James has Tennessee's number, although it's not a winning pick

Media Watch

September 18, 1998|By Milton Kent

Let's just say that Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer and CBS college football analyst Craig James won't be slamming back brews or trading Christmas cards anytime soon.

It's not like they're mortal enemies or anything. It's just that James has this nasty habit of picking whomever the Volunteers happen to be playing in big games.

"I can't help it if they don't come up big. We're going to be talking about it some more and they're going to have to hear it and listen to it. Fulmer doesn't like me anyway," James said jokingly the other day.

The dislike apparently extends through the Fulmer family. A few years ago, as James tells it, Fulmer's wife, Vicky, ran into him in the exercise room of a hotel in Birmingham, where Tennessee was preparing to play Alabama. Mrs. Fulmer told James that her husband's team would beat the Crimson Tide -- a prediction that was correct -- and then outlasted him on an exercise bike to boot.

James' stock in the Fulmer household isn't about to rise. "The Pony," as he was known in his days as a running back at Southern Methodist, is picking No. 2 Florida to beat the sixth-ranked Volunteers tomorrow night in Knoxville (Channel 13, 8 p.m.)

The reason is that new Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin, while gifted, isn't Peyton Manning, the Volunteers star who went first in last spring's NFL draft.

The Volunteers couldn't beat Florida with Manning, and James said he doesn't think they can do it without him, unless running back Jamal Lewis gets at least 20 carries to slow the tempo and challenge the Gators' defense.

"I just don't think Tee Martin can master that Florida defense. That spells trouble to me. I think Florida is going to pound Tennessee," James said.

If James is wrong, Vicky Fulmer is sure to find his phone number and remind him.

The changing times

Tomorrow's Orioles-Yankees game will air at 1 p.m. on Channel 45, as it has been selected as a Fox Game of the Week, with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on the call. Sunday's game will stay in the 8 p.m. time slot that it was always scheduled for when it was slated for ESPN's Sunday night schedule, but will air on Home Team Sports instead.

ESPN, meanwhile, has picked up a telecast of Sunday's Chicago Cubs-Cincinnati Reds game at 2 p.m., with updates from Milwaukee, where the Brewers will play host to the St. Louis Cardinals. You can figure out why.

ESPN also has announced that it will carry Cubs and Cardinals games next Tuesday and Friday, and possibly either or both teams' regular-season finale one week from Sunday, again for reasons that ought to be pretty self-explanatory.

Glory days

The Maryland football program has certainly fallen on hard times and tomorrow's meeting with No. 20 West Virginia (ESPN2, 6 p.m.) may only serve to emphasize that point.

But ESPN Classic will mark one of the high-water marks in Terps football history tonight at 7, when it re-airs Maryland's 1984 meeting with Miami, with a repeat at midnight.

In case you've forgotten the events of Nov. 10, 1984, the Terps spotted the defending national champion Hurricanes a 31-point halftime lead in the Orange Bowl, then staged the greatest comeback in major college football history, beating Miami, 42-40.

"We've gotten so many calls requesting the [Maryland-Miami] game and it's strange because it wasn't on national television," said Rich Kopilnick, ESPN Classic's director of programming and a 1982 McDonogh graduate.

Detroit quarterback Frank Reich, who came off the Maryland bench to engineer the second-half comeback, will be the host of tonight's telecast.

Wake the kids, phone the neighbors and fire up the VCR, folks. This one's a keeper.

Icy deal

ABC and the International Skating Union yesterday announced a five-year contract for the broadcast network, as well as its cable components, ESPN, ESPN2 and Lifetime, to carry a variety of figure skating, speedskating and short-track skating events.

The deal will cover some 60 hours of telecasts over the four entities this year, and includes world championships in each of the formats.

Around the dial

Besides the Maryland-Miami rebroadcast, ESPN Classic will also show the famous Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match on its 25th anniversary Sunday at 9 p.m., with King dropping in as host. The contest, won by King in straight sets, was seen by 37 million people, which remains the largest audience ever for a tennis telecast.

NBC (Channel 11) will carry six hours of coverage from the Solheim Cup, the women's equivalent of the Ryder Cup, this weekend, with teams of American players facing off against Europeans from Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. The telecasts air at 3 p.m. both tomorrow and Sunday.

Be sure to stay up for TBS' coverage of the World Cup of Track and Field from Johannesburg, South Africa, tomorrow night at 1 a.m., as Marion Jones tries to extend her dominance of the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the long jump.

Speaking of speed, the NASCAR set convenes in Dover, Del., tomorrow at 1 p.m. for a 200-mile Grand National race, then reconvenes Sunday at 11: 30 a.m. for a 400-mile Winston Cup contest, all on TNN. And on Monday, Jeff Gordon will help explain the effects of friction on race cars during a segment of the new season of "SportsFigures" (ESPN2, 5: 30 a.m.)

On the Sunday NFL pre-game shows, Armen Keteyian will chat with Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis on CBS' "The NFL Today" (Channel 13, noon), and Pam Oliver speaks with Seattle quarterback Warren Moon and his youthful Seahawks teammates during "Fox NFL Sunday" (Channel 45, noon).

Earlier, CNN's Jim Huber takes a look at the relationship between Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware and Arizona rookie Andre Wadsworth -- both former Florida State Seminoles -- Sunday at 10 a.m. Jacksonville running back James Stewart gets the third degree from ESPN's Chris Mortensen during "Sunday NFL Countdown" at 11 a.m.

Pub Date: 9/18/98

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