Jackson: Colorado 'hard to handle'


Another week, another college football game of the century.

This weekend's gotta-be-there, can't-miss-it classic comes from Lincoln, Neb., where third-ranked Nebraska plays host to No. 2 Colorado at noon on ABC tomorrow.

Up for grabs, in all probability, is the Big Eight championship, not to mention which party will control the Senate and while we're at it, the fate of Western civilization.

OK, so maybe the course of civilization gets settled at next week's Big Clash, but tomorrow's game is, nonetheless, a huge one.

"It will be a terrific football game, no doubt about it. It could come down to the last possession," said ABC's Keith Jackson, the dad-gummed official voice of college football who just signed a two-year contract extension with ABC.

Jackson wouldn't pick a winner during a teleconference the other day. But, with Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier out for the year with a blood clot in his leg and the Buffaloes' three terrific players -- quarterback Kordell Stewart, running back Rashaan Salaam and wide receiver Michael Westbrook -- and Colorado seemingly peaking at the right time, well, you could kind of see which way he was leaning.

"I thought [the Buffaloes] were dead at Texas. They looked listless and without a spark," said Jackson. "All of a sudden, there was a surge of energy and they went down and won the game. There was something inside that team that you can't measure. Those kinds of teams are hard to handle."

Channel 13, your local ABC source, will offer the Nebraska-Colorado game and Penn State-Ohio State at 3:30; Channel 2 offers the Navy-Notre Dame blowout at 1:30 p.m.

Going pro

NBC, in general, and Channel 2, in particular, should have a pretty interesting NFL doubleheader Sunday. Kansas City and Buffalo, the two teams that met in last year's AFC title game, play at 1 p.m., followed by Miami-New England at 4.

Channel 45 will have the Philadelphia-Washington game at 1 p.m. During the pre-game show at noon, host James Brown will chat up Redskins rookie quarterback Gus Frerotte, who has been seen in more places this week than Waldo.

TNT, whose NFL ratings are up 20 percent from last year, finishes its football schedule Sunday night with Pittsburgh visiting Arizona at 8.

Better late than never

Admittedly tardy, here's a glance at last week's rather lackluster ratings highlights, as furnished by Channel 13's Andre "Dr. Dre" De- Verneil, this week's official "On the Air" ratings supplier.

Last Saturday's Clemson-Florida State game on Channel 13 at noon got a 2.9 rating and 9 share of the audience, and the doubleheader game, North Carolina-Virginia, did a 6.2/16, also on Channel 13. Meanwhile, the Solheim Cup, the women's answer to the Ryder Cup, did an abysmal 0.5/1 on Channel 2.

On Sunday, Channel 2's Pittsburgh-New York Giants game (8.4/17) outpaced the Redskins-Colts matchup on Channel 45 (6.0/12) at 1 p.m., and the 4 p.m. game, Dallas-Arizona did a 10.6/20.

Nationally, NBC continues to hold on to its slight lead in NFL game coverage, averaging an 11.8/28 to Fox's 11.2/27. Overall, NBC's AFC figures are up 24 percent from last season, while Fox's numbers are down 4 percent from what CBS posted covering the NFC.


We've saved the best news for last: NBA basketball returns to the airwaves tonight at 9 p.m. on TNT, as the world champion Houston Rockets meet the San Antonio Spurs in Mexico City, with Ron Thulin and Doug Collins on the call. Meanwhile, "This Week in the NBA" makes its season premiere Sunday at 6:30 p.m. with host Bob Lorenz and analyst Mike Glenn.

Oh, thank heaven.

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