Enthusiasm takes Bullets above talent


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What the Washington Bullets have proved with their winning play to date -- last night's 118-98 triumph over the Charlotte Hornets put their record at 5-4 -- is that enthusiasm and attention to assignments can overcome any deficiencies there may be in the talent department.

While Wes Unseld continues to get a pretty good line on what he can expect game to game out of his lads, the Hornets showed up obviously thinking half an effort (no defense) would carry them in this one.

* OK, culinary types, plan tomorrow's repast either during the late morning or at approximately 7 p.m. if football fanatics people your domicile. The grid menu reads Georgia vs. Georgia Tech on ABC at noon, the Bears and Lions squaring off at 12:30 on CBS, the Dolphins visiting the Cowboys at 4 on NBC, capped by Texas taking on Texas A&M; at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

Folks who can't get enough sports action can check out college hoops from the Great Alaska Shootout tourney at midnight whilst nibbling on a turkey sandwich: Wake Forest vs. host Anchorage.

* An absolute prize, not only for fight fans but folks looking for an interesting and decorative momento, is the 1994 Boxing Calendar put out by Ringside Products. In addition to terrific action shots, dates of great bouts, birthdays of fighters and biographies, ring trivia jam the pages. Call (609) 627-1356.

* Where did anyone ever get the impression that the folks conducting the Bowl Coalition Poll would ever want anything but what they've got going right now: interest in college football booming, people arguing how high a half-dozen teams should be ranked and who should play whom come New Year's Day?

* As though it's not bad enough the Japanese are buying up several of our most prestigious golf courses, including Pebble Beach, our trade rivals also own the game determining the Big Ten's representative in the Rose Bowl next week, Wisconsin vs. Michigan State.

* Even though he faltered in the final against Michael Stich at the ATP Tour Championship the other day, Pete Sampras had a Connors-McEnroe-Borg type year, winning eight tourneys, including Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and Lipton, and finishing No. 1 by a mile. It gives the United States an 11-10 edge in No. 1's since computers started spitting out the results in 1973.

* Checking out some of the scores posted by the leaders in the Associated Press Poll -- Florida State 62, N.C. State 3; Tennessee 48, Kentucky 0; Florida 52, Vanderbilt 0; Texas A&M; 59, TCU 3 -- makes you wonder if some coaches have incentive clauses in their contracts for points scored and humiliation meted out.

* Sure, Harvard-Yale may be "The Game," but last weekend, when Alabama played Auburn, nearly 50,000 people showed up at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa to watch on a closed-circuit screen measuring 20x28 feet and suspended from crane. No suicides were reported after Auburn's 22-14 triumph.

* There's a certain amount of idiocy surrounding the fact that one of the uniforms Babe Ruth wore during the 1929 season went for $132,000 at auction the other day. George Herman, you'll recall, was purchased from the Red Sox by the Damn Yankees for a pittance, $100,000.

Speaking of collectibles, saw where a ball autographed by Joe DiMaggio and mounted on a plaque with a picture was selling for $390 on one of the shopping networks. Years ago, while he was special coach for the A's, I talked to Joltin' Joe for about a %J half-hour in the home dugout in Oakland. Send me a signed blank check and I'll tell you what he said.

* What a joy it would have been to work as the referee at the recent Indiana-Athletes in Action exhibition basketball game wherein Bobby Knight pulled his usual early-season act for publicity and got tossed out. Picture yourself refusing to run the Head Hoosier no matter how ridiculous his antics.

* The New York Times continues to insist its computer does not need service despite the fact it has Notre Dame listed ninth this week, one spot ahead of thrice-beaten UCLA. If you're wondering why West Virginia is fourth in the AP Poll, third in the coaches' poll and No. 7 in the Times, be advised their opponents have combined for just a 45-49-2 record this season.

* The Jets, who annually lead all NFL teams in no-shows at their home games in Giants Stadium, had about 13,000 defectors Sunday while celebrating the team's upset victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Isn't it about time for the rumor to start that the team is thinking of joining the land rush to B'more?

* There are five schools listed in USA Today's Super 25 High School Football who carry 13-0 records and none of them are through playing yet. Poly (11-0), which meets Seneca Valley in College Park Saturday, grabbed the last spot in the rankings and is adjudged fifth best in the East.

* The ages of the first three male finishers in the JFK 50-mile hike-run last weekend are 1. Chris Gibson, 40; 2. David Horton, 43; 3. Tom Smith, 45. Youth will be served, huh?

* Georgetown coach John Thompson is doing a bang-up job helping to push $29.50 tickets for his team's game with Maryland at USAir Arena Friday (2 p.m.) by exclaiming, "It is just another game on our schedule to me." Ho-hum. That should pack 'em in.

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