Miami backers have team and will travel

October 14, 1994|By PHIL JACKMAN

TV Repairman:

One of the most illogical reasons given by the Orange Bowl Committee for switching its New Year's Night extravaganza from the revered old joint on the outskirts of Miami's downtown to Joe Robbie Stadium out in the boonies is that the University of Miami has too much of a home field advantage on 15th Avenue. Come on. These same Hurricane fans aren't going to troop out to Dade County, 20 minutes away, to cheer their guys?

* The fight on CBS tomorrow (4:30 p.m., Eye on Sports) has Orlando Canizales (37-1), a belter, taking on Sergio Reyes (10-0), ex-Olympian and a light hitter. Would be a good fight in a couple of years. Channel 9 will have it but your friend and mine, Channel 11, will be deeply engrossed in a National Geographic offering.

* Hey, it's not the baseball playoffs, but tomorrow offers a pretty good day of rah-rah college ball watching: Noon, Auburn-Florida (Ch. 13); 1:30, Brigham Young-Notre Dame (Ch. 2); 3:30, Penn State-Michigan (Ch.13); 6:30, Alabama-Tennessee (ESPN); 9:30, Colorado-Oklahoma (ESPN). No wonder fans are watched out and the Sunday afternoon ratings for NFL games aren't strong.

For some reason, Florida is a 15 1/2 -point favorite over Auburn, which has won 17 in a row, to which ESPN expert Lee Corso says, "It'll be closer than expected." Tigers win, go undefeated again and coaches spend the off-season explaining why Auburn doesn't appear on their weekly poll.

* Best line spouted by a football commentator, pro and college division, last week was Pat Haden of TNT referring to a Washington Redskins' rushing play as "their 'Run to Darkness' play." If Vince Lombardi, the Pack, Robert Riger and "Run to Daylight" mean nothing to you, carry on.

* Muggsy Bogues grabs one of the spotlights on the "NBA Inside Stuff" show on Channel 2 tomorrow at noon. . . . A 6-foot, 330-pound ex-Toughman competition participant by the name of Eric "Butterbean" Esch makes his boxing debut in Birmingham, Ala., tomorrow. He's taking on a pro who's 12-1, so he figures to get whomped. Rest assured it will show up on some highlight tape.

* A statute of limitations should be set on commercials, very definitely. That one wherein Bubba Smith wanders around Memorial Stadium touting a Baltimore law firm almost dates back to his Michigan State days.

* NHL games on ESPN averaged 340,000 households last year, same as its substitute programming for games lost this season due to the lockout is doing. The game just doesn't come across on the tube, but then baseball doesn't either.

Incidentally, the World Series wasn't due to start until Sunday night, so maybe there's still hope.

* There's a little bit too much of the "Beavis" style of saying something followed by a nervous laugh/grunt creeping into Channel 2's Keith Mills' manner doing his weekend sports number. . . . Yes, Channel 13, your ad informing folks "There's only one John Buren" is right on the mark. One more and we'd be New York.

* Roberto Duran returns to "Tuesday Night Fights" on USA next week, hauling his 93-10 record into the ring against Heath Todd (25-4). Duran's been off since he lost a close decision to Vinny Pazienza in June. . . . It would be OK with me if they showed the Alexis Arguello-Aaron Pryor fight every week on the ESPN show "Superbouts."

* Wait a minute, the nationally syndicated Pete Rose sports talk show isn't on the radio in Cincinnati?

* A gent on the shopping channel QVC, pushing sports stuff, referred to Olympic speed skater Dan Jansen as "Jernigan" and 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Team USA captain Mike Eruzione as "Aristide" or something. It's not as though these guys are hermits up in the Northwest Territory, both picking up lots on work on national TV.

* Spokesman Rick Gentile may be stretching it a bit by saying Quinn Buckner, who returns to CBS as a college hoops analyst, "has reached the highest levels of the game as a college player, pro player and coach." Vote yes for the first two, but coaching the Dallas Mavericks last season is a definite minus, not a plus.

* CNN Presents ran a special the other night entitled "Field of Screams," dealing with the violence and runaway emotions invading sports. It lost its chance to be good, however, with an extremely long segment on the nerve-racking shenanigans of magpie Robin Ficker at Washington Bullets games -- "I'm the sixth man, the homecourt advantage," he says -- and going over well-documented cases of athletes being threatened and stalked, etc.

There were sociologists and psychologists on hand dying to make suggestions about what could be done about the problems, but the production decided to stick with the old "wringing the hands" lament.

Maybe some mention of Kentucky football coach Bill Curry's wife receiving a death threat, which is current, could have been worked in somewhere.

* How totally out of whack is the advertising business? The man running the marketing campaign to sell more than 24 million tapes of the movie "Jurassic Park" is spending $35 million to accomplish it and plans on every viewer being hit at least 25 times with ads. Any wonder how 30 seconds on the Super Bowl telecast goes for a mill?

* Three cheers for Channel 2 picking the Raiders-Dolphins game Sunday at 1 p.m. over the 4 o'clock offering, Chargers at Saints. Somebody must be paying attention over there.

* Home Team Sports will set up cameras in Cole Field House tonight (11:30 p.m.), doing live coverage of the massively overhyped beginning of college basketball practice known as "Midnight Madness." Scenes from North Carolina's start and talks with the women's coaches at both schools will be included.

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