Regional TV lead games Saturday: ABC, West Virginia vs. Pitt, noonish; CBS, Georgia vs. Mississippi State . . .

Ohio State Coach Earle Bruce could have done without national TV exposure of his Buckeyes' 23-20 loss to Stanford attributable to what Bruce calls such a bonehead call on his part that, since, only his dog has been friendly. "He doesn't know we had a bad play." Bruce meant the second-down pass his quarterback threw for an interception with Ohio State ahead, deep in Stanford territory, Stanford with only one timeout left and 1:38 to play. Of course, John Elway passed the Cardinal to a touchdown, leading to a firestorm of Ohio media criticism of Bruce -- like one columnist's "On this day, against Elway, it was an invitation to play Russian roulette"; another's "Fetch the tinsel and fit out the man on the Ohio State side for a red suit and whiskers" . . .

"You can't alibi it," said Bruce -- eschewing anything like Iowa Coach Hayden Fry's blast last week at sportswriters. Fry said he had "become defensive about our team because some clown says we've got to prove that last season wasn't a fluke. All the clowns who have never played football or been in the combat arena are going to write that cheap stuff."

Eastern Michigan lost its 22nd straight Saturday, supplanting Northwestern as possessor of longest extant major-college losing streak. EMU fired its coach yesterday: Mike Stock, Northwestern grad.