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LET’S GIVE NFL, NCAA PARITY THE BOOT

SHARE LET’S GIVE NFL, NCAA PARITY THE BOOT

Having received my two front teeth years ago, all I want for the holiday this season is for parity to be given the boot.

In the NFL, the mediocrity of a 7-7 record is being rewarded in playoff excitement. Send the .500 teams home now.In college basketball, the NCAA's plan to equalize the teams is resulting in upstarts beating long-time powers. But isn't the best of sport the times when Goliath slays David? What if there's no David?

"In 1992, the NCAA switched the start of practice from October 15 to November 1 and we heard coaches, players and members of the media complain," says Jim Nantz of CBS. "The thinking was that the shorter pre-season would act as an equalizer by contributing to early-season upsets and the ultimate achievement of marginal teams into the (tournament) field of 64. It sounded like a viable theory.

"In contrast, this year the NCAA gave back the 16 days allowing coaches and players more time together in the pre-season. However, we are still looking at three different number-one teams in three weeks. Pre-season Top 25 teams are suffering startling upsets to non-ranked opponents."

Nantz will see parity up close Saturday when Indiana, which surprisingly lost three of its first five games, plays Kansas at 2 p.m. on KSL-TV.

Switching channels:

Wishful thinking or not, NCAA officials envision accelerated growth in the women's basketball tournament once television coverage shifts from CBS to ESPN in 1996.

"We had two priorities for the women's basketball championship," remarks NCAA Executive Director Cedric Dempsey. "A day of rest between the semifinal and final, and live coverage of earlier rounds."

ESPN and ESPN2 will televise 23 games each year - eight games from the round of 32, all eight regional semifinal games, all four regional finals, both national semifinals and the championship game. The national semifinals will now be contested on Fridays, with the title game contested on Sundays in prime time. ...

I almost fell off the bed and crushed the dog Sunday when NBC's Charlie Jones shamelessly - or ignorantly - hyped the final minutes of the Broncos-Raiders game. With savior John Elway on the sidelines, there was no chance of Denver erasing a 17-point lead in the final three minutes. But Jones made it sound as if overtime was a near-certainty. Too bad Randy Gross, one of the most honest analysts on NFL telecasts, didn't make his partner sit in a corner for the remainder of the game.