Note to Maryland's athletic director Andy Geiger: At least Baltimore (FOX 45) didn't abandon your sinking ship (Maryland vs. Clemson, noon) for tomorrow's Miami-Florida State showdown on ABC as Washington's Channel 7 (ABC affiliate) did.
* After the 'Canes and Seminoles get done deciding No. 1, ABC goes to the Notre Dame-Penn State game (3:30 p.m.) and when's the last time there was a better twin bill? Later (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.), Brigham Young and San Diego State collide to see which will be the host team in the Thrifty Rental Car Holiday Bowl (vs. Big Ten also-ran).
* There already have been more than 3,000 telephone orders for the Orioles' "Final Weekend" videotape and the product itself won't even be arriving at Memorial Stadium until next Tuesday. You will be able to pick one up at Greetings & Readings or For The Birds.
* Because he got a chance to fight for only three minutes (in the ring) last time out, unbeaten heavyweight Riddick Bowe joins the TVKO card Dec. 13. He'll go against Mike Evans, whose claim to fame is he's a "seasoned veteran," which means tomato can in boxing language. Mike McCallum and James Toney top the show.
* ESPN has the final race of the NASCAR season Sunday and Benny Parsons says, "The highlight of the year was 51-year-old Harry Gant winning four races in a row."
* Instant replay is doing land-office business in the NHL (30 reviews already) and, as opposed to the abomination practiced by the NFL, the league is happy with the results to date.
* Give ex-Skipjacks goalie Shawn Simpson a listen as an analyst on Washington Capitals home games. He's outstanding for a relative beginner. Meanwhile, the expert on WDCA-TV (Independent) and HTS (Cable) telecasts, Craig Laughlin, is still, uh, Craig Laughlin.
* ABC has the ATP Championship final from Germany Sunday (3 p.m.), then next week picks up the Virginia Slims Championship in New York with Pam Shriver as one of the commentators, when she's not playing doubles with old pal Martina Navratilova.
* The American Sportscaster Association, which on Dec. 5 is honoring Larry King as a 'caster making it big in another field, has a Hall of Fame. Astonishingly, Vin Scully is not in it while Jack Buck is.
* Conversation during a recent bout on USA Network: Announcer Al Albert says, "Mickey Ward has a tendency to go into lapses during fights." Analyst Sean O'Grady replies, "Well, if Mickey doesn't watch out he's going to go in the laps of the people in the first row."
* While it's true Scully, Gary McCord and Bobby Clampett did a nice job covering the PGA Grand Slam event in Hawaii on TBS, the 36-hole prime-time showdown just sort of laid there like a half-eaten sandwich.
* Pro hoop fanatics, take heart: Just 40 days until there's an NBA game on NBC.
* Despite a dramatic and exciting World Series that recouped millions for CBS, the net still lost a ton of dough on baseball this season. Suggestion: Run ads during infield popups next year.
* During Frontline's rehash of the life and times of fight promoter Don King last week, Seth Abraham of HBO said, "Don works very well within the disorganization of boxing."
* We sort of like what ex-Utah Jazz coach Frank Layden said concerning Isiah Thomas and the Olympic team flap: "What I would have told him to his face is, 'Because of your actions, nobody likes you. We see through the smiles. We see through all the baloney. We don't want you on our team.' The selection committee was looking for someone to deliver [pass] the ball. I'm not sure it knew Isiah would do that."
* Oh boy, "Punt, Pass and Kick" competitions at halftime of NFL games are back. And you thought you had survived those perfectly awful intrusions, right?
* The J. Walter Thompson ad agency took a survey and found out women watch 32 hours of TV a week, men 28, teens 23 and little kids 24 hours. That cinches it: Women should be in charge of the channel-switcher.
* Home Team Sports has a dynamite college hoops package ready to go with 94 live games out of the best conferences (ACC, Big 8, Metro, Pac-10, etc.). At the same time, it insists on punishing subscribers with that annual early season tiptoe through the tulips by Georgetown: St. Leo, UDC, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Delaware State, all aboard!
* ESPN has the Tipoff Classic tonight (8), UCLA taking on the chair-thrower's cast of Indiana automatons.