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The Inside Track | Mike Penner SOUND AND VISION

They'll Probably Have Some Scores to Settle

October 11, 2003|Mike Penner

It's time to talk overtime.

Pete Carroll and Jon Gruden no doubt would prefer to pass on the subject, but this weekend there's probably no avoiding it.

The Cubs and the Marlins have two playoff games in Florida this weekend.

The Red Sox and the Yankees will tangle twice at Fenway Park in their latest quest for the American League pennant. Extra innings, anyone?

Today's college football schedule features No. 2 Miami at No. 5 Florida State, No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 11 Texas, No. 8 Georgia at No. 13 Tennessee, No. 3 Ohio State at No. 23 Wisconsin and No. 10 Nebraska at Missouri. So many important games -- and not one of them can end in a tie.

Sunday in the NFL, it's Philadelphia at Dallas, Kansas City at Green Bay, Carolina at Indianapolis, Pittsburgh at Denver and San Francisco at Seattle.

Sudden death already rears its gnarly head.

Also Sunday, Germany and Sweden will meet in the Women's World Cup final.

The previous Women's World Cup final, in 1999, went to penalty kicks. European rivals with tight defenses and tightly wound players could be headed for the same destination.

Three sports, four different tiebreaking procedures. Some have it better than others. None has the perfect system.

A consumer guide:

EXTRA INNINGS

Advantages: Tends to make players and managers pick up the pace a bit.... Not so many camera shots of bored celebrities slumming in the stands.... More camera shots of little-used bench players looking very nervous.... There's always the threat of a walk-off home run, a walk-off bunt or a walk-off brain cramp.... Announcers permitted to talk more about strategy and less about Fox's new fall television lineup.

Disadvantages: Really, the thing could go on forever -- unless both teams run out of pitchers. Then the commissioner calls the game a tie, a nation goes berserk and the next thing you know, a Texas Ranger third baseman is deciding World Series home-field advantage by hitting a home run in the All-Star game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL OVERTIME

Advantages: Potential for lots of scoring -- and American sports fans like lots of scoring.... Every down is a cliffhanger.... Very few punts.... Arch-conservative coaches forced to see how the other half -- a.k.a. Point-Spread Nation -- lives and take a career-threatening gamble for once.

Disadvantages: Artificially inflated stat lines -- a 7-7 defensive quagmire can look like a 42-41 free-for-all in the Sunday morning papers.... Sideline sedation of your twitching 19-year-old field-goal kicker is generally frowned upon.... You think you've won the national championship and then, with your exhausted players rolling giddily over one another at midfield, some referee drops a flag in the end zone.

PRO FOOTBALL OVERTIME

Advantages: Edge-of-your-seat coin tosses.

Disadvantages: You lose the toss, you're up against the wall -- unless the opposing team is coached by Marty Mornhinweg.... Marty Mornhinweg is no longer a head coach in the NFL.... Your team can lose without ever touching the ball. Yes, your team can briefly morph into the Cincinnati Bengals.... If the other team is lining up a field goal, it is vitally important for your players to leap and try to block the kick. Or then again, maybe not.

PENALTY KICKS

Advantages: A lot of people seemed to enjoy Brandi Chastain pulling off her top after her decisive kick in 1999.

Disadvantages: You can have the most talent, work the hardest, be the most creative and, in the end, still lose on a fluke -- just like real life. And who needs that when all you're looking for is a two-hour break from real life?

Tiebreakers could be needed this weekend for the following attractions:

TODAY

* New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

(Channel 11, 1 p.m.)

October 2003: Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected governor of California, the Red Sox and the Cubs are in contention to meet in the World Series. You want the truth? Who can handle the truth?

* Chicago Cubs at Florida Marlins

(Channel 11, 5 p.m.)

Who'd have thought that when Eric Karros was named 1992 National League rookie of the year, his best chance to play in the World Series would come with the Cubs?

* Miami at Florida State

(Channel 7, 9 a.m.)

This must be a big game. Baseball is teetering on the brink of World Series apocalypse, and the Sporting News puts Florida State quarterback Chris Rix and Miami tight end Kellen Winslow on its cover. The "Baseball Bible"? The throne was abdicated long ago.

* Oklahoma at Texas

(ESPN Game Plan, 12:30 p.m.)

Big rivalry games such as this can bounce either way, but ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso wouldn't bet on it. According to the Houston Chronicle, when asked by a Norman, Okla., TV crew what Oklahoma had to do to win this game, Herbstreit replied, "Show up." In the same article, Corso says, "Oklahoma is a better team. That's it." But, you can still watch if you like.

SUNDAY

* Germany versus Sweden

(Channel 7, 10 a.m.)

Germany, huh? That's an interesting measuring stick. Last year, the United States pushed Germany to the limit in the men's World Cup quarterfinals -- outplayed the Germans really, and might have won had a penalty been given for a handball on the goal line.

Meanwhile, in the Women's World Cup, the U.S. has home-field advantage and loses to Germany, 3-0, in a semifinal. After carrying the torch for so many years, the U.S. women may have finally handed it off to the men.

* Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns

(Channel 2, 10 a.m.)

The Raiders haven't played a good game this season, haven't played a game in Los Angeles since 1994, but we're getting them on TV, again, this weekend against the 2-3 Browns. And Red Sox fans think they're cursed.

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