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Army-Navy will get to point, except on scoreboard

Things to look and listen for during ABC's coverage of the Army-Navy game tomorrow:

Brent Musburger kicking off the noon telecast with, "You are looking live at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia (blah-blah-blah). . "

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The odds are better than even that the Cadets will not only toss a few passes, which borders on sacrilege at West Point, but may even complete one or two (for no gain).

Rollout quarterbacks Jason Van Matre (Navy) and Rick Roper (Army) will have taken so many hits by halftime that it will appear as if they've been dragged through the streets of the City of Brotherly Love by runaway horses.

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The Black Knights of the Hudson will look more precise than the Midshipmen while parading onto the field in pre-game ceremonies, even though their march on is scheduled for dawn's early light (9:45 a.m.)

Analyst Dick Vermeil will say a minimum of 14 times, "This is what college football is all about."

The game will end well inside its alloted time of 3:30, because these guys play no-nonsense ball, meaning the game's the thing.

The first SEC championship game follows at 3:30 p.m. with lead announcer Keith Jackson dusting off his best rural ruminations for Alabama vs. Florida. Hee-Haw!

* Just about all the crockery except the Heisman Trophy will be dispensed Sunday when ABC tunes in on the Subway College Football Awards from the soon-to-be-defunct College Football Hall of Fame in Kings Island, Ohio (3-4 p.m.). The Maxwell, Outland, Davey O'Brien, Jim Thorpe, Doak Walker, Toyota Leadership and coach of the year baubles are up for grabs and Miami quarterback Gino Torretta should have a big day.

Asked his reaction to all the hubbub that surrounds the selections, Torretta says, "We're undefeated and our season is over, except for the bowl game, so thinking about personal awards now really doesn't get in the way."

Gino likes his chances for any award, pointing out, "I'm in a situation where I can win. I've only had one loss as a starter; I've only thrown 14 career interceptions; I've set a number of career records at Miami, and we've been undefeated the last two years."

* Considering the college basketball matchups on the television tomorrow -- Indiana vs. Kansas, 3:45 p.m., CBS; Michigan vs. Duke, 9 p.m., Chs. 13, 20 -- one wonders if March Madness is worth waiting for. These are the guys who are supposed to comprise the Final Four.

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* Collectors of the annual World Series video will be pleasantly surprised with this year's effort produced by Phoenix Communications. It's not a rerun of the staid old stuff we have come to expect from the network (CBS), but previously unseen footage, exclusive interviews and otherwise unexplored angles.

* Bob Griese has had a good season analyzing college games on ABC, but for him to describe Notre Dame's use of quarterback Rick Mirer as "a waste of talent" suggests the ex-Purdue and Miami Dolphins quarterback took a few too many blindside hits. Despite all that celebratory foolishness when an individual makes even a basic play, it's still a team game (hopefully).

* Time to start listening to TNT pro basketball studio commentator Dick Versace a little more closely after hearing one of his recent assessments: "Not having Moses Malone is a big plus for Milwaukee."

* Shawn Simpson, working Washington Capitals games on the radio with Ron Weber, is good and getting better. Recently, the colorman watched as two Washington players outmaneuvered Bob Probert of Detroit successively and offered, "That's what happens when you knock off a pack of cigarettes a day."

* It's great to have Jim Valvano back doing college hoops on ESPN, not only for obvious reasons (he's battling inoperable cancer), but because he brings so much to telecasts with his charm, knowledge and wit. Fact is, "Coach V" can run a game from the studio in Bristol, Conn., better than most coaches can sitting courtside.

* If you're into high school hoops, you couldn't do much better than checking out Gary Stein and guests every Friday night on WCBM.

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* Wall-to-wall middleweights on HBO show tomorrow (10 p.m.): James Toney vs. Doug DeWitt, Iran Barkley vs. Robert Folley and Percy Harris vs. Roy Jones are the principals who won't remind viewers of an Arthur Murray Dance Studio.

* Memories of conversations past: A couple of days before the Skins Game appeared on the tube last weekend, one of the competitors, U.S. Open champ Tom Kite, said, "Skins is fun and everyone would love to win it, but more important is not to get shut out." The final tally read Payne Stewart, $220,000; Fred Couples, $210,000; Greg Norman, $100,000; Kite, zippo.

* The figure skating show on NBC tomorrow (4 p.m.) is last year's World Pro Championships from the Capital Centre, which was arguably the best competition that event has ever produced. The live show goes Dec. 12 and there are still 1,000 tickets remaining for Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano & Co.

* That Basic/Plus rate increase United Artists Cable is laying on Baltimore City subscribers as of Jan. 1 is 7 percent and unconscionable, but what must be remembered here is, come April, long-overdue restrictions will be placed upon cable pirates.

* The next-to-last "Tuesday Night Fights" show of the year on USA Network next week has the big boys, Alex Garcia (7) taking on Jerry Jones and Michael Dokes (17) going against Tyrell Biggs. Chances are all the "action" in these swing-once-and-clinch affairs will be equaled in one round Dec. 15 when Vinny Pazienza completes his comeback from a broken neck against Luis Santana in the season finale of the series.

* ESPN has the opening singles of the Davis Cup final today (3:30-6:30 p.m.), and Switzerland could give the U.S. juggernaut a little more trouble than most people think. Remember the job Henri Leconte and Guy Forget did on our heroes in Lyon last December? Swiss stars Jakob Hlasek and Marc Rosset (Olympic gold medalist) are tough.

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* The all-sports station in Washington (WTEM) must be having trouble filling all the air time. It just signed on for a random series of 40 NBA games beginning Jan. 24 and you have to wonder if its cumulative rating of .6 is going to improve any with a Sacramento Kings vs. Seattle SuperSonics game as a draw.

* Interestingly, Washington stations provided the tightest shots possible of Georgetown's annual shelling of St. Leo during late-night newscasts the other night, precluding anyone from seeing the Capital Centre was virtually empty. Question is, why even bother providing pictures of what amounts to an insult to competition? Tomorrow on Home Team Sports (2 p.m.), the Hoyas take on mighty Southern University and wouldn't it be in the best interests of sportsmanship and fair play if these two schools got together on the football field, too?

* Don't forget the Baltimore Spirit takes on the Detroit Whatchamacallits Sunday at 6 p.m. on HTS. The gent with the British accent is Charlie Eckman.



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