Almost from the moment that the news arrived about the Ravens' new radio home with WBAL (1090 AM), the speculative fingers started pointing at Gerry Sandusky as the team's new play-by-play voice.
It may not be polite, but those fingers point at him still. Though nothing is official, word is filtering out of TV Hill that Sandusky, WBAL/Channel 11's sports anchor, will indeed get the job.
"I'm hearing that, too," Sandusky said this week, "but I don't have a contract yet."
Jeff Beauchamp, WBAL Radio's station manager and vice president, said he expects to have an announcing team named within four to five weeks.
"We've got great candidates," he said. "I've got people crawling out of the woodwork [applying for the jobs]."
Other speculation centered on Stan White - like Sandusky, already a familiar voice on WBAL Radio - as the analyst, which would keep the local sports anchor/former Baltimore Colt makeup of the WJFK/WQSR pairing of Scott Garceau and Tom Matte.
Does WBAL require that its analyst have a Baltimore pro football team on his resume?
"Our preference is to have the best we can," Beauchamp said. "We're really leaving our options open."
While the station is leaving those options open on announcers, let's hope WBAL does change the feel of Ravens broadcasts in at least one significant way: fewer commercials during the game. I'm all for free enterprise, but sometimes it seemed we couldn't get down and distance because of the sponsors who needed mentioning between snaps.
WBAL does not have a new radio deal with the Orioles. "We're waiting to hear back," Beauchamp said.
Because of uncertainty about the impact of the Washington Nationals, the Orioles and WBAL had a one-year contract in 2005.
"We've talked to the Orioles about multiyear deals," Beauchamp said. "It's important to us to get this done."
If the pattern of recent years holds, the Orioles may take another month to decide on a radio deal. ...
Speaking of the Orioles, WBAL will broadcast from FanFest tomorrow starting at noon in the person of Sun columnist Peter Schmuck, for whom the Peter Principle was not named, though it could have been.
On fourth-and-five, just before Texas' Vince Young ran for the winning touchdown with 19 seconds left in Wednesday's Rose Bowl, ABC's Keith Jackson mentioned a fellow septuagenarian, Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
"I kind of feel like Joe," Jackson said, "I'm too old for this."
Did he sound it? Though Jackson, 77, may have stumbled a bit here and there, he's still the voice of college football and still the one we wanted to hear calling the national championship.
You can call some of his descriptions out-of-date, but I'd say he has earned the right to be folksy once in a while.
On a third-and-three for Southern California: "This is the kind of down where [Trojans quarterback] Matt Leinart might go fishing."
Describing USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett after his touchdown catch: " ... 6 foot 5 and made out of old leather and hamstrings."
After Leinart ran out of bounds on a scramble: "I think he's a little skittish after that wallop he took."
In the first half, Jackson initially said Young lost the ball when he actually was pitching it - with his knee already down, as it turned out - to trailing running back Selvin Young for the Longhorns' first touchdown. Then Jackson called the extra point good as it went wide.
When ABC's cameras caught USC coach Pete Carroll talking to his backup quarterback on the bench, Jackson inexplicably said: "John David Booty may have just been told to warm up." Huh? The coach was going to yank his Heisman quarterback in the first half?
Speaking of cameras, if you had any doubt how handy the extra ones can be at a big game, think of the shot of USC's Reggie Bush whipping up the sideline, then flying just inside the pylon for a touchdown. The head-on perspective from the end zone isn't something you'll see in a normal telecast.
One final misgiving, though: Neither Jackson nor analyst Dan Fouts questioned Carroll's strategy in going for it on fourth-and-two from Texas' 45 with 2:13 left.
The Trojans had been having trouble stopping Vince Young all night, and they were risking giving up the field position that a punt could have gained them. As it turned out, USC's failure left Young and Texas 56 yards from a touchdown instead of the 80 that even a punt for a touchback would have left them. ...
The much-hyped game drew a 21.7 national rating, the biggest for a college football game since the Fiesta Bowl in 1987 (25.1). Stop me if you've heard this one: In Baltimore, we were much less interested. The Rose got a 12.5, ranking in the bottom five among the nation's 55 biggest markets.
Read Ray Frager's blog at baltimoresun.com/mediumwell
College football: Already nostalgic for this week's bowl games? ESPN Classic is running the four Bowl Championship Series games consecutively tomorrow, starting at 10 a.m. - Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Rose. Each one will take just three hours, even without the late Lindsey Nelson telling us, "Later on, after an exchange of punts ... "
High school football: NBC has the U.S. Army High School All-American Bowl, featuring 78 of the nation's top senior players, tomorrow at 1 p.m. (WBAL/Channel 11 and WRC/Channel 4). Sixteen of the players are expected to announce their college choices during the telecast.
College basketball: Perennial women's rivals Tennessee (No. 1) and Connecticut (No. 7) meet tomorrow at 2 p.m. (WJZ/Channel 13 and WUSA/Channel 9). Former UConn star Rebecca Lobo is the analyst.
[COMPILED BY RAY FRAGER]