering at the Fertig roast. Others on the dais were John and J.K. McKay, Sherman, Huarte, Mike Garrett, and former assistant coaches Wayne Fontes, Dave Levy and Marv Goux.

"I'll tell you what," Donahue said this week, "everyone there couldn't have been more gracious."

There were lots of laughs that night.

From John McKay: "We never timed Craig in the 40. We started one time. It was on a Tuesday. The results weren't in by Friday."

From Sherman: "Everyone who ever played with Craig, or was associated with him in any capacity, please stand up. Now anyone who ever saw him throw a tight spiral on time and on target remain standing." Most in the crowd sat down.

There were so many laughs that former USC sports information director Don Andersen is marketing a 90-minute video of the evening, with proceeds to go to charity. One warning: The video is uncensored. Details: (714) 838-1053.

PAYBACK FOR DUCKS

Viewers probably will miss a pretty good chunk of the start of the USC-UCLA telecast because of a King game on Fox Sports Net 2 that starts at 1 p.m. Hockey fans will miss an even bigger chunk of the start of a Mighty Duck game that starts at 6 p.m. To compensate the Ducks, an extra game--one at St. Louis on Dec. 5--has been added to the Fox Sports Net 2 schedule.

THE GOVERNOR IS ON BOARD

NBC, seeking to steal some thunder from college football's rivalry weekend, picked Thursday to announce that Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura would be the network's XFL commentator. The league begins play Feb. 3, and NBC will carry Saturday games at

5 p.m., concluding with the XFL championship game April 21.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said the decision to go with Ventura was made several weeks ago and that the announcement was held for the most opportune time. He said the play-by-play man will be announced later.

Fred Roggin and Mike Adamle will serve as NBC's sideline reporters. Wonder which one gets to interview the cheerleaders?

TURKEY AND GOLF

Making plans for Thanksgiving? There are two NFL games and one college game on television Thursday, plus a made-for-TV golf event.

On Fox at about 4 p.m., after a game between the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys, will be the third Sun Microsystems Par 3 Challenge, taped Nov. 7 at the Four Seasons Aviara in Carlsbad. Last year, this tournament ranked second behind the Skins Game among made-for-TV golf attractions.

The field consists of PGA players, Senior PGA players, LPGA players and three celebrities. Only the celebrities play with handicaps. Jack Nicklaus was to play until he suffered a back injury and pulled out two days before the taping. The field includes Lee Trevino, Gary McCord, Ben Crenshaw, Craig Stadler, Dottie Pepper, Nancy Lopez and Grace Park.

SHORT WAVES

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