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An important member of the crew in this regard is Castleman (Chezz) Chesley, the NCAA liaison man with the network. Chezz's prime function is to insure that the officials allow enough interval during time-outs to do the all-important commercials, but he also sits in on the valuable and informative pregame sessions with the officials. This year Syracuse Coach Floyd Schwartzwalder sent word to the officials that he had a series in which his quarterback made a full 180� circle before the ball was snapped and wanted them to know he came to a stop and the play was legal. NBC was anticipating the move, and when it came was not only on camera but able to explain carefully what Schwartzwalder was up to.
"It's no longer possible to hop right from the Stork Club into a plane, arriving at the stadium for the kickoff," insists Nelson. "The game is too complicated and the fan is too smart or, at least, can see too well."
Wherever possible, the crew likes to have a "live" run-through just like any other TV spectacular. One time it wasn't possible was at Notre Dame when Frank Leahy was coach and flatly refused to bring his squad onto the field for final practice until the stadium was cleared of all the prying eyes, human and electronic. With other coaches, Nelson—who telephones more head coaches than a high school tailback with a D average—not only asks for but gets complete cooperation right down to a chart of the team's defenses.
The selection of the TV Game of the Week is a bit complicated. This year it works out to seven national and five regional telecasts, plus one split-network arrangement on Thanksgiving. All games, save those of the Big Ten, were picked last April—which accounts for such one-sided horrors as UCLA-Michigan and TCU-Arkansas finding their way on the coaxials and microwaves. The Big Ten won the right to hold open its choice of teams until the week of the game—which accounts for such bonuses as Minnesota-Iowa. For the West Coast Thanksgiving regional, Oregon and Oregon State were persuaded (in return for the handsome receipts) to schedule their traditional game two days early, whereas Miami vs. Pittsburgh was moved from a Friday night to Saturday (Dec. 8) to oblige Game of the Week fans.
This week at Los Angeles a game which looked a dud a month ago—USC vs. UCLA—now appears to be a fine addition to the most successful season of telecasting since the medium grew out of its constrictive regional infancy. From card stunts to safety men, French horn players to field judges, the glittering troupe is ready to make Saturday, Nov. 24, in the Los Angeles Coliseum a De Milleian delight on the millions of flickering aluminized screens from the prairies of Texas to the penthouses of Manhattan and show the country California is a worthy host for the newest national extravaganza, the TV Game of the Week.