The Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner Bob James, has risen to defend the good name of ACC football officials and sent caoch Dan Devine toward the Cotton Bowl - or wherever - with egg on his Notre Dame Irish face.

James said televised replays of the two plays Saturday at Clemson over which Devine excoriated head linesman W. R. Cummings of Columbia, S.C. as, among other goodies, "a disgrace to college football," boomerang such charges toward the Notre Dame coach. They replays, said James, "certainly minimize (Devine's) evaluation of competency."

Devine blew up because (1) Cummings, in is view, threw a screen block for Clemson tailback Lester Brown as the Tigers built a 17-7 lead before yielding in the fourth quarter, 21-17, and (2) flagged Notre Dame for clipping on a call that so outraged Devine he ran out onto the field, to draw what he said was his first unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty in 25 years of coaching.

"I can't believe (Devine's comment) will escape Vince Dooley's attention, and he's chairman of the (coaches') ethnics committee," said james. Dooley, head coach at Georgia, is brother of Bill Dooley, coach at North Carolina in the ACC.

Besides, sniffed James, Devine has rabbit ears. Devine wired him the week before the game, expressing concern over noise at Death Valley, Clemson's stadium. James forward the message, before the game, to Tiger coach Charley Pell, who made it public, saying Clemson fans will not be intimidate - further angering Devine. James recalled that 10 years ago, when he was athletic director at Air Force Academy and Devine was coaching Missouri, Devine has written him objecting to crowd noise at Colorado Springs - "so may be does this to everybody."

Can't you hear those Texas throats, drums and horns if it's Longhorn's vs. Irish in the Cotton Bowl on New Year's?

Another Midwestern coach, you'll recall, wasn't too impressed with ACC officials after Duke-Michigan on Sept. 20: Bo Schembechler, who earned a big 10 reprimand for his outburst. Now, Schembechler is more concerned with whether hobbled tailback Harlan Huckleby will be healed for the Rose Bowl qualification showdown with Ohlo State on Saturday. Huckleby, with 727 yards, is No. 2 Wolverine rusher, with top man Russell Davis of Woodbridge. Va., needing only 43 yards against the Buckeyes to become Michigan's fifth single-season 1,000-yard gainer . . . Air time for the WJLA-TV-7 telecast from Ann Arbor is 12:30 p.m. EST - then at 4 p.m. Washington-area fans will sec either Texas-Baylor or Clemson-South Carolina, the word hasn't come down from New York . . .