Timing of Fla.-Fla. State clash makes it one of sudden impact


Tomorrow's Florida-Florida State clash of the two top-ranked teams in the college football universe does have that "been there, done that," feel about it. After all, doesn't it seem as though the No. 1 and No. 2 squads play just about every week?

ABC's Keith Jackson, the grand old man of the college gridiron, generally has that same wariness about these "Games of the Century," except for this one.

The reason? Because the game (Channel 2, noon) comes essentially at the end of the regular season, it has immediate national championship consequences.

"If Florida State wins, they're set to get to the Sugar Bowl. But once Florida gets through this, they've still got to go up to Atlanta and face an Alabama team whose coach is leaving and will be filled with emotion. I would say [Florida coach] Steve Spurrier has a particularly hard road to get to the national championship," Jackson said the other day.

The Seminoles and Gators are two good teams known for the potency of their offenses, but Jackson's partner, Bob Griese, says it will be the defense, and particularly Florida State's defense, that decides the issue.

"Their defense is ranked No. 1 in total defense, and their defensive ends are exceptional. Plus, Florida is missing two offensive line starters, so I'm sure that's a big concern for Steve," said Griese.

More of the campus scene

Jackson has some concerns about the direction of the game, especially in the wake of the rash of departures from the coaching ranks.

"It's no longer good enough to offer someone an education to a fine institution. It is no longer good enough for a coach to promise a mother and father that they'll do their best to look after their child. There are a million things that have been added to coaching that some of the guys are getting tired of it and I can understand it," said Jackson.

It's a busy weekend of college football, starting today with a doubleheader on ABC (Channel 2) and a single game on CBS (Channel 13).

ABC's twin bill opens just after breakfast with the Texas-Texas A&M; fracas at 11 a.m., followed by the Colorado-Nebraska showdown, which may help shed some light on the national championship picture. CBS, meanwhile, has the Virginia-Virginia Tech game at 2: 30 p.m.

On Saturday, CBS' Miami-Syracuse showdown kicks off at 3: 30 p.m., and ABC has the Notre Dame-Southern California game in prime time at 8 p.m.

The ratings game

There was nothing terribly out of the ordinary in last weekend's ratings, according to Channel 11's Sharon Walz, this week's sole and official "Media Watch" ratings supplier.

The Ravens-Jacksonville game pulled a 15.1 rating and 32 share of the audience for Channel 11 to win the day, though a 45-minute snippet of the Philadelphia-Arizona game on Channel 45 got a 15.5/24, building on the 10.9/21 for the Dallas-New York Giants game, also on Channel 45.

The biggest surprise from the Saturday ratings was the 6.9/15 who tuned into the Maryland-Florida State game on Channel 2, virtually doubling every other college football audience for that day.

Weekend grab bag

On the rundown for Sunday's "NFL Countdown" on ESPN (11: 30 a.m.) is a feature from reporter Greg Garber on how replays on those JumboTron stadium screens are viewed as intently by players and coaches as fans.

Finally, admit it: You were riveted by yesterday's first part of "Ice Wars: USA Vs. The World" and especially by Viktor Petrenko's moving salute to mayonnaise. Well, there's more tonight in the exciting conclusion, airing at 9 p.m. on Channel 13, including a wonderful Rosalynn Sumners skating tribute to Millard Fillmore, the forgotten Commander-in-Chief. Don't miss it.

Pub Date: 11/29/96

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