Sidelined sports

NFL considers priming its CBS, Fox games

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball has wiped out all 45 of its scheduled games from Tuesday through today as a result of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, and the National Football League may shift its Sunday games from afternoon to night.

One insider said the NFL would delay Sunday’s games on CBS and Fox to primetime to allow football fans to go to church and participate in memorial services.

Since the CBS and Fox primetime schedules for Sunday consist mostly of reruns, the networks would be eager to replace them with live, high-rated pro football contests. (The Emmy Awards were originally skedded to air Sunday on CBS, but have been postponed.)

The word among MLB officials is that they want to resume the full baseball schedule Fridaybecause if they delay the games any longer there would be big disruptions in the postseason.

Baseball executives say the goal now is to start the postseason on Oct. 5 instead of the originally planned date of Oct. 2, making room to play the three days of games that were postponed this week.

At least one big college football game will go ahead as scheduled, with Saturday’s Tennessee-Florida matchup set to air at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS. Invoking the “leadership of President Bush,” Charles Bloom, associate commissioner of the South East Conference, said, “We’re refusing to let terrorists change the way we lead our lives.”

Bloom said the SEC’s goal is to play all nine of its scheduled Saturday games, having secured approvals from all the teams, including the six non-conference opponents..

By contrast, ABC will have to forgo its plan to cover the two games its had scheduled for Saturday — Washington-Miami and Notre Dame-Purdue. The teams have rescheduled the games for later this year.

In addition to the Washington-Miami game, Jim Muldoon, assistant commissioner for the Pac-10 Conference, said three other Saturday games will be postponed: Arizona State at UCLA, which the Fox Sports Net would have broadcast nationally; California at Rutgers; and Stanford at San Jose State.

Muldoon said the Pac-10 would try to bring off the two other Saturday games — U. of Colorado at Washington State (a Fox Sports Net game) and Montana State at Oregon State. If travel restrictions prevent these games from being played, they’ll go by the boards because “there’s no window of opportunity for us to be able to reschedule them,” Muldoon said.

TVKO, the AOL Time Warner-owned sports promoter, has postponed the biggest boxing match of the month, the middleweight-championship pay-per-view bout between Felix Trinidad and Bernard Hopkins, at Madison Square Garden, on Saturday. TVKO will announce the new date shortly.

But Vince McMahon, president of the World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, said tonight’s “Smackdown” event in Houston will go ahead as scheduled on UPN.

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