AS IF IT'S not bad enough 100,000 troops are stuck out in the Saudi desert acting the part of chips in a poker game, Armed Forces radio and TV are sending them a game this weekend and instead of Notre Dame-Michigan, it's Wake Forest-N.C. State. VTC Recalls the time it was suggested that all the released Iran hostages be given lifetime passes for baseball and ESPN's Beano Cook asked, "Haven't they suffered enough already?"
* The videocassette recorder that automatically cuts out commercials, developed by the Japanese, won't be a big hit here until it cuts out certain announcers: Gary Bender, Tim Brando, Dick Stockton, Norm Hitzges, Barry Tompkins . . .
* Jim Palmer is said to be considering doing no Oriole TV at all as opposed to being a part-time analyst. As an alternative, he can probably pick up a second night doing color on ESPN.
* Incidentally, Jiminy Pancakes made a slight miscalculation the other night when he cast a dig Bob Costas' way while the NBC mainstay was visiting the Orioles' broadcasting booth. Good-naturedly, Costas listened to Palmer's work for no more than 30 seconds and ticked off about three announcing no-nos.
* People with Larry King's looks usually don't go around taking shots at other people's appearances, particularly finalists in the Miss America Pageant. But then that's King, kiss up to the big names, dump on the masses.
* Terry Bradshaw will always be a great listen as long as he says things like, "Heck, what is there to quarterbacking? If a receiver's open, throw it to him. If he's not open, throw it to him anyway. Let the guy show his athletic ability."
* Please, someone at ABC, tell Dan Dierdorf to get rid of that Howard Cosell cackle on "Monday Night Football."
* Why do baseball play-by-play guys say the count is even when it's 1-and-1 and 2-and-2? They must have skipped class the day the prof covered quantitative analysis.
* For a guy who knows his stuff and always looks so intense and prepared, Bill Robinson consistently delivers pablum on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight."
* So what if Loyola was the first Baltimore college team to hav its games broadcast on commercial radio, as ex-Loyola athletic director Tom Brennan brags on his resume? The school paid to be on.
* Unlike the networks, which will stick with a bad setup no mattewhat, TNT has moved quickly to correct its embarrassing inaugural into the pre-game show market last weekend. The "Stadium Show" will no longer come to you from a parking lot and Larry King will do his thing, whatever that is, from a studio.
* It didn't take Cris Collinsworth long to catch onto the knack of hosting a sports talk show on radio. Picking up Bob Trumpy's chore in Cincinnati, the ex-Bengals receiver noted, "All the people do is call up just to see if they can yell louder than I can."
* The Blasters, who open up training camp Sept. 25, are talking to Channels 2, 45 and 54 about doing some of their games. Otherwise, Cooper & Co. could end up on local cable channels in an interesting experiment being explored by the club.
* In order to be more meaningful, from now until the end of the season, ESPN won't be selecting its baseball games until a couple of days before the event. Then, the last weekend, four games won't be chosen until the day before. Tonight, the Dodgers-at-Cincinnati is the main game. Sunday, the Orioles get the call, trying to do a number on Toronto's attempt to overtake the Red Sox.
* As for the plans of the network carrying baseball, CBS will continue to maintain its season-long, low-key approach. Where's shillmaster Brent Musburger when you need him, right, gang?
* Turn away from the page if you don't want to read what usuallwell-connected Gary Myers said on HBO's "Inside the NFL" last night. He says Charlotte has a "clear lead" in the expansion race with Baltimore No. 3 behind St. Louis.
* By adding SportsSouth to its list of clients, Prime Network out of Dallas is taking a run at the big boys in cable sports. And as prexy Ed Frazier says, "If and when the breakup and restructuring of collegiate athletic conferences is completed, our viewers won't be left out in the cold as we carry the SEC, Pac-10 and WAC, the Big Eight and the Southwest Conference among others." Prime is looking to add HTS to its 22-million subscriber list.
* NBC is wasting two hours Saturday afternoon sending alonsomething called the "NFL Quarterback Challenge." It's a contest between current flingers plus Bert Jones and Steve Bartkowski, who finished 1-2 in competition among old-timers.
* TV can end that charade of the coach being doused witGatorade by simply refusing to show it.
* The final figure on the O's contract with Channel 2 reads $5.2 million a year for three years, or more than $100,000 per game. Meanwhile, the club hoped to have its radio contract signed by now, but all the bidders are still in intensive care after hearing the $3 million price tag.
* Parting shot: Ex-Utah coach Frank Layden, who will be doing games on the NBA radio network this season, says, "I like the way Hubie Brown does a game. But sometimes he makes an inbounds pass seem like the invasion of France."