Maryland's football varsity isn't the only bunch getting ready to play Clemson - Catholic U.'s basketball team opens down Death Valley way a week from tomorrow. But the Cardinals are hurting, bad, before they even get to Clemson, S.C.

It's so bad Coach Jack Kvancz and assistant Ed McNamara have had to suit up to make a scrimmage: Joe Colletta, a sure starter at guard, stress fracture of right foot, out three-four weeks. Billy Dooley, freshman prospect to start in forecourt, Achilles' tendon strain. Bill Dankos, starting forward, inflamed foot tendon. Dave Butler, hotshot junior-college transfer guard, set back 10 days, father had heart attack.

Kvancz is telling folks, "When you go to your synagogue, light up a couple of candles for us, please. He's not working for our team - He must be too busy helping Dan Devine."

Sorry about all the car commecials, but Russ Potts, SMU's athletic director via Maryland, has boldly moved to fill the Cotton Bowl for his school's Nov. 25 game with Arkansas - by selling Dallas-area Ford dealers 40,000 tickets at ($2 apiece) to give away at their showrooms. See, Potts told the auto folks our star is QB Mike Ford and our team is Mustangs and . . . Sold.