THE SKIPJACKS, who entertain Hershey tonight at the Arena, have played only eight games (five wins) but already it's clear this is a faster, more skilled team than the veteran group the Jacks had a year ago. Two new players whose talents stand out are Reggie Savage, who was the No. 1 draft pick of the Washington Capitals two years ago, and center Victor Gervais. The Jacks also will be at home Sunday evening at 7 to face Binghamton.
* The fall lacrosse tournament scheduled for tomorrow at Washington College has been canceled because of the serious illness of coach Terry Corcoran's 9-year-old daughter, who is receiving a pacemaker at Christiana Hospital in Delaware. Maryland, Duke, Georgetown, Loyola and Delaware were to have played in the tournament.
* No. 3-ranked Notre Dame should have no trouble winning at Pitt tomorrow night, but the Irish may have a hard time covering the 12 1/2 -point spread. "We never seem to play well at Pitt," said coach Lou Holtz. "They drilled us there in '87 and in '88 and we were lucky to get out with our lives. They can make their season by beating us." True. Just ask Stanford.
Notre Dame can go all out in this one. Next week the Irish play struggling Navy at the Meadowlands. Navy hasn't beaten ND since 1963, Roger Staubach's time. Staubach will be in Annapolis tomorrow for the homecoming game with James Madison. Says realistic Navy coach George Chaump: "We have to beat James Madison. If we don't do that, it would be ridiculous to talk about beating Notre Dame."
An indication of how far Navy has to go is Akron's 59-0 loss last week to Florida. In its most recent game, Navy had all it could do to beat Akron, 17-13.
* If you like 150-pound college football, put this one on your calendar for next week: Army vs. Navy at Annapolis, Friday at 4 p.m. on the AstroTurf field. There'll be plenty of band music and hoopla. "They really do it up," said Jack Cloud, the Navy broadcaster who coached the 150s for years.
* Want to know why coaches say they'll win if they can eliminate turnovers? It's because they so often do. North Carolina was able to tie powerful Georgia Tech, 13-13, last week, said Maryland coach Joe Krivak, because Tech turned the ball over five times. On the same day, Krivak said, "We had no turnovers against Duke and we won, 23-20."
At Carolina tomorrow Maryland will get its first look at a running back who looks like a star of the future. He's true freshman (he played high school football last year) tailback Natrone Means, who's 5 feet 10, 231 pounds, fast and has some moves. "This kid gained 2,000 yards in high school," Krivak said. "Anybody who can do that is a big-time back."
* Loyola College played poorly in its lacrosse game last weekend at Syracuse and yet the defending NCAA champions only beat the Greyhounds by a goal in overtime. In its final fall outing, Johns Hopkins was able to beat UMBC by only a goal. On the strength of fall ball, Loyola should be No. 1 going into '91.
* Advice to those who want to improve their tennis game: Forget those $39.95 instructional videos and watch Bare Hills pros Maury Schwartzman and Denis Rende on cable channel 17. In a relaxed and easily understood way, they demonstrate strokes and strategy on Tuesday evenings at 8:30 and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. It's good stuff.