Monday Morning Coffee

December 11, 2017

Lavar has officially lost his mind.  Any minute now he should announce his candidacy to run for President.  This guy brings more drama than all the Kardashians combined.  He’s not only pulled his youngest son, LaMelo, out of high school, but now pulled LiAngelo out of UCLA.  I’ve been pretty supportive of the way Lavar has done things up until now, but at this point he’s just trying to fulfill his own dreams at the expense of his kids’ future.  That dream is for both of those kids to eventually play for the Lakers.  LaMelo and LiAngelo might not even be good enough to go play overseas and get meaningful experience to develop their games.  However, UCLA Coach Steve Alford seems to be happy he doesn’t have to deal with Lavar anymore.  Maybe he can deal with his teams mediocre play on the court and start getting some wins.  Saturday against Michigan wasn’t exactly a promising start.

The Angels shocked the baseball world with their signing of Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani.  How did they pull this off? They must have throw in a couple of season passes to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm because this is the last place I would have expected him to end up.  It’s the pitching of Ohtani that the Angels will really need, since their staff is made of porcelain.  Meanwhile, the Dodgers not only missed out on Ohtani, but they passed up an opportunity to trade for Giancarlo Stanton, who’s first choice was to play with the Boys in Blue, yet he ended up with the Yankees.  I’m not gonna pretend like a core of Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, and Stanton for the next 10 years wouldn’t be nice.  However, what was the last MLB team that won the offseason, and then won the World Series the following year? I think the Dodgers will be just fine without Ohtani and Stanton.

It was definitely nice to see the Lakers get a win against Dwight Howard and the Hornets on Saturday.  I guess Dwight has learned nothing since his bad experiences with the Lakers, Rockets, and Hawks.  There he was on Saturday, playing another game with the intensity of pick-up ball at 24-Hour Fitness.  As for Luke Walton, it appears as though he is not only trying to follow in the footsteps of Phil Jackson, but also Doc Rivers because he spends most of the game crying and whining to the officials.  I’m surprised the media hasn’t gotten any comments from Kyle Kuzma’s dad.  Oh that’s right, Kuzma’s father isn’t hogging his son’s spotlight and trying to capitalize on his son’s fame.

This coming Friday is December 15th, which means a number of NBA players that were signed and acquired over the summer are eligible to be traded.  The Clippers should be on the phone at 12:01 am, and start calling 29 other NBA teams to unload DeAndre Jordan, Lou Williams, and some sucker that is willing to take Doc Rivers off their hands from some draft picks.  If the Boston Celtics taught the league anything, it’s that the faster you tear it down, the faster you can rebuild it.  However, as long as Rivers is still employed with the team, he will have no interest in doing this.

Yesterday might have been the first time ever that all of Southern California was cheering against Kobe Bryant.  That’s because Kobe was cheering for the Eagles against the Rams, but it was the Rams who came up short.  They can thank Trumaine Johnson, who’s dumb unsportsmanlike conduct penalty cost the Rams the game.  I haven’t seen anything that dumb since the league decided to move two football teams to LA.  The Rams are still contenders in the NFC and a good bet to win the division, and in the big picture, the Eagles are big losers because Carson Wentz may be done for the season.  Problem is they badly needed that win, and should have taken advantage of Wentz’ absence.  The Rams need home field, but it’s going to be hell to get it with some tough matchups left, including at Seattle.  It’s much worse for Philly fans though.  Carson Wentz out.  Joel Embiid out.  Philly sports fans are black out……

The Chargers are no fun for any NFL team to play right now.  They are also no fun to write about anymore because I can’t make fun of them.  They are suddenly legit, and could probably beat any team in the league at this very moment.  Philip Rivers was slinging the ball around yesterday like he was playing Arena League Football.  They even let Kellen Clemens play, who is a human victory cigar.  The Chiefs are looking vulnerable, and the Chargers’ schedule is as soft as tissue paper, so they’re a good bet to win the AFC West.  Things are so good right now for the Bolts that even C-listers like Mario Lopez are showing up and partying on the sidelines.

Elsewhere around week 14, Derek Car was a dumpster fire yesterday in the Raiders’ loss against the Chiefs.  When the Browns were up by two touchdown against the Packers, I thought the world was going to end.  DeShone Kizer made sure they were going to lose.  Being a Bills fan must be fun.  If I wanted to go watch a game with little to no scoring I would have bought a ticket to go see Lonzo Ball play basketball.    Here’s a look at the stands in Buffalo yesterday…..

Finally, an absolutely shocking episode of The Walking Dead went down last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so definitely read no further if you plan to watch it later.  Yes, we were due for a major character to die, and it finally is happening, or at least appears that way.  We learned that Carl has a walker bite and is going to die.  For those of you that don’t know, Carl is actually still alive in the comic, so this is a shocking deviation.  Now it all makes sense why he was serious about sacrificing himself for the rest of Alexandria and why he wrote that letter to his dad earlier in the episode.  Carl also died a virgin.  I’m blaming Enid for this.  As bummed as I am about this, it was necessary for the show to pull a shocking move that deviated from the comic to get your attention.  Especially with all those whiners and complainers who said the show was predictable.  Hopefully he actually goes out with a better ending in the next episode, because for being on the show after 8 seasons, he needs to go out with a bigger bang.  A few side questions though.  Where the hell is Heath and where did the garbage people disappear to? We all wish it were Eugene that died.  Ugh….see you in two months TWD.

 

Monday Morning Coffee

December 4, 2017

I was shocked at what I learned on Sunday morning while watching the College Football Playoff Selection Show on ESPN.  For about the first 30 minutes of the show, the crew was talking about the  three teams that could potentially be selected as the 4th and final seed for the playoffs.  One of those three teams they believed was USC.  That means I was shocked to learn that the ESPN College Football analysts take shots of tequila that early in the morning.  USC had no business being mentioned in the same breath as Ohio State or Alabama, and obviously the College Football Playoff Selection Committee felt that way too because the Trojans finished a distant 8th in the final rankings.  Even with a Pac-12 Championship, USC fans have to be disappointed given the hype train they were riding back in September.  Everyone thought Sam Darnold was a slam dunk for the Heisman and the Trojans were going to win the National title.  Even USC fans know they would be embarrassed if they were in the playoff, and that might even be the case when they play Ohio State.

Speaking of the College Football Playoff, the Selection Committee reminded everyone that they DGAF what we think.  They don’t care if you won your conference championship.  They also don’t care if all the people at your school think its ok to get with your cousin.  They were picking Alabama no matter what because they think they are the better team.  Ohio State is by far the more deserving team to get in the playoff.  However, Ohio State benefitted by being the better team last year, and not the more deserving team.  However, if the committee really had their way, their way, they would choose Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oklahoma every year.

No problem for the Rams yesterday against the Cardinals.  That was by no means a performance that blew anybody away, especially against a mediocre team, but the Rams are still in the race for home field advantage in the NFC.  In fact, the Vikings and Eagles didn’t exactly look impressive either yesterday, and the Eagles are coming to town next week, so the Rams can catch them in the standings.  Ironically, the Rams match up very well with the Eagles, even though Philly has looked like the best team in the NFC all year.  However, it’s Minnesota that looks like they would give the Rams nightmares heading into the postseason.

It would have been extremely fitting for the Chargers to lose at home to the Browns.  However, they managed to win again, and surge into a 1st place tie in the AFC West.  The whole division has collapsed faster Harvey Weinstein’s career.  The Bolts schedule is way easier than the Raiders’ or Chiefs’.  However, I wouldn’t trust this team to tell me what they wanted on their pizza come the 4th quarter of a big game.  I’m convinced that they will find a way to lose in some awkward and strange way in one of these games they should win coming up.  One thing is for sure.  Many Charger fans are still bitter they left SD

Blake Griffin is going to be out for the next two months with a knee injury.  This is about as surprising as Doc Rivers not being able to draw up a decent play.  As if being a Clipper wasn’t a curse enough in itself, Griffin is also dating Kendall Jenner, which means she’s sure to add the Kardashian curse to the Clipper woes.  In all seriousness though, it’s high time the Clippers blow up their roster and start over.  This team is going nowhere fast, and their best bet to get some assets in return is to trade DeAndre Jordan.  Maybe they can even find some sucker to trade for Doc Rivers, like they did a couple of years ago.

Ok, it’s been a quarter of the NBA season, and I can safely tell you that the Lakers stink.  Lonzo Ball’s confidence is at an all-time low right now.  He isn’t improving nearly fast enough to get the free agents they need next summer. If only the Lakers could give the effort they did against the Warriors last week, on every night.   I never expected the Lakers to make the playoffs, but I certainly hoped that Lonzo, Ingram, and Kuzma would be turning heads far more than they are now.  This isn’t to say they aren’t going to be good NBA players, it’s just that the Lakers may not have time to wait for that to happen.  The best thing going for the Lakers is the fact that Oklahoma City just isn’t that good, which gives Paul George a great chance to come to the Lakers.  Then again, even if George comes to the Lakers, will that by itself take LA where they want to go? Probably not.  When Russell Westbrook signed his extension in OKC, the Lakers were quietly devastated.  If Lebron isn’t playing here next season, which he won’t be, the Lakers are going to continue on the very long rebuilding road.  By the way, Mike D’Antoni must still hate the LA.  He was playing his starters against the Laker scrubs for extended minutes last night to pour it on.

If you’ve been following the MLB offseason in hopes the Dodgers or Angels will make a big splash, don’t hold your breath.  The Angels just traded for Jim Johnson in order to create more money to spend on big Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani.  Johnson is a world class stiff who is capable of imploding an entire bullpen by himself.  Meanwhile, Ohtani is about as interested in the Angels as Cindy Crawford is in dating me.  The Dodgers on the other hand appear to be very content with their roster as is.  Not only have they been passive on Ohtani, but also just mildly interested in Giancarlo Stanton.  The league MVP appears headed to the Giants.  In other words, the Dodgers are that guy who feels like he can just turn down super models left and right, who are lining up to date him.

I have no idea who the LA Kings are anymore.  Are they the team that won 9 of 11 to start the season and their last 5 straight? Or are they the team that lost 7 of 8 games?  Only time will tell.  Yesterday, the Kings beat the struggling Blackhawks 3-1.  It must be really difficult for Hawks fans to watch a team that once won multiple Stanley Cups turn into a non-playoff team so fast.  Kings fan should feel really lucky……on wait never mind.

Finally, The Walking Dead went down last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  You know that Eugene needs to die when suddenly you like Dwight more than him.  Perhaps I wouldn’t feel this way if the whole episode wasn’t dedicated to following Eugene around.  I can’t wait to see what Michonne is going to do to Jadis when she find out that she not only held Rick captive, but was getting ready to “sculpt” him.  I loved Rosita saying “I believe in Rick Grimes”, and even more powerful was that she admitted that Sasha’s death helped her arrive at that conclusion.  However, in the comics, that line is delivered by Maggie, which was far more powerful.  I guess nobody will be covering themselves in walker guts anymore after Father Gabriel got sick.  Speaking of Gabriel, he looks like a good bet to be the next significant character to die.  Based on the previews for the mid-season finale, somebody is going to die, and frankly, it’s probably about time.  I hope to God that when there is a Zombie Apocalypse, we are able to come across as much wine and alcohol in general as they have been lucky enough to stumble upon in this show.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

November 27, 2017

UCLA shocked everybody over the weekend by not only hiring Chip Kelly, but stealing him away from Florida.  I guess Dan Guerrero got tired of me making fun of him for not giving a crap about his football program, and not actually paying up for good coaches.  The reality of it is that this was the perfect storm for the Bruins.  Kelly loves the Pac 12, loves the fact Bruin football isn’t under a microscope, and was not heavily influenced by money because the 49ers are going to be paying him until he dies.  Kelly’s system is fast and exciting.  Even faster than the Bruins were eliminated from Pac 12 contention this season.

Meanwhile listening to Trojan fans complain about the Kelly hire is hilarious.  It’s hilarious because many of those Trojan fans wish it was Kelly coaching their team rather than Clay Helton.  In fact, at the beginning of last season, Helton was on the hot seat, then turned things around for the Trojans.  Kelly was rumored to be the next Trojan coach.  Now Helton appears to be just good enough to keep the Trojans competitive in the Pac 12, but not nationally relevant.  That’s not good enough to fire him.  USC should be happy though because they lucked out getting to play Stanford again for the conference title, instead of a Washington State team that beat them earlier in the season.  It’s also probably a good thing they aren’t playing in the college football playoff, because they would have been embarrassed by any of the teams playing in it.

Elsewhere around College Football, you didn’t really think that Notre Dame wasn’t going to find a way to disappoint their fans before the season ended did you? Only the Irish could let their season unravel in a matter of three minutes during the 4th quarter against Stanford.  Notre Dame can definitely kiss their hopes of a New Year’s Six Bowl game goodbye.  Then there’s Alabama, who lost the Iron Bowl to Auburn.  That will likely put the Tide on the outside of the CFP looking in.  Alabama fans haven’t been this upset since the integration of public schools.  This boycott Tennessee made against Greg Schiano had nothing to do with his connection to the Penn State scandal.  It’s obvious the Volunteer alums and fan base were not having anything but a big name coach their program.  Too bad there aren’t enough big names out there.

To the NFL, where the Rams got a nice win against the Saints yesterday at the Coliseum.  If the Rams get a big win, and nobody was there to see it, did it really happen? There were only about 45,000 people at the Coliseum on Sunday, and another 15,000 dressed as empty seats.  That was against a great New Orleans team.  I really don’t know what it’s going to take for people to support this team because they are winning, and might even end up in the NFC Championship game.  Jared Goff has improved so much, he’s completely destroyed my ability to make jokes about him.  Were it not for Carson Wentz, Goff might be talked about as one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL.  The scary part is it’s going to take 10 wins just to make the playoffs in the NFC, so the Rams need to keep winning.  That won’t be that easy considering they still have to play at Seattle, and against the Eagles.

Somehow, the Chargers are not only back in contention for a playoff spot, they might even win the AFC West.  Their huge win over the struggling Cowboys on Thanksgiving put them just a game behind Kansas City in the division.  It was clear that with Tony Romo working the broadcast on CBS, the Cowboys honored their former quarterback by committing lots of turnovers against the Bolts.  Phil Rivers’ family is so big, it probably took him four hours just to feed his entire family Thanksgiving dinner.

The Clippers may have won their last two games, but prior to that their losses were piling up faster than sexual harassment victims in Hollywood.  It’s time for the Clip show to pull the plug on the season and tank.  They should be used to that since they did that annually prior to Chris Paul arriving in LA.  They finally have their own draft pick this season, Patrick Beverly is out for the year, and Danilo Gallinari will be hurt five minutes after he comes back.  This is really what some members of the Clipper front office wanted to do, but Doc Rivers sure didn’t.  Speaking of Doc, Steve Ballmer should just lock himself in a room with him and stare at Doc until he quits.  He should probably trade DeAndre Jordan and listen to offers for Blake Griffin after that, since those two are fairly inept in the 4th quarter.  I wouldn’t be shocked if DJ or Doc were gone by Christmas.

As for the Lakers, you knew Lavar was going to do this at some point.  Sure enough, last week he criticized Luke Walton and the organization for going soft on Lonzo.  Well Lavar, if you wanted the Lakers to go tough on Lonzo, he probably would never see the floor, since he’s shooting 32% from the field.  Luke’s response was pretty epic though, basically saying the team doesn’t care what parents think.  Unlike those of you that hate Lavar though, I don’t take most of what he says seriously.  He is trolling everybody, including the President of the United States.  You can actually take this guy seriously???

There’s talk that Giancarlo Stanton is going to find a way to force his way to the Dodgers since he has a the ability to veto certain trades.  There’s also some talk that he could end up with the Giants.  I could care less if that happens.  As I’ve said, the Dodgers do not need Stanton at all.  The Giants can have him, and they can enjoy paying his $300 million salary for the next decade, while they continue to put a lineup around him that can’t even hit little league pitching.  Obviously at a certain price the Dodgers would have to go get Stanton, but building from within is much more desirable for LA at this point, and probably more likely to get them where they want to go.  Not some shiny new toy in Stanton, who will give the Dodgers nothing more than offseason headlines.

Finally, The Walking Dead went down last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t seen it, so read no further if that is the case, and you plan on watching it later.  Why are kids just obsessed with following Carol?  That episode should have been called, “come with me.”  Rosita went with Michonne.  Carol went with Siddiq, and Tara went with Darryl.  Rosita just welcome herself back to the show by using a bazooka on a Savior.  Was Rick doing arts and crafts while naked in the container?  Admit it, now that Morgan is crossing over onto Fear The Walking Dead, you are pissed because you are thinking of catching up on that crappy show.  Once again, everybody like Michonne, Rosita, and Carl were making stupid decisions this episode.  Only two more episodes in 2017, which is both exciting and disappointing.  Hoping for a lot more in those two episodes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

November 20, 2017

Yesterday was Jim Mora Jr.’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Jim! You’re getting $11 million to go home and not coach the UCLA football team anymore.  When is Dan Guerrero’s birthday? Hopefully UCLA doesn’t have to wait that long to fire him.  I’m surprised Guerrero had the guts to make this move with some much money left on his contract, but it was the right decision.  It’s the right decision if UCLA can convince someone like Chip Kelly.  I say “someone” because Florida is a better option for Kelly.    As for Saturday night, Josh Rosen proven he’s the better quarterback over Sam Darnold, but Darnold played on the better team.  It just goes to show you how Mora completely wasted the talent he recruited over the last 6 years.    Meanwhile, the Trojans may have escaped with the win, but that’s about all they can feel good about.    Darnold looked about as accurate as Hellen Keller throwing darts, and the offense had about as much rhythm as Ashley Simpson.  The Trojans need coaching just about as bad as the Bruins do, but their talent sometimes hides it.

On the hardwood, the Bruins basketball team is 3-0 after a couple of wins over those powerhouse programs Central Arkansas and South Carolina State.  This is what this “basketball school” has become.  Frankly, had it not been for the side show that is Lavar Ball and those three idiots that shoplifted in China, people would be talking more about how unimpressive the Bruin basketball team looks.  Trump tweeted that he should have just left the three kids in jail in China, after Lavar didn’t acknowledge the President’s role in their release from prison.  However, if Trump really wanted to punish the three kids, he’d make them watch film of Lonzo Ball playing for the Lakers.

The Dodgers don’t need to trade for Giancarlo Stanton.  That would be like buying a Ferrari when all you need is an oil change in your Honda.  Contracts that are ten years in length never work out.  Besides, the Dodgers don’t need a power-hitter in their lineup who strikes out a lot.  They need a reliable contact hitter who can put the ball into play.  One they already have returning from injury, in Andrew Toles.  They also don’t need to waste their money on Yu Darvish.  Darvish can’t be trusted to win a big game in the postseason, so why pay big money for a guy who is a glorified middle of the rotation pitcher? The Dodgers should sign Shohei Ohtani though.  His potentially elite right-handed pitching is exactly what this team needs.  Aren’t you proud of me? I wrote a whole Dodger paragraph without criticizing Andrew Friedman.

Lonzo Ball went eight days between triple doubles, and in between everybody was trying to send him to the G-League.  Yes he’s had some ugly games, but get a grip people, this is what it looks like building around a 19-year old in the NBA.  He’s actually turning out to be a decent defender, clearly he can pass, and he’s already a good rebounder.  Shooting is the easiest part of an NBA players game to fix, if they work on it. That’s exactly what happened to a player like Jason Kidd, who turned out to be a Hall of Famer.  If there was no Lavar Ball and this wasn’t happening in a big market, you might have some more rationale perspective on this.  The same can be said for Brandon Ingram, who is much improved from last year, yet people are still finding a way to bitch about him.  This is simply rebuilding in the NBA.  It takes time.  You just don’t have the time to wait.  Do the Lakers have the time though? That remains to be seen.

Looks like the Clippers are back to being the worst team in Los Angeles.  Doc Rivers decided to call his team out after losing to Charlotte, which was the team’s 8th straight loss.  Is anyone going to call out Rivers for his inability to actually design an offense?  Everyone thought Blake Griffin was an MVP candidate after 4 games.  Since then, when the 4th quarter comes around he disappears like Amelia Earhart.  This is just another reason why Blake is a good #2 or #3 option, but not the guy you want as your #1.  Doc Rivers on the other hand is not the guy you want at all.

Disappointing loss yesterday for the Rams at Minnesota.  Was Cooper Kupp shaving points? Because he left about 10 of them on the board.    You’ve gotta give Jared Goff credit for not turning the ball over against a tough defense, but the Rams have bigger picture problems.  They lost Robert Woods, and look like they are going to lose the battle for home field advantage to the Eagles, Vikings, and Saints.  Those are all teams whose defenses are going to be a matchup problem for the Rams and their high-scoring offense.  This Rams team is much improved, but it looks like this is where the fun ends, with the schedule getting much tougher from here.  Amazingly enough, people still aren’t showing up to the Coliseum, despite the fact the Rams have been winning.  Adam Thielan is the fastest white guy I have ever seen…..

Not even the Chargers could blow it against the Bills yesterday.  Buffalo made one of the stupidest personnel decisions by benching Tyrod Taylor in favor of Nathan Peterman, who was giving out interceptions like he had a Groupon for them.  Shockingly, the Bolts are only only one game out of the AFC Wild Card spot.  Even more exciting for them is the fact they get to play the Cowboys in four days, who are sinking like the Titanic.  The Charger players said they felt disrespected by the Bills quarterback switch, which motivated them to put up 54 points.  They should feel disrespected over the fact that they don’t have any fans showing up to their games, and that their owner has no idea what he’s doing.

Elsewhere around the NFL, Roger Goodell got a good laugh last night at Jerry Jones’ Cowboys getting blown out by the Eagles.  The Chiefs’ season is disappearing faster than Andy Reid’s food at a Chinese buffet.  The Steelers dominated the Titans.  It was so cold in Pittsburgh that Le’Veon Bell’s bong water froze.  Jay Cutler threw 3 interceptions in the 1st half in Miami’s loss to Tampa.  That means everybody attending the game in Miami gets 50% off on cigarettes at 7-11.  If the Redskins lose any more players to injury, they are going to have to start asking people from Trump’s cabinet to play on Sunday.  The Raiders had more fans arrested in Mexico than points scored this weekend. Things are going so badly for the Packers that they are actually peeing themselves…..

Finally, The Walking Dead went down last night on AMC, which was episode 5 of season 8.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  Admit it, for just a second, you were feeling bad for Negan when you found out that his wife died of cancer.  Then you remembered he killed Abraham and Glenn and you hated him again.  Why don’t people put Walker guts on themselves all the time? It’s the most effective trick we’ve seen again them.  Creepy Gabriel not only lived, but he’s back after declaring he was present to take Negan’s confession.  If everybody claims they are all Negan, then why do they have to kneel before the real one?  Darryl and Rick are fighting like brothers, but I do love the reference Rick made back to season 1, when he told Darryl “the chokehold is illegal”.  The look on Gabriel’s face when that women said “thank God for you Negan” was priceless!  I’m not going to be like these whiny babies that say they aren’t liking the show, but that episode had much more potential and fell short.  It would have been nice to see a more extensive flashback of Negan pre-apocolypse and how he came into power.  Not just an explanation.  Nevertheless, this episode was better than the last.

 

Monday Morning Coffee

November 13, 2017

So Luol Deng wants a trade? That’s hilarious.  Deng really doesn’t know the Lakers have been trying to trade him for over a year? If they could find a taker for him, I’m sure Rob Pelinka would carry Deng to Minnesota, Phoenix, Philadelphia, or any other sucker franchise that might take him.  If the Lakers are so focused on moving Deng’s contract, and maybe even Clarkson or Julius Randle, why the hell doesn’t Luke Walton actually play them?  It would actually help their trade value. I get that Kyle Kuzma is pretty good, and that Lonzo Ball needs to develop, but Clarkson and Randle can actually help them win games now.  You would never be able to tell by the way we are treating them though.

I love those idiots that supported the idea that the Clippers were somehow going to be better without Chris Paul this year.  The Clips have lost five in a row, are sinking like the Titanic, and some of you think it will be all good once they get healthy.  I’ve got news for you, they have a bunch of injury prone players on their team.  They are never going to be healthy.  Even when they are, they just aren’t that good.

Do you realize how disappointing this UCLA story was last week?  The whole program goes to China, three people get detained, and none of them included Dan Guerrero or Steve Alford.  Even more disappointing is the fact that we didn’t get a Lavar Ball-Donald Trump press conference.  Nothing could possible be more entertaining.  I guess LiAngelo Ball already leads the Bruins in steals.  He probably wouldn’t have gotten that many minutes on the Bruins’ team this year anyway, and neither would the other two players who were arrested.  That’s says a lot considering UCLA struggled against Georgia Tech on Friday, looking nothing like the solid they were last season.

So that’s it for Trojan football huh? They couldn’t just wait another week to clinch the Pac-12 South and make their game against UCLA next Saturday a little bit more interesting could they?  Sam Darnold didn’t have any problems against Colorado on Saturday, and USC jumped out to an early lead, while toying with the Buffaloes on the way to another win.  Colorado just couldn’t match the talent of the Trojans, which was reflected in the number of big plays USC made on both sides of the ball.  I’d expect that to continue next week against an inconsistent UCLA team, but trouble could be ahead come the Pac-12 Championship game on Dec 2nd.

It was nice of Josh Rosen and the Bruins to show up against Arizona State.  By show up, I mean it was only the offense that showed up, but that was enough to actually beat the Sun Devils.  How do the Bruins rack up that many points and still don’t have a 100-yard rusher?  If feels like Jim Mora has to win his last two games just have a chance to keep his job, and I’m not even sure that’s enough to ensure him he stays.

Just when you start to believe in Notre Dame they go back to being the same old Irish, disappointing against top 10 opponents.  That’s exactly what happened when they got embarrassed by Miami on Saturday.  Things haven’t been this bad for Notre Dame since the movie Spotlight game out.

To the NFL where the Rams are now 7-2 after destroying the Texans.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Jared Goff is turning himself into an MVP candidate.  He’s probably not going to win it because ESPN is in bed with Carson Wetnz, as well as the fact Todd Gurley is going to split votes with him.  In any case, with Richard Sherman done for the season, the Seahawks are toast, and the Rams might as well pencil themselves in as NFC West champs.  The next three games against Minnesota, New Orleans, and Philadelphia will really tell us whether or not the Rams are going to have any real chance once they actually get to the playoffs.

i’ve gotta hand it to the Chargers, who just find new ways to lose games all the time.  This time it was at the hands of the Jaguars, and their former kicker Josh Lambo.  How many more games does this team have to lose before the league just forces them to go back to San Diego? How many more embarrassments at the StubHub Center involving opposing fans do we have to witness? Probably a lot more.

Finally, The Walking Dead was back on AMC last night with episode 4 of the season.  Spoiler alert if you have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  I was wondering all along who the next character to die would be.  It’s been way too long since somebody of significance died.  We’ve seen horrible deaths, but this time, the show may have gone too far.  They killed Shiva, who died at the hands of a pack of Walkers.  I can just see the amount of letters the show producers are going to get from PETA this week.  You haven’t bent this upset since Glenn died at the beginning of last season.  I’ve gotta say that most of the time, I don’t like these episodes that side track and focus on one character who doesn’t need one whole episode dedicated to him or her.  However, we needed to see the backstory on King Ezekiel, who lost his whole army, as well as Shiva.  I hope they do the same with Negan.  Speaking of Negan, where the hell is he? When do we find out what happened to him and Father Gabriel? Will we ever see Carl again? He might as well be dead.

 

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

November 6, 2017

Congratulations to the Houston Astros and their fans on winning the World Series.  As if Justin Verlander’s life couldn’t get any better.   As for the Dodgers, their cockiness caught up with them.  After game 6, Yasiel Puig and other Dodger players told the media that the Astros had no chance to win the series.   That cockiness extended to Dodgers’ radio host David Vassegh, who was even more cocky after game 6.   Screw Yu.  Yes, as in Yu Darvish, who couldn’t win the big games the Dodgers acquired him for.  The Astros treated Darvish like a Harvey Weinstein victim.  Carlos Correa’s girlfriend still got a ring before Clayton Kershaw.  The Dodgers also couldn’t hit with runners in scoring position when it mattered most.  LA will be in contention next year, but their chances of winning the World Series are no better than getting hot on the tables in Vegas.  That’s just baseball.  Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw won’t be great forever.  Hopefully the Dodgers don’t sabotage themselves with an overuse of analytics moving forward, which is a major reason why they lost this series.

Very quietly, the Angels made a big move by re-signing Justin Upton to a 5-year deal.  In general, giving long-term deals to outfielders over 30 hasn’t worked out well for many teams.  However,  this is a good start to the offseason for the Halos, as they need to spend lots of money to fill a lineup that has more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese.  They also need to spend because they need real quality major league players while they rebuild their crummy farm system.  If the Angels can also find a way to trade for Giancarlo Stanton, they may actually make the playoffs next year.  Of course having the Astros in their division means the Halos will be relegated to fighting for a Wild Card spot and the right to get punked early on in the postseason.

The Lakers may have won last night, but is it too soon to be concerned about Lonzo Ball?  It’s been 10 games already and he’s played well in about 2 of them.  The biggest issue is actually not his shooting, but rather his lack of aggressiveness.  I never expected him to be Ray Allen from the 3-point line, but he is capable of doing much more on the offensive end.  Screw this “let the game come to you nonsense”.  Lonzo’s best chance to contribute more offensively is with his speed and playmaking ability in transition.   The more the Lakers run and he attacks the paint, the sooner we can stop making fun of his shot and Lavar.  I hope Luke Walton plans on making this adjustment very soon, or else people will start calling Lonzo a bust.  On the bright side though, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are coming along just fine, as is the Laker defense.  It just so happens that the Lakers also have a better record than the Cavs too, which can’t hurt their chances with Lebron next summer either.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are like high school girls, finding a way to continue their drama when you think it’s gone.  We’re a couple of weeks into the season now and Doc Rivers is still doing damage on the team’s chemistry issues and culture last season.  His latest proclamation was that JJ Redick was practically begging the Clippers to return last summer, which Reddick denied.  Doc needs to stop talking about this nonsense and focus on basketball.  If the Clippers hope to add any free agents in the near future, any NBA player will start thinking twice about joining them knowing that Doc might be responsible for that negative culture.  Doc is definitely responsible for his team running the YMCA offense, which is nothing but Blake Griffin hero ball at the end of games.  We’ve seen much of that in the Clipps latest losing streak.

To college football, where the Trojans found the win column on Saturday against Arizona.   This one was actually much more unsettling than the final score, with Ronald Jones needing to do his best Bo Jackson impression to secure the win.  USC is a good team, but not the elite team everybody thought they were going to be.  They nearly collapsed, giving away a 21-point lead.   They’ll easily win the Pac 12 South, but the next real test they’ll have will be against Washington in the Conference Title Game.   If that game turns into another embarrassment against an elite team, they’ll be more pressure on Clay Helton.  Unfortunately for Sam Darnold, the disappointing play by the Trojans has raised more questions about his career potential in the NFL.   Darnold doesn’t care and reportedly just doesn’t want to be drafted by the Browns.  Can you blame him though? Wouldn’t you rather party with sorority girls then spend your weekends taking a beating in Cleveland.

Elsewhere around the college game, “The Ohio State University” just took “The Biggest Beatdown” of the season on Saturday.  The Big 10 is doing everything possible to not send a team to the College Football Playoff.  Baker Mayfield put up video game numbers, and Oklahoma outlasted Oklahoma State.   It feels like those two teams scored more points than 49ers and Browns have all season.    The Irish keep winning, which is weird for the fans.   Notre Dame fans feel like Cub fans before the World Series win last season, always waiting for disaster to happen.  To Brian Kelly’s credit, that disaster hasn’t struck yet.

I think its safe to say the Rams are a lot better at football this year.  The Rams and Seahawks both faced injury decimated teams yesterday.  The Rams dismantled the Giants, while Seattle lost a close one at home to the Redskins.  That’s where this team is easily the best in the division right now.  The Rams have also scored 263 points in 8 games this season.  They had just 224 points all of last season.    It just goes to show you that the NFL is more unpredictable than who Donald Trump is going to argue with next.  The best part is the Rams still have to play the Eagles and the Saints at home, which is potentially huge for home field advantage in the NFC playoffs.  Did I really just write that? Playoffs? The Rams are really that good, and they are getting even better.  Let’s just hope they get the support they deserve next Sunday the Coliseum.

Week 9 was filled with blowouts.  The Eagles ripped the Broncos, and replacing Brock Osweiler with Trevor Siemian is like using a bandaid to stop an oil leak.  Leonard Fournette was benched by the Jaguars for being a highly successful player, which is a direct violation of team rules.  The Jags still managed to destroy the Bengals.  DeShaun Watson with a torn ACL is probably better than Tom Savage.  So is a coat rack.  The Raiders beat the Dolphins, and used Amare Cooper on the “hands team” to recover an onside kick.  Cooper leads the NFL in drops.  The Raiders just trolled the Dolphins.  Ezekiel Elliot’s “on again” then “off again” suspension was back off, and the Cowboys beat the Chiefs.  Elliot and the NFL are more on and off than Rachel and Ross on “Friends”.  It was also a fantastic week for the Browns, who didn’t play, which means they didn’t actually lose.  Great potato sack race celebration by the Chiefs here…..

Finally, The Walking Dead was back on AMC last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching it later.  I like how Morales was around for about 15 minutes before getting killed.  It was like he got his acting job back and taken away in the same day.  He talked more in those 15 minutes than he did during the entire first season.  Can we just find out already what happened to Father Gabriel?! This is turning into that moment when we thought Glenn died after falling off the dumpster, but didn’t find out he lived for a couple of episodes.  I prefer Daryl and Morgan’s “kill now and ask questions later” strategy.  Daryl is clearly not big believer in the idea that you “don’t shoot the messenger.”  If you like spaghetti on this show, you’re going to die.  Herschel, now Eric.  After we learned that the Saviors were ordered not to kill Rick, Maggie, or the King, no way the King is going to die in the shootout we saw in the cliff hanger.  Michonne and Carl just hanging back in Alexandria like they are on vacation.  Hope the next episode moves a little faster.

 

Monday Morning Coffee

October 30, 2017

The World Series has been exciting, but never have I been more frustrated as a Dodger fan.  They shouldn’t be down 3-2 to a team with no bullpen.  Andrew Friedman is data dumping all over this series.  Dave Roberts has managed the lineup so poorly, even Doc Rivers could do a better job as Dodger Skipper right now.  I didn’t realize there was a rule you had to use every play on your roster or you lose.  They Dodgers must think this is a rule, otherwise you can’t explain the nonsense that has gone on.  Charlie Culberson has been phenomenal in the postseason, but didn’t start until game 5.  Andre Ethier is one of the best hitters on the roster, but he’s probably wondering why he’s even on the roster.  Why would you pull Rich Hill in game 2 after he was cruising through the 5th after 60 pitches? Why would you pull Alex Wood after giving up 1 hit on 84 pitches? Of course the bullpen is going to get tired.   Anybody that knows analytics knows they aren’t used to make decisions, but to help provide more info in making them.  Except if you’re Andrew Friedman.  This series was lost in game 2 after Friedman’s software upgrade.  Hard to imagine the Dodgers winning two straight, even if it’s at home, from such an evenly matched team.  It was a nice run while it lasted.

Is it going to be like this every night Lonzo Ball takes the court? The opposition motivated as ever to embarrass him, just because his dad said something stupid.  Lavar has done a lot of good things, but this is where he’s making life 10x more difficult for Lonzo, who has put together one good game out of six.  I didn’t realize that the holidays had come so early this year, because the Lakers were in such a giving mood, they gave away a 17-point lead in Friday night’s loss to Toronto.  Their defense may be getting a little better, but the 3-point shooting has been abysmal.  This is supposed to be the easy part of the Lakers’ schedule, so excuse me for not jumping for joy like some of you who are satisfied with the moral victories of close games and playing hard.  The Lakers need to win games now, and if they don’t it’s going to crush their big plans next summer.

Meanwhile, the Clippers suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday at Staples.  The Pistons locked up the Clippers, holding them to just 15 points in the 4th quarter.  Doc Rivers said the team just didn’t have the right spirit.  I think they just didn’t have the right coach.  With a 4-1 record, this team is off to a much better start than I thought, but I have serious doubts about Doc’s ability to re-invent this team without Chris Paul.  Danilo Gallinari is shooting under 30% from the floor, and Doc sure isn’t giving anybody any confidence that he can create a game plan that can effectively utilize Gallinari, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan.

You didn’t really think the Chargers were going to go into New England and beat the Patriots did you? I was surprised they didn’t take an even greater beating than they did.  The Bolts made more bad decisions in this game than I made on a Saturday night while in college.  Meanwhile, the demise of the Patriot defense was far exaggerated, as they have suddenly figured out how to shut down their opponent’s the last several weeks.  The Chargers are loaded with weapons on offense, but you would never be able to tell with how they execute.  Life isn’t going to get any easier with their next three games against the Jaguars, Bills, and Cowboys.  This has to be the worst punt return of all-time…..

Elsewhere around the NFL, cheer up Browns fans! You actually had the lead at halftime before losing to the Vikings in London.  It didn’t take very long, but the Raiders have returned to being the Raiders after losing to the Bills.  That wasn’t rain in New York.  It was the tears of Jets fans after losing to the Falcons.  Deshaun Watson has more touchdowns through seven games than Mitch Trubisky had completions against the Saints.  The 49ers lost to the Eagles, and they have now won just 3 of their last 27 games.  Those 3 games were against the Rams.  It feelsl ike the Browns and 49ers are in a “hold my beer” battle for who can be worse.

To college football where the Trojans got back in the win column on Saturday at Arizona State.  The Trojans blew the Sun Devils off the field, which has to be even more frustrating for the USC faithful.  How could the team look so dominant against ASU, yet look so awful against Notre Dame?  Actually, you might argue that was only the 2nd complete game they played all season long, with the other one against Stanford.  The whole does not equal the sum of the parts.  It’s becoming more obvious, especially as USC will probably win the South, then get obliterated in the Pac 12 Title game by Washington.

Then there’s the Bruins, who were crushed like a grape against Washington.  I haven’t seen a beat down that bad since…..the last time UCLA played on the road.  The Bruins have lost 8 in a row on the road, and they’ve lost 4 of the past 5 road games by at least 17 points or more.  Josh Rosen is banged up, but he couldn’t do much anyway against an elite team.  He also isn’t helped by the fact the Bruins have the worst run defense in the country.  There’s no way this team is going to even get to a bowl game.  Saturday was the epitome of the way the Bruins play football: dropped passes, foolish penalties, and missed tackles.  I think UCLA is ready to not only move on from the Jim Mora era, but also the Josh Rosen era as well.

The Notre Dame effect is taking over the college football.  The Irish jumped up to #5 in the AP poll after defeating NC State on Saturday.  This is also setting the stage for the Irish to be placed in the top 4 for the first release of the College Football Playoff Poll on Tuesday night.  Notre Dame is way better than I thought they would be, and despite Brian Kelly’s shenanigans, are looking like a good bet to make the playoff.  Much of that effect is the fan fare the Irish are going to get, and how well their fans travel.  Even the fools that run the NCAA are smart enough to figure this out.

I like that Drew Doughty of the LA Kings was attributing the Kings hot start to the coaching change.  Doughty told the media that the team simply enjoys coming to work everyday, and that hockey is fun again under John Stevens.  Apparently Darryl Sutter leading the Kings to two Stanley Cups didn’t really mean a whole lot to Drew.  I just hope that when the Kings start regressing to the mean and they go through some tough times later this season, there’s accountability in the locker room, which they always had with Sutter.  Only time will tell.

Finally, a wild episode of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  Morales is back?  Wait, who the hell is Morales? Yea, I had to Google him too in order to remind myself that the guy was all the way back in season 1.  The forests of Georgia suddenly feel like Jurassic Park with Shiva attacking Saviors.      How come nobody ever needs to reload when they are shooting?  I like how Morgan went from being determined to not kill anybody to killing more people than the Terminator.  I’m still not really sure how he survived getting shot though.  I appreciate the action, but the episode was a full hour of gun fighting.  Had I watched an old John Wayne western, I would have been about as entertained.  Hopefully next week brings something with a little more of a storyline.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 23, 2017

The Dodgers have finally gotten back to the World Series! The last time this happened I was in kindergarden, and Michael Jackson was still black.  No, this is not enough.  The Dodgers need to actually win the World Series and not just be happy being there.  Andrew Friedman wasn’t brought in to make it to the World Series.  He was brought in to win it.  Meanwhile, Kike Hernandez has lost his mind.  Three home runs? When did he become Reggie Jackson?  After it was 7-0 in game 5, the Cubs probably asked the umpires if they could insert Mitch Trubisky and play football instead of baseball.  The Dodgers are going to have their work cut out for them against the Astros.  Houston’s lineup has more firepower than ISIS, and their starting pitching is nearly as good as LA’s.  Corey Seager’s health is a must in this series if the Dodgers are going to win.  It’s also a must that Curtis Granderson be locked out out the clubhouse, let alone not even put on the roster.  His performance was so offensive he shouldn’t even be allowed to watch the World Series on TV.  Let’s hope the Dodgers finish this season off the right way, otherwise we might be waiting until 2046 for their next trip to the World Series.

The Lakers know they are going to sign Lebron James and Paul George right? I mean they must be damn sure it’s going to happen because they gave away D’Angelo Russell for a ham sandwich, and Russell has been balling so far in Brooklyn.  The Lakers looked great against Phoenix, but everybody looks great against the Suns.  KCP is really making $17 million this year? Where was I when the Lakers were handing out money this summer?  After three games, I’m very concerned that this is going to be a 25-win team without a 1st round pick.  That would be a serious disaster if that were to happen.  It would destroy all the positive vibes that have been around the franchise for the last few months.  Lonzo Ball can play when he wants to, but sometimes he’s a little too laid back.    He needs to learn to bring it every night and ASAP, as does Brandon Ingram, if the Lakers are going to sign some real players next summer.  They’ve show some great moments and some terrible moments through three games, but that’s not going to take this franchise where they hope to go.  In the meantime though, you can enjoy the media sticking a microphone in Lavar Ball’s face to get his thoughts every time Lonzo goes to the bathroom.

Meanwhile, the Clippers dismantled both the Lakers and the Suns in their first two games.  Are we supposed to be impressed? Nobody ever said the Clips didn’t have talent.  It’s just a matter of whether that talent can stay healthy.  Considering Milos Teodosic just went down with a foot injury, it feels like the Clipper curse is looming again, even before Halloween gets here.  Just because Blake Griffin is putting up monster numbers doesn’t mean his team is any closer to winning anything.  I also found it interesting that Chris Paul revealed to ESPN that he didn’t like the Clippers’ culture, and that they should have been doing everything they could to compete with the Warriors.  Paul is clearly referring to the fact Doc Rivers wouldn’t trade his kid for Carmelo Anthony, which is fair.  However, Chris Paul was the leader of the Clippers for six seasons.  Criticizing the culture is like telling everybody how much you suck as a leader.

I think the question has to be asked at this point: Are the Rams the best team in the NFC? Wait, did I just say that out loud?  Am I suffering from CTE?  No but really, they just might be after ripping the Cardinals 33-0 in London.   They’ve dominated everybody they were supposed to beat, and looked very solid against great teams.  Now the defense is looking like it was last year, and the offense is far more capable than the 1990’s offense that Jeff Fisher was running last year.  I think it’s safe to say that coaching in the NFL makes a difference.  Cooper Kupp is the Rams version of Wes Welker.  The Rams are for real, but now the question is will the fans in LA believe it enough to start showing up to the Coliseum on Sunday? We’ll have to wait until November 12th to find out when they play Houston.  The last nine games are going to be tougher, but there’s no reason they can’t go at least 5-4 and contend for the division title.  It would take a collapse of epic proportions to not even make a Wild Card spot.  That’s shocking considering where this team was just six months ago.

The Chargers actually found the win column for the third time in a row, and this time they won in the unfriendly confines of the StubHub Center.  The place was covered in orange, and the Bronco fans were out in full force.  I haven’t seen that much orange since last Halloween.  Somehow, the Bolts overcame it and are even back in the AFC West race with a record of 3-4.  The Chargers did luck out though in that they faced a Bronco team that was more beat up than an NFL players’ wife.  They Bolts also didn’t exactly look great on offense either.  They were so bad, I’m beginning to think they have an “offensive uncoordinated” calling the plays.  The division is still going to come down to the Raiders and Chiefs, with both of them probably getting to the playoffs, but at least the Bolts can feel good for the time being.

Elsewhere around the NFL,  Ezekiel Elliott should be charged with assault after what he and the Cowboys did to the 49ers.  Jay Culter came out of the game due to injury, and the Dolphins chances of winning instantly went up.  Cutler and Carson Palmer got injured and Colin Kaepernick will still be unemployed.  Watching the Ravens offense is like watching someone die a slow painful death.  Adrian Peterson is already making a huge impact after being traded to Arizona…….the Saints are 2-0 since the trade.  I don’t know what’s worse: Cam Newton’s play, or the clothes he wears after the game? Leonard Fournette, Devante Parker, and the entire Cleveland Browns team were the notable inactives this week.  The Steelers crushed the Bengals, and JuJu Smith Schuster crushed this “hide and seek” touchdown dance……

To College Football, where the Trojans got throttled by the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame on Saturday night in South Bend.  In the first half alone, Sam Darnold fumbled, was sacked twice, and his team trailed 28-0 by halftime.  It was like he was already playing for the Cleveland Browns.  I’m not even sure the Trojans let Tee Martin and Clancy Pendergast ride the bus to the airport, after USC was shredded on both sides of the ball.  This was bound to happen, but it goes far beyond injuries.  Darnold’s decision making needs work, the play calling is a train wreck, and the defense can’t even tackle.  The problems are big, and too big to stop without a bye week.  USC will end up in a mediocre bowl game, and the questions on Clay Helton will be coming up again.  Meanwhile, why isn’t Josh Adams a Heisman Trophy candidate yet? Perhaps ESPN should take note of this.  Brian Kelly may be off the hot seat for now, but as underrated as the Irish look, don’t underestimate Kelly’s ability to blow it against a lesser opponent in the coming weeks.

Over in Pasadena, the Bruins got back in the win column against Oregon.  However, let’s be honest. They beat a terrible Ducks team that was playing with their backup quarterback.  When I look at the rest of the Bruins’ schedule, I’m beginning to wonder if that was the last game of the season they’ll actually win.  They still have Utah, Washington, Cal, and USC.  They need to go 2-2 just to become bowl eligible.  Is this what is has come down to for Jim Mora? He gets to keep his job for just a 6-win season?  Nobody expects UCLA to be a football power house, but they should consistently be in the Top 25.  Instead, they are consistently finding new ways to embarrass themselves.  I’m not going to blame Josh Rosen at all for deciding to go to the NFL after this season.  It will take a lot more karate kicks like this for UCLA to get to a bowl game this year…..

Whats gotten into LA Kings forwards’ Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown? Do they think it’s their job to score goals or something?  Oh wait, it is actually their job to score goals.  I almost forgot because they were invisible last season.  Kopitar and Brown are hotter than the sun right now, playing like MVP candidates for the Kings, who are off to their best start in franchise history.  They are playing so well, it feels like they are just another lopsided trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets away from winning another Stanley Cup.

Finally, we’ve waited 203 days for this.  The Walking Dead is back!  Spoiler alert if you missed the season premier last night, so read no further if that is the case.  They should call this season “you miss 100% of the shots you take,” because I’ve never seen such horrible aim. I’m wondering how much time has passed  since the last season ended.  Judith looks like she’s paying taxes already.   She’s grown but Maggie isn’t even showing a baby bumb yet? When Morgan kills somebody in the first 15 minutes, you know the episode is going to be intense.  It’s comforting knowing there are still Twizzlers during the apocalypse.   I like how they left Carl at home but brought Enid to the big fight.  Carl’s hat has survived longer than most characters in the show.  I think Father Gabriel will pull a Glenn and escape both the Walkers and Negan.  Just when you start to like him he failed to grow a pair and let Gregory die.  Rick’s Group has everything planned out so it’s sure to go wrong.  That was a far more action packed episode than I thought for the season premier, but I did not really expect them to kill anybody after what they put us through in the first episode last season. Looking forward to seeing the battle continue next week!

Monday Morning Coffee

October 16, 2017

The Dodgers did what they absolutely had to do.  They won their first two home games of the NLCS.  With the next three in Chicago, the Dodgers will be fortunate just to win one, and that would be perfectly fine.  However, with Corey Seager out of the lineup for the series, the Dodgers are suddenly hitting like little leaguers.  Losing Seager means we’re going to see more of Curtis Granderson and Joc Pederson, both of whom are just terrible.  The Dodgers left so many runners in scoring position last night, it would make any fan want to throw furniture across their living room.  The pitching has held up for LA, but this series is far from over.  The Cubs have been the best team in baseball during the 2nd half of the season.   The Cubs also have some big game pitchers that may not have performed well during the regular season, but that have the ability to come up big in October.  However, with Yasiel Puig doing his best Hank Aaron impression, and Justin Turner providing the heroics, it’s hard not to like the Dodgers’ chances of getting to the World Series.  Beating Houston without Corey Seager though is another story.

The Rams not only won on the road yesterday, but their defense even made a “special celebrity guest appearance.”  This team isn’t going away.  The Rams are making us look foolish for doubting them, and suddenly, the NFC West is in more trouble than Harvey Weinstein.  Jared Goff didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but he didn’t turn the ball over, and Todd Gurley continued to be productive on the ground.  I’m still baffled at why the Rams acquired Sammy Watkins.  If the team had no plans to use him, then why give up the draft pick they did for him? I think they should consider moving him at the trade deadline to get a draft pick back, since Watkins is serving as nothing more than a human pylon right now.  The Rams next game against Arizona, in London, is going to be another tough one, but there’s no reason to think they can’t find the win column again if they play solid football like they have been.

Meanwhile, the Chargers and Raiders engaged in a riveting battle for the 9th and 10th pick in this year’s NFL draft in Oakland.  I like how the league decided they would rather both teams suffer lung damage than face the embarrassment of playing a game in San Diego.  The Chargers two wins have come against one of the worst teams in the NFL, and a Raider team that is sinking like the Titanic.  I think the Chargers are also starting to wish they could play on the road every week, because they probably have just about as many fans in that stadium as they do during their usual home games.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Packers can kiss their Super Bowl hopes goodbye after Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone.  They would probably sign Bart Starr before signing Colin Kaepernick.  The Saints and Lions game was the equivalent of a Charlie Sheen cocaine bender.  Adrian Peterson rose from the dead for Arizona and pretended like it was 2009, leading the Cardinals to a win.  The Browns only choice is contraction after losing again.  Even though the Patriots beat the Jets, Bill Belichick is debating how many players he’s going to trade to the Browns for 2084 7th round picks after nearly losing.  The Dolphins not only defeated the Falcons, but Kiko Alonso found love……

The Trojan football team “won” on Saturday against Utah, but it may actually hurt them in the polls.  That first half was sloppier than a Thursday night on fraternity row.   Another totally undisciplined performance filled with three  turnovers was salvaged by the heroics of Sam Darnold and Ronald Jones III.  If you played a drinking game where you had to take a shot for every time it was 3rd and 10 for the Trojans, you would be dead by the 3rd quarter.  Darnold needs to go to the NFL and take Tee Martin with him.  The Trojans should win the Pac 12 South, but it’s hard to have much confidence in them winning anything meaningful beyond that at this point.

I’ve gotta hand it to UCLA football.  Just when you think they can’t embarrass themselves anymore, they find a way to take it to a new level.  This time getting dominated by Arizona, giving up 457 yards on the ground.  I guess now that classes have started since UCLA is on the quarter system, not only does the performance of the student athlete suffer, but apparently so does that of the defensive coordinator. The Bruins can’t even block and tackle anymore, two of the basics that Jim Mora assured us would be elite when building the program.  Mora has had every opportunity to keep his job in a Pac 12 South that is far more average than we thought, but can’t turn the season around.  I’m not even convinced that Dan Guerrero cares, but he should get an ear full from angry alums.

Speaking of embarrassments, the US failed to qualify for the World Cup last week after their loss to Trinidad & Tobago.  There’s about 4 million Americans who are going to pretend like they are outraged and then forget about it for the next 4 years.  Those 4 million people are also probably confused at how we lost to “both” Trinidad and Tabago at the same time.  So much for building on the success of the last World Cup.  We just don’t care to invest what other countries do in soccer, and we should be ok with it.  Taylor Twellman on the other hand is going to have an aneurysm over the whole thing….

We’re just a couple of days away from the NBA season.  Spoiler alert! The Warriors are going to win the title again.  There is some hope for the Lakers though.  That’s because “Kuzmania” is taking over.  I do think Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball will help the Lakers get a lot closer to the playoffs this year, but not actually in the postseason.  If the Lakers can win 35-40 games this year with a strong showing from those three players, they will be a viable destination for next summer’s top free agents.   That’s truly the best they can hope for because the Lakers have no 1st round pick this season, and they are putting all their eggs in that free agent basket.  Luke Walton did say he was undecided on the starting lineup.  Hopefully he’s not undecided on his team playing defense because judging from the preseason, there isn’t much of it being played.

Then there’s the Clippers, who seem to be convinced they have a playoff team.  The only playoffs this team will be seeing will be in their living rooms come April.  Blake Griffin, Danilo Gallinari, and DeAndre Jordan sound like an intriguing front court duo.  They’ll only be intriguing if they can all stay healthy, and that’s doubtful for Danilo and Blake.  There’s a lot of whispers about how good of a coach Doc Rivers really is, and whether the Clippers have constructed any kind of real organizational success.  Now that CP3 is gone, we’ll find out real soon if that is the case, or if the Clippers are still gonna clip.

 

Monday Morning Coffee

October 9, 2017

You didn’t actually think that I wouldn’t complain about the Dodgers, despite taking a 2-0 lead against the D’Backs did you? Ok fine, I can’t overlook the positive.  The Dodgers are hitting like we haven’t seen them do before in the postseason.  Cody Bellinger hasn’t even done much, and the offense is still scoring more than high schoolers do on prom night.  Then there’s Yasiel Puig, who has suddenly matured and harnessed his talent into a game-changing player.  His teammates actually like him now too.  However, I still don’t trust the bullpen.  I also don’t trust Dave Roberts to use his head and actually take Clayton Kershaw out of the game after six innings.  Apparently nobody told him Kershaw has an ERA of over 25.00 in the 7th and beyond.  Imagine how much different the playoff narrative of Kershaw would be if Kershaw was actually removed after six innings? I expect the Dodgers to close out the D’Backs early next week, but the questionable decision making and untrustworthy middle relief leave me skeptical.

Yesterday it felt like Jeff Fisher was coaching the Rams again.  The offense was a turnover machine, Todd Gurley was bottled up, and the defense was on the field way too long.  What happened to Sammy Watkins? He has disappeared like the fans at the Coliseum.  Wasn’t he supposed to stretch the field? There goes another draft pick.  How did Cooper Kupp drop that pass?  That’s one he’s gotta catch, and it totally changes the narrative.  The Rams now have to go back east to play the Jags next week, which suddenly looks like a very tough game.  The Seahawks are still the class of the NFC West, and the Rams may suddenly be facing a losing skid, reminiscent of last season.  Buckle up for the bumpy ride.

Meanwhile, you know what Chick-Fil-A and the Giants have in common? They both don’t show up on Sunday.  The Chargers took advantage of that and finally got their first victory as the LA Chargers.  I feel terrible for OBJ, who was making some huge plays for the G-Men before he went down.  This is apparently what it’s going to take for the Bolts to actually find the win column.  Broken ankles from the opponents best players.  The solution for the Chargers may just be playing every game on the road because playing at home seems to be an even more hostile environment with 27,000 of the opponents’ fans.  The road game might even help next week against a struggling Raiders team, which has massively underperformed.

As for the rest of week 5 in the NFL, the Cowboys shouldn’t be kneeling for the national anthem, but instead should be kneeling when Aaron Rodgers walks by them, after his Packers beat Dallas in the final minute.  The Steeler fans are going to use their terrible towels to wipe away their tears after losing to the Jaguars.  I think VP Mike Pence realized he would have been far more offended watching the 49ers and Colts rather than the players actually kneeling, which is why he really left the game early.  I guess Cam Newton’s kryptonite is not angry female journalists because he led the Panthers over the Lions.  The CIA plans on using the Browns and Jets game film as a method of torturing terrorists.  The Eagles hammered the Cardinals, and it looks like they’ll have to start walking Torrey Smith intentionally…..

To college football where the tune of Trojan fans has changed overnight.  Prior to the Washington State loss, USC fans were purchasing tickets to the College Football Playoff game.  Now they are probably listing those tickets on StubHub, especially after an underwhelming victory over Oregon State.  The Trojans had three turnovers against the Beavers, yet they won by 28 points.  If they have three turnovers against Utah, Notre Dame, or UCLA, they will get crushed.  #3 Oklahoma lost, which seems like a golden opportunity, but USC just isn’t that good, and is likely to get exposed in the coming weeks.  Even the great Sam Darnold can only be so great when his offensive line can’t protect him, but there could be a bigger problem than than.  The question arising is whether or not coach Clay Helton is actually building anything meaningful.  We might find out in the next few weeks.

Elsewhere around the college game, Oklahoma has developed a bold new strategy.  This year they figure they can’t actually blow it in a playoff game if they don’t actually make the playoffs.  I guess that’s why they lost to Iowa State.  Notre Dame is up to 5-1 after beating UNC, but the Irish faithful are probably disappointed because Brian Kelly is getting closer to a contract extension than being fired.  As for the latest AP rankings: 1. Alabama 2. Clemson 3. A  4. Bunch 5. Of 6. Teams 7. With 8. No 9. Chance.

I’m not big on preseason games for any sport.  However, if I knew nothing about basketball (like many NBA GM’s), and began watching the Lakers first two preseason games, I’d say that Kyle Kuzma is easily the Lakers’ best player.  It’s only a matter of time before Kuzma is inserted into the starting lineup, likely in place of Julius Randle.  Luke Walton is trying to emulate Golden State’s system, which is pretty difficult to do if you don’t have shooting.  Kuzma gives the team shooting and versatility.  However, the real concern right now is the durability of Lonzo Ball, who’s ankles are about  as stable as the Knicks front office.  The Lakers need to hope Kuzma, Ball, and Brandon Ingram make major strides this year, or their plan to attract big free agents next summer will be obliterated.

Speaking of Lonzo Ball, his father Lavar was back in the news last week.  Lavar said he is going to pull LaMelo Ball out of school, and home school him for his final two years of high school.  Lavar said this is simply because he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the new head coach at Chino Hills.  I’ve been a big believer in what Lavar is doing to create a brand, but home schooling your kids in the last two years of high school is one of the most short-sighted things I’ve ever heard of.  What most people fail to realize is that going to school (and college as well) is about learning about yourself and building social skills, not just education.  I can’t say I would expect Lavar to understand this though.

UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero rewarded basketball head coach Steve Alford with a one-year extension last week.  This one isn’t going to sit well with the Bruins fans.  It was only 18 months ago that people were questioning whether or not Alford was the guy to lead the program back to the Final Four.  However, the extension for Alford and the continued support for football coach Jim Mora are more a reflection of the financial limitations at UCLA.  The Bruin athletic program simply isn’t going to pony up the big dollars for big-time coaches, even for basketball, their profile sport.  As long as Dan Guerrero is in charge, which will probably be for at least a couple of more years, I wouldn’t expect any bold “shoot for the moon” changes in the athletic program.

Finally, the NHL got their season underway last week which is always exciting.  After Saturday’s nights’ Kings win over San Jose, I can’t decide if this is a new and improved Kings team, or the same old San Jose Sharks.  In any case, it’s nice to see Anze Kopitar actually scoring some goals.  The last time that happened, we actually had a President who wasn’t crazy.  Meanwhile, the Ducks allegedly started their season on Thursday night too.  You wouldn’t be able to tell though, because it looks like Anaheim doesn’t plan on showing up until the 2nd half of the season like last year.