USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits have Jack Pardee high on their list of coaching candidates. Others include Steve Spurrier, Duke offensive coordinator, but owner John Bassett has to remember the great job Redskin-coach-to-be Pardee did in Florida when both were in the WFL . . . Big game in Maryland's Byrd Stadium, never mind that the Terps close at Charlottesville: Gonzaga vs. De Matha, 1:30 Sunday, for Metro Conference title . . . Unhappy word from Florida: death yesterday of John Merricks, one of the metro area's best coaches for years (1963-78 at Crossland) . . .

They still fight fiercely, the Ivies. Harvard Coach Joe Restic has protested the Crimson's last-play, 23-21 loss to Penn as "an injustice and a tragedy." Restic had Art Hyland, ECAC assistant commissioner, view film of the next-to-last play on which Harvard was called for roughing kicker Dave Shulman, giving him a second chance at the winning field goal. "I can't for the life of me see roughing, no way," argues Restic. "The roughing was blatant," counters a Penn assistant coach.

Hyland will announce by Friday his finding but no "recommendation for either school to do anything." Restic says if Hyland finds the call was incorrect, Penn should do as Cornell did in 1940 when films showed it beat Dartmouth, 7-3, on a fifth down: reverse the outcome. Penn and Harvard went into the game each 4-1 in the Ivy and Restic says, "It's sad. We're talking championship here."