North Carolina men's basketball coach Dean Smith frequently spouts coaching cliches with the best of his brethren. But his recent comments, assailing the Atlantic Coast Conference for an unholy alliance with beer television sponsors, were entirely correct.
In a program that will air next month on North Carolina public television, Smith said he had written to each of the nine presidents of conference schools for their support in getting beer ads off ACC telecasts, but had only heard from North Carolina State chancellor Larry Monteith.
"It's a shame that the worst problem they have on the campuses now is alcohol consumption," Smith told the Charlotte Observer. "From [ages] 18 to 25, the leading cause of death is alcohol-related. And our presidents could change that."
Smith, who once was arrested for drunken driving, blasted the conference for allowing ACC basketball announcers to say, "And now, a word from our good friends at Budweiser," going into breaks.
Though everyone knows that beer ads are the mother's milk of televised sports, there's something troubling about promoting a product that three-quarters of college students can't legally purchase or consume during a college game.
And though many Anheuser-Busch spots promote responsibility in drinking, the links between irresponsible conduct and alcohol consumption are far too strong for beer ads to be a part of ACC basketball telecasts.
:. Score the basket for Smith on this matter.
The scoop on hoops
ESPN has announced a Great Midwest-Atlantic 10 men's college basketball doubleheader for Jan. 5, matching Marquette and Temple in one game and St. Louis and Massachusetts in the other contest, a la the late, lamented ACC-Big East Challenge.
In other college basketball developments, Quinn Buckner will return to CBS this season as an analyst. Buckner, who coached the Dallas Mavericks last season, had been with CBS for three years before going to NBC as an NBA studio commentator for two years.
A quick peek at Sunday's overnight national ratings shows nTC NBC parlayed a strong NFL schedule into pretty strong numbers.
NBC's "NFL Live" pre-game show rang up a 4.5 rating and 13 share, numbers that were up 13 percent from the same week last year, though behind "Fox NFL Sunday," which did a 5.0/15. Fox's numbers, though, were off from the 6.4/18 that CBS pulled in last season.
NBC's game numbers soared, however, as the early game -- Miami at Buffalo, seen by 79 percent of the country -- garnered a 12.6 rating and 31 share, a 47 percent boost from last year's sixth week. The late game, which for 68 percent of the country was Kansas City at San Diego, got a 16.5/32, which was 39 percent higher than the previous year.
Fox, which had but one game, mainly Arizona at Dallas, on Sunday, pulled in a respectable 13.2./30, which was down 12 percent from CBS' 15.0/37 last year.
There will be a quiz later.
Huff 'n' puff
It took Redskins radio announcer Sam Huff about three sentences to commit his first gaffe of the game during the Washington-Philadelphia broadcast Sunday night.
While ticking off a list of Eagles defenders, Huff said that defensive lineman Greg Townsend had come to Philadelphia from the Dallas Cowboys, which was news, since Townsend had spent his entire 10-year career with the Los Angeles Raiders until this season.
"Uh, Sam, he was with the Raiders," said partner Sonny Jurgensen.
"With the Raiders?" said Huff.
"He wanted to be with the Cowboys. I'm sure he did," said play-by-play man Frank Herzog.
Maybe it's time for Huff to be someplace else other than a broadcast booth.