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Sports on the Air, abbreviated edition

By Alan Pergament

The announcers calling the University at Buffalo game with San Diego State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at 5:30 p.m. today on ESPN aren't that famous.

Unless you're a regular viewer of ESPNU's Saturday night football package, I doubt that you have heard of play-by-play man Clay Matvick, analyst Matt Stinchcomb and sideline reporter Dawn Davenport.

Matvick has been with ESPN for several years and has called regional Little League World Series games. Stinchcomb was a former No. 1 draft choice in the NFL out of Georgia and played in the league for five season. Davenport was an all-star volleyball player at Auburn.

Syracuse University basketball fans will be happy to know that their No.2 ranked Orange have four games on the WBBZ-TV schedule of Atlantic Coast Conference games that begin on the local independent station at noon Jan. 4. The station is airing an ACC Tip Off Special at noon today.

This is Syracuse's first season in the ACC. The WBBZ schedule includes SU games with Miami on Jan.4, Virginia on Jan.7, N.C. State on Feb.15 and Florida on March 9.

Notre Dame fans also should be happy as the schedule also includes games featuring the Fighting Irish against Georgia Tech on Jan.11,  Florida State on Jan.21, Wake Forest on Jan.25, Boston College on Feb.1 and North Carolina on Feb.8.

The Christmas day schedule of NBA games on ABC and ESPN sure looked a lot better in the preseason than it does now with the stumbles of the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets and the latest injuries to Los Angeles Laker star Kobe Bryant and Chcago Bulls star Derrick Rose.

ABC is carrying the Okahoma City Thunder against the Knicks at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and the Miami Heat at the Lakers at 5 p.m.

ESPN is carrying the Brooklyn Nets game with Chicago at noon. Its evening doubleheader could have the best games of the day because they at least involve four decent teams. The first game at 8 p.m. is San Antonio and Houston and the second game is between Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Finally, I hope I am wrong but I continue to fear the FCC's proposal to end the TV sports blackout rule has the potential to do more harm than good to a small market NFL team like the Buffalo Bills if the league gives in to pressure from the FCC and Congress to accept any rule change.

The big market teams don't have to worry about blackouts because they have large populations with plenty of fans willing to buy tickets.

This season, only the Bills-Miami game this Sunday will be blacked out here even though only a few of the games were legitimate sellouts in what has been a 5-9 season. I'd rather listen to John Murphy and Mark Kelso do the radio call on WGR for one game a season than end the blackouts and risk a significant drop in season ticket sales that eventually could cause the team to move.

As I've written before, the current rule seems to be working just fine and Bills fans should be careful for what they wish for concerning the blackout.

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Sports on the radio | Sports on TV | Television
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