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Buckeyes-Irish is THE game this weekend


So, it's No. 4 Ohio State against fifth-ranked Notre Dame tomorrow in a college football Game of the Century, Brawl for it All, Clash of the Titans, with nothing less than the fate of the Western World at stake.

Didn't we do this already? As in, last week? And won't we do it again before the end of the season?

The answer to all three questions, of course, is yes. These mega-tilts seem to crop up more often than mold in a single guy's refrigerator, but since college football won't come to its senses and decide things once and for all on the field, these

games will have their importance.

For this week's matchup -- the first between these two teams in South Bend, Ind., in more than 60 years -- the question is simple: How effective will the Irish defense be against an Ohio State offense that has racked up 142 points in its first two games?

"Notre Dame's not as deep as Ohio State. They used their [defensive] front seven the whole time against Texas and that could be a problem this week, because Ohio State may be one of the most physical teams I've seen in the last 10 years," said NBC analyst and Baltimore Chamber of Commerce chieftain Bob Trumpy. The fun begins on NBC (Channel 11) at 2: 30 p.m.

The road to Morgantown

For Pam Ward, the challenge of sideline reporting on ESPN2's Saturday night college football games has been exceeded by the challenge of getting back to Baltimore in time to host "Countdown to Football," the Sunday morning pre-game show on WBAL (1090 AM), where she does weekday morning drive-time sports reports as well.

Take three weeks ago, when Ward, who'll work tomorrow's Maryland-West Virginia game (6 p.m.), was doing the Colorado-Colorado State contest in Fort Collins.

The game -- a Colorado blowout -- had been on the air for 3 1/2 hours and still had five minutes to play when Ward realized that she needed to go to catch a 12: 45 a.m. flight from Denver, a 90-minute drive from Fort Collins. She made her flight with a leisurely seven minutes to spare.

"If I had waited another two minutes, I would have been out of luck. Let's just say I was exceeding the 75-mph speed limit to make the flight," Ward said.

She arrived in Atlanta at 5: 30 a.m., had a one-hour layover, then flew into Baltimore, where she went straight to WBAL to do "Countdown."

"I think I'll have a day off in December. I'm looking forward to it," cracked Ward.

The gridiron roundup

It's more of the usual blather on this weekend's football pre-game shows, starting with tomorrow's "College GameDay," (ESPN, 11: 30 a.m.). The program airs live from Notre Dame and includes a Mike Adamle feature on the power of the North Carolina defense, which has given up only 10 points in three games.

By the way, the 11th-ranked Tar Heels will need all of that power to handle No. 2 Florida State in an ACC Battle of the Behemoths tomorrow (Channel 2, 3: 30 p.m.), which goes head-to-head with a Big East clash between Syracuse and Virginia Tech (Channel 13, 3: 30 p.m.).

Both Fox's noon-time Sunday show (Channel 45) and ESPN's "NFL Countdown" (11: 30 a.m.) have scheduled features on the Vikings' propensity for fourth-quarter comebacks. ESPN also has planned pieces on Dallas' Emmitt Smith, Pittsburgh's Jerome Bettis, Kansas City's Dale Carter and the first meeting between Jacksonville and Carolina. The Fox program sends Terry Bradshaw to Charlotte to talk with linebackers Kevin Greene and Lamar Lathon.

Diamonds in the rough

ESPN2 will carry any Sunday baseball games that are relevant to the pennant races at 1 p.m., including the Orioles-Toronto meeting, and ESPN would air any crucial 4 p.m. game. Of course, Home Team Sports will carry Orioles games tonight and Sunday, and Fox (Channel 45) will air tomorrow's game at 1 p.m.

Pub Date: 9/27/96

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