ESPN analyst Todd Blackledge doesn't expect Oklahoma's 34-33 loss at Oregon in 2006 — in which several questionable calls contributed to the outcome — to be much of a factor when the Sooners return to the Pacific Northwest to play at Washington on Saturday night. "They are too far removed from that,” said Blackledge, who will call the game with Mike Patrick and sideline reporter Holly Rowe. "I think the memory of what happened last year in the Fiesta Bowl (a 48-28 loss to West Virginia) is lingering more than what happened when they last played in the Pacific Northwest.” However, ESPN "College GameDay” analyst Kirk Herbstreit said OU coach Bob Stoops should use the OU-Oregon game as a motivating factor and show the game tape to his team tonight at the team hotel. Herbstreit said, "I'd show them that tape and say, ‘We're not going to let this game be close enough to let the officials have an effect on this game. Let's go take this team seriously, and let's go take care of business.'” Officiating will be a hot topic on "GameDay” and the game telecast, coming a week after an excessive celebration penalty on Washington quarterback Jake Locker contributed to the Huskies' 28-27 loss to BYU. Like many commentators, Blackledge said the Pac 10 officials went too far in calling the penalty on the celebration. "To me, it's a situation where you exercise the spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law,” he said. "It's just an unfortunate way for that game to end.”
‘Taste of the Town'Blackledge, a former Penn State and NFL quarterback, is being recognized more for the restaurants he spotlights on his game telecasts than his commentary. He said he came up with the idea for the "Taste of the Town” segments last year after being challenged by network executives to come up with new ideas for the telecasts. "I just went to my producer and said I love to eat. I go to all these small towns for college football and I always find a little hole-in-the-wall kind of place,” he said. "The thing just took off. It really struck a chord with people. They can all identify with those little places in college towns where it's fun to go eat.” At many game sites, Blackledge said he has a restaurant selected in advance. This weekend in Seattle, he said he will solicit suggestions from sports information directors and others familiar with the area. After sampling food at a restaurant or two, he will film the segment today.