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Remote patrol: National spotlight

JOHN C. COTEY
Published October 15, 2004

The Bucs will have ESPN's Monday Night Countdown all to themselves (well, except for the occasional Rams story and feature).

Hosted by Stuart Scott, Tom Jackson, Michael Irvin and Ron Jaworski and airing at 7:30 Monday, the show will have Ronde Barber breaking down the challenge of containing the St. Louis receivers (on a segment called Inside Slant), and Soundtracks will feature Derrick Brooks, who was wired for sound when the Bucs played Sept. 26 at Oakland.

Booth rivalry

NBC and TNT play-by-play commentator Allen Bestwick, who missed the past two NASCAR races after surgery to repair the left leg he broke in a hockey game near his home in Rhode Island, will return to the booth for Saturday's UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

This will be the fifth race in the 10-race Chase for the Championship series, and Bestwick says he is eager to get back.

"All year long, we've been looking forward to the last 10 races," Bestwick said. "With all the excitement around the Chase, and when you love doing this as much as I do, it's really tough to be forced to the sidelines."

Prerace host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber filled in while Bestwick was out. But Bestwick, a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, joked (we think) that he couldn't allow Weber, a Yankees fan, to continue to dominate the microphone, especially with the American League Championship Series in full swing.

"I had to get back this week because I couldn't stand leaving the microphone open to an unrebuked Yankees fan," Bestwick said.

Pur-do or don't

It's contender or pretender time on ESPN's College GameDay, as the crew will set up in West Lafayette, Ind., for the Wisconsin-Purdue game this weekend.

Purdue is ranked No. 5 in the country; Wisconsin is No. 10.

Also on the show, Jill Arrington will sit down with Bobby Bowden for his first national television interview since the auto accident that killed a grandson and former son-in-law.

Rocket Ismail will take a look at Purdue's Ben Jones , 22, and how he overcame weight problems as a teenager to become one of college football's best kickers, and Steve Cyphers will report on the best unknown quarterback - Arizona State's Andrew Walter.

The best of times

Todd Kalas will host FSN Florida's Devil Rays postseason wrapup special at 7 tonight, with a repeat at 7 Wednesday.

The show includes an interview with outfielder Carl Crawford and a countdown of the top 5 plays of the year, culminating with a play of the year.

Around the dial

The Magic-Heat game in Tampa will be televised by Sunshine Network at 8 tonight. It also will be the first chance for area viewers to check out Shaquille O'Neal in his new Heat uniform. ... Sunshine will have a feature during its college football pregame coverage Saturday on the decision of high school students to attend military academies. The show will focus on Army players who made the choice based on the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

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