Monday Morning Coffee

December 6, 2021

The Rams finally got back in the win column yesterday. You can’t make too big of a deal out of this one, since the Jaguars are booking their offseason flights to Cancun at this point. However, it was a get well game for Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and the Rams defense. I haven’t jumped ship on this team yet, even after some of the blow out losses to elite teams. I still think if they can manage to stop the turnovers they can beat anybody, and that’s what has killed them in the games they’ve lost. Some of that might be Matt Stafford being banged up, and some of that might be Matt Stafford being Detroit Lion Matt Stafford. Hopefully it’s not the latter, but we’ll find out soon.

As for the Chargers, as sure as the sun rises, you knew they were going to blow that 24-point lead against the Bengals. However, they managed to turn the tables in the 4th quarter with 17 unanswered points to get the win. I still have no idea where the Bolts find these kickers. I mean can they really not find anybody to kick the damn ball through uprights reliably? This felt more like the Bengals literally and figuratively giving this game to the Chargers after that Joe Mixon fumble in the 4th. The Bolts are still very much in the hunt for the playoffs, and their schedule is softer than tissue paper. However, I don’t have much confidence that they will actually get there. Knowing them, they’ll beat Kansas City, but find a way to lose to the Giants, Texans, Broncos, and Raiders.

This Laker team is so aggravating to watch. Lebron James hasn’t played in more than four consecutive games this season. That tells you everything you need to know about this team. They are very dependent on him. Too dependent on him. It also tells you everything you need to know about Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. Both nice players, yet unable to carry teams by themselves (or even together) like we once thought they could. The best news for the Lakers is the fact that nobody in the west after the Warriors and Suns is doing much. Heck it feels like they could just sleep walk until March and slide their way into a top 4 seed. That really wasn’t the expectation this team had though, and would still be pretty disappointing since there were championship aspirations when the season started. Frank Vogel also feels like a guy who is demanding credit in his press conferences at this point. I don’t blame him because he knows he could get fired anytime, and that is the style of the Buss family.

So the Clippers beat the Lakers, then turn around and lose to the Kings? That’s the most Clipper thing I’ve ever heard, not to mention it’s the 2nd time in a week they lost to the Kings. I don’t know who Isaiah Hartenstein is, but how has this guy played on four teams in four years? He’s been passed around the NBA like a Kardashian, but at times the man looks like Kevin McHale. It’s limited minutes but you’ve gotta imagine over 36 minutes he can ball. The Clips should do their best to find out what that looks like because they need size right now.

The MLB Players have been locked out but not before the Dodgers lost a couple of key free agents. I said it just before Corey Seager and Max Scherzer departed and I’ll say it again: they weren’t worth the money they got. The Dodgers just aren’t that desperate and they have alternatives. They have Trea Turner as an elite replacement for Seager, and they have more young pitching coming to replace Scherzer. Also, if the Dodgers can find a way to sign Freddie Freeman, I would argue their team might actually come out of this even better than last year. The demise of the Dodgers is going to be greatly exaggerated because they had so much talent, but it didn’t actually get them a World Series title. There’s still plenty of time to improve this club, and I’m confident after the lockout that will happen.

Meanwhile, the Angels got some pitching but they needed more before the lockout. They really missed the boat on Marcus Stroman, who ended up signing with the Cubs for the equivalent of MLB welfare. The Angels beefed up a little, but so did the Astros, Mariners, and A’s. I’m not sure there will be much pitching left to sign after the lockout, so the Halos better hope they can make a trade for Luis Castillo, or else they will be on the outside of the playoffs looking in again.

USC Football wrapped up their miserable season on Saturday with a loss to Cal. I’m not sure anyone really cares though because the Lincoln Riley era is about to get underway. What they do care about though is whether Jaxton Dart will be ok, after suffering a concussion. I’m sure Dart will be fine, and he might end up being the guy for Lincoln Riley next year as well, even with all the five star recruits he is high-jacking. On the other hand, Lincoln Riley has now surpassed Kevin Durant as the most hated man in the state of Oklahoma.

Speaking of the wild coaching carousel in College Football, I might be one of the few Notre Dame alums who is disappointed with the hiring of Marcus Freeman. Brian Kelly leaving the program was short sighted on his part, but actually a tremendous opportunity for the program. So why would you let the players pick the next coach? I completely understand that Freeman is a bright young coach, who may actually end up being wildly successful. However, I wouldn’t want that unproven experiment to be at Notre Dame. Also, here’s to hoping I’m wrong about this. However, the alums of the schools biggest rivals are thanking their lucky stars that someone like Luke Fickell or Urban Meyer isn’t going to take the job. Not that any of this matters though because Alabama still owns College Football, as we learned over the weekend.

Finally, the Bachelorette is going down tonight on ABC with The Men Tell All. This is going to be the most boring MTA in the history of the franchise. There just hasn’t been enough drama. Hopefully Tayshia addresses her break up with Zac, because that will be more interesting than anything this season has to offer. This thing is already in the bag anyway. Michelle is going to pick Nayte and we all know it. The producers are clearly doing everything they can to try to stop the dam from breaking and delaying this inevitable conclusion, but it’s too obvious now. Joe’s only shot is that he’s from Minnesota, like Michelle, but I’m not buying it.


Monday Morning Coffee

November 29, 2021

I don’t know how USC pulled it off. Their coaching search looked like it was sinking faster than the Titanic, yet they managed to lure Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma. Riley is easily a top 5 coach in College Football, and has already been high-jacking five star recruits for USC before I finished writing this paragraph. I asked myself immediately why he would leave Oklahoma, but then it made sense. He can make way more money in LA, and he won’t have to deal with a more difficult conference Oklahoma will be moving to in the SEC. Riley’s first two season at Oklahoma resulted in two CFP appearances and two Heisman Trophy Winners. In other words, I don’t think the turnaround at USC is going to take that long. More importantly though, whether you love USC or hate them, the Pac-12 needs USC to be elite again, because without them the conference is completely worthless, and seen and somewhat of a joke. In a matter of hours, all that has changed and USC might actually be back in no time.

To the NFL, where the Rams are suddenly a disaster. It’s officially time to panic. This team is top heavy, and it’s finally catching up with them. The defense has regressed, we were told the offense had to be fixed, but Matthew Stafford doesn’t seem to be the answer. Whether that’s because he’s hurt or because he’s really a Detroit Lion is hard to know, but it’s a problem. The Rams need Stafford to be the elite QB they thought he was going to be. Stafford might even be making the defense worse because he can’t possess the ball. Every TD is off a big play. They also don’t have as good of a running game as they used to with Cam Akers sidelines because of injury. The Packers played like an elite team yesterday, and the Rams looked totally lost. You can have all the stars you want but 3/4ths of the game is played by role players. Right now, it looks like many of those role players for the Rams just aren’t very good. That means the stars better be about 10x better than they have been if the Rams have any hope of turning things around.

Are the Chargers good? Because every time I watch them they aren’t good, yet everyone has been trying to tell me they are really good. I believe “most talented roster in the NFL” was how many of you described it. The most talented team in the NFL shouldn’t be losing to the Broncos. The entire team is Justin Herbert at this point. If he’s lights out they can hang with anybody. If he’s not, they just aren’t very good. That doesn’t sound like the best roster in the NFL. It’s not going to get any easier next Sunday when the Bolts visit the red hot Cincinnati Bengals. It already feels like the Chiefs have wrestled the division away from everybody else anyway.

The Lakers are playing like a team that is trying to get their coach fired. They may have beaten Detroit yesterday, but they still look terrible. This is not Frank Vogel’s fault at all, but when you lose to teams like Sacramento and Oklahoma City and blow massive leads, the head coach is sure to take the blame. I was told that Russell Westbrook was here to carry the Lakers when Lebron was out. Lebron was out, and Russ probably couldn’t carry a bag of groceries right now, let alone the Lakers. Since that is the case, I’m not sure what he’s doing here. This is poor roster construction on Rob Pelinka. The team is old, not very durable, poor defensively and has almost immovable parts. To make matters worse, the schedule is only going to get tougher. I don’t see how this team is going to improve at all, and the burden is only going to increase on Lebron and AD, which will make them even more susceptible to injury. We saw that last night where Lebron seemed to re-aggravate his abdominal injury, even though he claims he’s good. Can’t say I’m very optimistic about this team at the moment.

I don’t know how the Clippers could possibly be unhappy with their start to the season, even after losing to the Warriors. They were 4th in the West heading into Sunday, and over .500 on the season. They are clearly taking advantage of the fact that teams like the Lakers, Blazers, Nuggets, and Mavericks can’t seem to get out of their own way. I have my doubts that Kawhi will play this season, but you’ve gotta hand it to Paul George, who is putting up MVP numbers. He isn’t Steph Curry or Kevin Durant, but he would certainly get some MVP votes if the season ended today.

To baseball, where we are just a couple of days away from an MLB lockout. However, the Dodgers are vying for the services of Max Scherzer and Corey Seager before then. The noise surrounding Scherzer is that he might actually be going to the Mets, which would be a shocker. It’s hard to say what Seager will do, but considering that Scott Boras is the agent for both we know how this will go. Boras is such a tough negotiator, he probably wouldn’t even give his own mother a discount if he were selling her toilet paper. I’m all for bringing these two back, and I love the fact it sounds like Andrew Friedman is being aggressive. However, I’d hate to see a 3-year or 4-year deal for a 37-year old pitcher, or a 10 year deal for a dude like Seager. As great as these guys are, they won’t be durable for that long. What’s wrong with me? 5 years later it’s like I’ve become Andrew Friedman and Andrew Friedman has become me. Plus, a lockout and a shortened season might not be the worst thing in the world for the Dodgers, who benefit pretty well from it the last time we had a short season.

As for the Angels, they are also in on Scherzer, but I’m thinking Marcus Stroman seems like a good fit for them. Arte Moreno is the kind of guy who would try to stick it to Billy Eppler, and he knows he needs pitching, so I could see him telling Perry Minasian to overpay, just to stick it to Eppler. I’m sure the Angels are doing everything they can to make a splash, and they probably will. The real question is if that splash will lead to any real substance on the field. That remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, UCLA Football took down Cal over the weekend to finish 8-4. That’s it folks 8-4. Say what you will about it not being a bad season, but I’m not paying Chip Kelly $5 million a year to go 8-4 and make it to the Alamo Bowl once every 4 years. That is mediocrity at it’s best, and not what UCLA signed up for when they brought in Kelly. Even when Kelly was asked if he wanted a contract extension by Ben Bolch, he really sounded like he could care less if he got one or not. I’ve never really felt like his heart was in it from day one. Plus you can be sure that next year will be a rebuilding year for Chip Kelly, after he loses a bunch of seniors and starters. Sadly, Kelly will probably stay another year as a lame duck coach because starting your coaching search in January is like showing up to a New Years party after midnight.

That wasn’t the most ideal week for UCLA Basketball, after losing to Gonzaga in embarrassing fashion. However, things weren’t as bad as they seemed. If you take out the first 10 minutes of the game, the Bruins played the Bulldogs pretty evenly. That’s not bad considering the offense was totally out of rhythm, and the defense was never sharp. Mick Cronin nearly predicted this would happen though, after watching his team put together some sloppy victories in the days before the matchup with Gonzaga. I think come March the Bruins could fare much better, but they will definitely need to get Cody Riley back healthy again. There was a major size advantage that Gonzaga had, which will need to be neutralized. UCLA rebounded nicely on Saturday with a blowout win vs UNLV, so things aren’t as bad as they might have seemed.

Finally, The Bachelorette is down to four contestants after last week. We’re down to Nayte, Rodney, Brendan, and Joe. I thought Michelle should have kept Clayton, but he’ll probably end up as the next Bachelor. Is Michelle from Minnesota? I had no idea…..I mean the producers only mention this every two minutes on the show. I have to be honest, this season just doesn’t have enough drama to be interesting. Michelle is a nice, no-nonsense woman, who really hasn’t done much wrong. At this point we usually hate the bachelorette and all the contestants, say we’ll never watch again, and then come back the following season. This time it’s different. There’s just not enough drama, but also not enough drama to keep it interesting. Funny how that works doesn’t it?

Monday Morning Coffee

November 22, 2021

There is much to discuss in this edition of MMC. Starting off with the Staples Center name change to arena.  Of course there is tons of sentimentality to the name “Staples Center”, which I’m sure we will continue to call the arena.  Nobody calls the Coliseum “United Airlines Field”, or called The Forum “The Great Western Forum”.  The real suckers are these companies, that are dishing out hundreds of million of dollars for brand awareness that is failing.  How many people actually identify the Staples Center with the actual retail store Staples? AEG are the real winners here for getting $700 mill for an arena that is 20 years old.  As long as this name doesn’t morph into “Krypto-nite”  and force the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings to wear neon green while serving everyone lime Gatorade, I’m good with the name change.

As for the Lakers, despite yesterday’s win against Detroit, this team is a mess, and is simply not a championship team.  I’ve never seen a team that consistently performs so poorly in the 3rd quarter.  Are they serving a team dinner at halftime in the locker room? That’s my only explanation. I can’t believe Lebron got ejected yesterday. I have to say that when DeAndre Jordan prevented Isaiah Stewart from going after Lebron, that was the best defense he played in years. This obsession with smaller lineups has exposed them on the defensive glass, and their perimeter defense has been suffering as well.  THT is developing nicely, but the fact he is being groomed as a shutdown defender for this team speaks to their lack of options.  I’m most fearful for Frank Vogel and his job, and if I were him, I’d have my LinkedIn profile updated immediately knowing the Buss family.  They have completely untradeable pieces, so their only hope is to get healthier, and somehow get better chemistry.  However, I’ve seen better chemistry between oil and water than what this team has shown me so far.

The Clippers on the other hand, can’t be too upset with how the season is going so far.  They are hovering around .500 and hanging in the playoff mix in the Western Conference.  For a team that is missing two of its best players, and had a handful of others in and out of the lineup, they can’t complain.  They better put some kind of restrictions on Paul George though with the holidays coming up.  PG said he “enjoyed himself too much” the previous holidays, resulting in some abysmal performances.  Somebody tell this dude he needs to ease back on the mashed potatoes, and stay in his shoes when Santa drops off his gifts.

To College Football, where UCLA smoked USC on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum.  See what I did there? I still called it “The Coliseum” instead of “United Airlines Field”!  Anyway, this game was so out of hand, Dorian Thompson-Robinson was out here signing autographs after throwing TD passes for the Bruins.  The Trojan alums haven’t been this embarrassed since last week.  Actually, the real story behind this game is that it’s a cautionary sign for the Bruin football program.  If they don’t get themselves a different head coach, they will look exactly like USC did a year from now.  I almost never agree with Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, but this time he’s right: Chip Kelly should not be retained.  If they do keep him, they would just be kicking the can down the road, and the program would sink into irrelevancy for at least a year.  Keep in mind that Jim Mora Jr was fired with a much better record than Kelly has, and when he was bowl eligible. That should put everything into perspective for Martin Jarmond to make this decision.

To baseball, where the Angels made a splashy move by signing Noah Syndergaard to a one-year deal last week.  I know it’s easy to tee up all kinds of jokes about the Angels signing pitchers with injuries, but Syndergaard should be healthy now, and when he’s been healthy, he’s been an ace.  This team still needs one or two more arms though, perhaps the likes of Marcus Stroman and Kevin Gausman.  What would have been really nice is if they had signed Justin Verlander, which would have hurt the Astros.  Halo fans would have had the benefit of seeing Kate Upton in the stand an 81 times next season, but that just wasn’t in the cards.  Still, a good start to the winter for the Angels.

In the NFL, the Rams were on a much needed bye week.  However, there is much to be concerned about.  They got obliterated by the 49ers, which always seems to happen, and now people are questioning their legitimacy.  Sean McVay said the last couple of games he refuses to believe that is really who they are.  I usually try to tell myself that when someone tells me I will never date Jennifer Aniston, yet we still haven’t dated.  The truth is probably somewhere in between.  The Rams are a lot better than they showed against the 49ers and the Titans.  However, they have at times been pushed around at the line of scrimmage, the defense has not forced turnovers, and Matthew Stafford has played more like Matthew McConaughey of late.  The bye can help Stafford get healthy and McVay make some adjustments, but as of now, you can’t feel as good about the Rams running through the NFC gauntlet and making it to the Super Bowl. 

That was one wild Sunday Night Football game last night at SOFI. It would have been very “Charger Like” had they lost that game after taking a 27-10 lead into the 4th quarter. Of course to nobody’s surprise, the stadium was dominated by Steelers fans and their terrible towels. That even left Chargers Coach Brandon Staley with little to say other than that the environment “was challenging”. What he really meant to say is “how can this franchise be so embarrassing and not have any of its own fans show up for a Sunday Night home game?” It certainly helped that Justin Herbert passed for over 380 yards and ran for over 90 yards, which nobody in the history football has done. Austin Ekeler killed it too, but it feels like the season is starting to slowly slip away given that the Chiefs have their mojo back, leaving the Bolts to fight it out for a wild card.

Finally, The Bachelorette continues on ABC, as Michelle continues to be courted.  Nice to see the producers actually get these guys to travel, except they had to take these dudes to Minnesota at the start of winter didn’t they? At least Joe was a geographically appropriate date for Michelle, since he’s from there as well.  Joe seems like he has more secrets than Area 51, and Michelle does seem a little naive to them.  However, it’s starting to feel like this is going to end with Michelle and Nayte or Joe.  To Michelle’s credit, she has been surprisingly good  at sending people packing when they don’t need to be there.  I don’t recall this happening anytime in recent Bachelor or Bachelorette history.  That had also made this season much more enjoyable to watch.   I’m ready for some more intense episodes to finish it off, so looking forward to what’s next.

Monday Morning Coffee

November 15, 2021

Let’s start with the team that is playing the best basketball in Los Angeles: The UCLA Bruins. UCLA took down Villanova in overtime at home on Friday, in a game that had March Madness Final Four intensity. I don’t want to hear from you casual fans that you don’t care about college ball until March Madness. Tell that to all the students, fans, and celebrities that packed Pauley Pavilion on Friday night. This UCLA deep is deep, talented, confident, and very well coached. This looks like a continuation of the level they were playing at last spring, and what’s not to love about that? The fans are also getting a little uh…..extra excited…….

On the other hand, the team that isn’t playing great basketball is the Lakers. They may have found the win column yesterday against the Spurs, but it feels like everyone is ready to trade Russell Westbrook to Mars for a can of Coke. I respect how hard the man plays, but we can now finally see why his triple doubles are negated by other aspects of his game. He’s an inefficient shooter, he’s a walking turnover, and a reckless defender. Lebron can’t get back soon enough. Then again, I’m not sure who is going to tell Lebron that it’s Austin Reaves team now. That kid has been a really nice find. So has Carmelo Anthony, who has finally become “Olympic Melo”. Right now this team isn’t close to championship level basketball, and even after seeing THT in the lineup, I’m not that optimistic they are going to get there this year.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are quietly 8-5, handling business against crummy teams. Despite yesterday’s loss to the Bulls, the Clips had won 7 straight before that, and Paul George was telling all the haters to shut up with his play. Considering that Marcus Morris and Serge Ibaka can’t even get healthy, this is another pretty impressive coaching job by Ty Lue. In fact, I don’t hear anybody making fun of Lue anymore, and saying he does nothing but draw clown faces on clipboards during timeouts. The man clearly knows what he’s doing, and it’s showing up in the results. At some point though, the Clippers need to get their stars back and productive if they want to go anywhere this season.

To the NFL, where the Chargers are continuing to find ways to lose their grip on the division. The Bolts lost to the Minnesota Vikings yesterday in typical disappointing fashion for them. This team has a top 3 QB in the league, and they dropped 7 passes. 2 of them would have been for touchdowns. Might as well put these receivers in Times Square for New Years since they are ball dropping experts. As if that’s not bad enough, they’ve got 8 guys that couldn’t even tackle and stop the run. These guys tackle like high schoolers. All of sudden, here come the Chiefs, and they look ready to rip the division away from the Chargers.

Then there’s the Rams, who have a big showdown with the 49ers tonight on Monday Night Football. The real story though is Odell Beckham Jr., who signed with the Rams last week. I feel like OBJ really just signed in LA to hang out with Lebron and drink wine. However, in terms of fit, initially it was really not necessary before Robert Woods tore his ACL. Now that that happened though, OBJ is probably much more of a need. The real question is if the guy can stay healthy though. For all the noise and the antics he’s made over the last few years, he also hasn’t been very healthy during that stretch.

In College Football, Baylor upset #8 Oklahoma, and now suddenly people are talking about Dave Aranda as the next USC Football Coach. Aranda came to Baylor and turned the program around after their rape cover up scandal, which is clearly why everyone is talking about him. If the idea is to just bring in a bunch of people who can clear the air after some scandals than Aranda is your guy. But isn’t that why USC hired Clay Helton? Just to calm things down and get out of the spotlight? Aranda is accomplished, but if the Trojans came away with him as their new head coach, I think most alums would end up burning their season tickets.

I guess we can’t forget about UCLA Football. Does anybody know if Johnny Juzang can play quarterback? Just asking for a friend. The Bruins struggled early but took down Colorado on Saturday. They are now bowl eligible, and everybody is suddenly supposed to be really excited. Chip Kelly is making boat loads of money, and after four years he finally got this program to a bowl game. It’s probably going to be the Jimmy Kimmel Bowl, or some other meaningless consolation game. It’s time……we’ve seen enough. This is as good as it gets with Kelly and UCLA, and its very mediocre. Let’s move on Martin Jarmond.

To baseball, where the off-season rumors are heating up around the Dodgers. They already started things off by signing Andrew Heaney to a one-year deal. I have no idea why, as Heaney was awful for the Angels, and basically has one good year of major league pitching. That’s it. As for Corey Seager, I still have a hard time seeing him coming back, and especially not at a price tag of $300 million. He’s saying all the right things and not ruling it out, but since his agent is Scott Boras, you can bet he won’t leave a single dollar on the table. I still like the chances of the Dodgers retaining both Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw though. With Scherzer, I just don’t want to see them give him a 3 year deal. That’s risky for a 37-year-old pitcher. For Kershaw though, I think he’s too great of a competitor to say he wants to go pitch for the Texas Rangers and sit home every October. I say he either pitches for the Dodgers next year or he retires.

The Angels are making noise too. I keep hearing them talk a big game about wanting to add starting pitching, and durable pitching at that. That sounds nice and all, but the real question is if they can outspend all the other teams with free agent money to burn. You also have to wonder how much the reputation of the organization has taken a hit with the lack spending on player development, and the conditions of their minor leaguers. They’ve certainly had some turnover in the scouting and strength and conditioning departments, but you can’t necessarily turn around that perception in a couple of months.

Meanwhile, The Bachelorette is back on ABC tomorrow night with episode 5. Chris S looks like the work-obsessed fiancé that gets dumped for the small town lumberjack in a Hallmark movie. Michelle must be the first bachelorette to realize that men wrestling doesn’t help her find a husband. Props to the producers for actually giving us a musician that we actually know this time. Martin looks like he could be one of Joe Exotics husbands. Best line of the season was from Romeo: “Chris S is a snake, that’s what the S stands for”. Nayte, Brandon, and Joe have to be considered favorites to make it to the Fantasy Suites. I’m not surprised that Will ended up going home after all. If we’ve learned anything about the producers, it’s that just because you survive some drama with one contestant, that doesn’t mean you’re going to stick around yourself. Looking forward to seeing who gets sent packing next!

Monday Morning Coffee

November 8, 2021

The Lakers got dismantled over the weekend by the Portland Trail Blazers, and dropped to an ugly 5-5. The biggest concern for them right now is the amount of injuries they are dealing with. Lebron is out for a week, they are still missing THT and Kendrick Nunn, and Anthony Davis left Saturday night’s game with a stomach illness. That makes perfect sense though. He probably got sick after seeing Russell Westbrook go 1-13 from the field. Russ is struggling big time to fit in. Even more painful is the fact the Lakers gave away two games to the Oklahoma City Thunder, like they were some 501C3 Charity. This could be a bumpy ride for a while before this team gets healthy, stays healthy, and gets their act together on the court.

Meanwhile, Paul George is keeping the Clippers afloat for the time being They’ve taken advantage of the the Thunder and the T-Wolves of late. However, teams have been taking advantage of Eric Bledsoe when he’s on the floor. Heading into Sunday, the Clippers had been outscored by 21 points per 100 possessions when Bledsoe plays. They would be better off if somehow he missed the team bus every game. If that continues to happen, the Clips better hope that Serge Ibaka coming back will help, and that Ivica Zubac keeps balling like he did against the T-Wolves.

What the hell happened to the Rams last night? They haven’t played anybody in a month. They get a wounded animal in the Titans at home, and then they get eaten alive. Their offense disappeared like American Airlines flights, and they got completely manhandled at the line of scrimmage. Yes I realize the Rams were without their left tackle, but you’ve gotta be alarmed that they got destroyed by both the Cardinals and the Titans at home. Their is still stiff competition as well from the Bucs, Packers, and Cowboys in the NFC as well. I wish I could chalk this up to just a tough Sunday night, but there is larger concern against the elites.

Meanwhile, Justin Herbert returned to being Superman for the Chargers, as they got by the Eagles 27-24 on the road. This dude really completed 32 of 36 passes, and carved up the Eagles defense for 356 yards. Good thing Dustin Hopkins made that field goal at the end. I’m sure everyone had their doubts when he missed that extra point earlier. You would think the Chargers might be able to find one guy who could reliable kick a football through the uprights? Apparently that’s not the case. Don’t count out the Chiefs yet in the AFC West either. They are only a half game behind the Bolts in the division, and the Raiders are now tripping over themselves too.

Elsewhere around week 9 of the NFL, Washington should just change their name to “The Washington Bad At Football Team”.   The Browns moved on from Odell Beckham after using him like a coat rack.  I didn’t realize that the Packers really had Kyrie Irving playing QB for them all this time.  It sure feels like that after we found out Aaron Rodgers isn’t vaccinated.  The Bengals lost to the Browns, and Joe Burrow nearly lost his ankles as well.

In College Football, USC got trounced at home by Arizona State.  There’s not much news on the coaching front, however, the game was a little alarming watching both of the Trojan QB’s.  Neither one looked all that great, and it makes you wonder if even coaching can fix either Kedon Slovis or Jaxson Dart.  Both of them played like they were hungover after a night on fraternity row.   I think if anything, there should be a big overhaul in this Trojan coaching staff, no matter who the next coach is.

Finally, The Bachelorette is back underway, and we’re three episodes into Michelle’s season.  Hopefully this one goes better than the last one, because Katie and Blake broke up about five minutes after the last season ended.  I’m sure the producers were pissed off when Will was the bigger man and decided not to fight.  Jamie definitely gives off the creepy Uncle vibes.  I’ve decided the producers always make it a point to include somebody with amazing and hilarious facial expressions.  There must be a separate audition for it, because Nayte is the guy this season.  Nice move  Will…. he didn’t bring up Peter throwing his jacket in the pool to Michelle so he didn’t ruin her night, and Peter got sent home.  If only every contestant could learn that!  Also gotta love Michelle for calling out Jamie when the rest of the guys played dumb.  Three weeks in and we’re down to Joe, Rick, LeRoy, Nayte, Casey, Chris G, Chris S, Clayton, Olu, and Romeo.   All the guys who were just jerks are gone, and for now, we still like Michelle.

Monday Morning Coffee

November 1, 2021

Things might actually be looking up for the Lakers.  It’s sort of like when you feel bad about yourself, but then there’s always that friend you can talk to that’s living a miserable life and complaining all the time so you feel way better about yourself.  That’s how it feels with the Lakers right now.  After last night’s win over Houston, they’ve won 4 of their past 5 games.  They may be against crummy teams, but that’s ok because they need to bank wins right now while they iron out their chemistry.  The same can’t be said for teams like the Nets and Bucks, who are supposed to be title contenders, but they are struggling to start the season as well.  Kevin Durant is throwing the ball into the stands in frustration, while Kyrie Irving acts like he’s solving some type of world peace by not getting vaccinated.  It’s that type of circus that actually makes the Lakers look semi-normal.  Russell Westbrook is slowly getting more comfortable, but more than anything, the Lakers just need to get healthy and stay healthy.  That will make us feel much better about things. 

Meanwhile, the Clippers are just 1-4 and they are looking for offense the way Kawhi Leonard looks for chicken wings everyday. There’s nobody on the team that is proving reliable offensively other than Paul George. They’ve been held to under 100 points in consecutive games for the first time in 41 games. At this point without Kawhi, I don’t know what is considered success for this team. Is it just staying within striking distance of a playoff spot? Or is it actually being in a playoff spot? Whichever one it is, they need to start getting some wins or else Kawhi might as well take the rest of the season off.

To the NFL, where the Rams destroyed the Texans yesterday, and moved into a 1st place tie with the Arizona Cardinals. It turns out that Sean McVay doesn’t actually hate Robert Woods after all, and is suddenly finding creative ways to use him in the offense again. The Rams must have been drinking in that fourth quarter though, because they gave up 22 unanswered points to the Texans, which was largely because of sloppy special teams play. I’m sure there were gamblers screaming at the top of their lungs when their parlays were wrecked because the Texans scored some garbage points. That’s the life of a gambler. The Rams are no doubt in the mix as one of the best in the NFC, but they’ve got stiff competition from the Bucs, Packers, and Cardinals right now. They’ll also get some stiff competition from the Titans next Sunday night at SOFI, who are a monster to deal with as well. However, reinforcements are on the way, with the Rams trading for Von Miller this morning. Von Miller, Aaron Donald, and Jalen Ramsey on the same defense? Yes please! I have no idea how the Rams still have any picks left to deal, but Les Snead is finding a way. The honeymoon part of the schedule is over, but the Rams should be up for the challenge.

As for the Chargers, they have turned back into the pumpkin we know them as. They lost at home to a very average Patriots team that simply outsmarted them. Now it suddenly feels like teams are starting to figure out Justin Herbert, and it’s costing the Bolts on third downs. Herbert and the coaching staff will need to figure out how to adjust to defenses moving forward, especially as they take away the deep threat, and are content to just give up yards on the ground. This wasn’t some late game choke job like we’ve been seeing over the years, but with the Chiefs struggles right now, the Bolts are blowing a huge opportunity to seize control of the AFC West.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert looks to pass in the fourth quarter of a 27-24 loss to the New England Patriots.

Elsewhere around the NFL in week 8, only Kirk Cousins could lose a game to Cooper Rush, as the Cowboys got by the Vikings on SNF. RIP to my fantasy team and yours if you have Derrick Henry, as well as the Titans season. AJ Green decided to retire on the last play of the game vs the Packers in the Cardinals loss on TNF. The Bengals should be demoted to the CFL after losing to the Jets. Baker Mayfield and the Browns broke Odell Beckham Jr. No wonder the Bears are losing, Justin Fields is out here wearing thong under wear.

USC took down Arizona on Saturday afternoon in a meaningless homecoming game that I’m not sure anybody actually watched. However, the story of the week is the fact Mike Tomlin’s name came up regarding the Trojan head coaching vacancy. Tomlin then scolded reporters like they were 5 years old when he got asked about it. I’m kind of hoping that LSU or USC step up and double his current salary so he has to go back to his wife and explain why he is turning down a college job, especially since he claimed “there is no blank check big enough” to get him to leave the Steelers. I don’t see Mike Tomlin leaving, but the story is pretty hilarious, and so was his reaction. I still think when it’s all said and done, USC is going to be James Franklin’s job, or Luke Fickell’s.

Finally, they still let Chip Kelly coach football? Haven’t we seen enough of this madness already? This is the best product we’ve seen from Chip Kelly at UCLA, and it’s still terrible. In a year where he has plenty of experienced players that he recruited, and where USC is down, they can’t even seize control of the Pac-12 South. They give you moments of optimism, followed by moments where they just look completely unprepared. That’s exactly how it looked over the weekend against Utah. That’s a team they should have handled, and instead they got run over by Utah’s running game. This program might as well be burning money with what they are paying Chip Kelly to lose football games for them. At this point, it looks like the best you’re going to get out of Chip Kelly is an appearance in The Jimmy Kimmel Bowl.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 25, 2021

I’m so thankful that Max Scherzer saved his arm for game 7. I’m glad he’ll be nice and rested for that. Oh wait, there will be no game 7! In all seriousness though, the Dodgers were a team that just ran out of depth and ran out of gas. The pitchers looked exhausted from trying to catch the Giants and beating them in a grueling five game series. The offense could never find it’s groove, hitting just .244 with runners in scoring position. The injuries eventually caught up with them. There were plenty of terrible decisions Andrew Friedman’s computer forced Dave Roberts to make, but ultimately, they lost because they didn’t hit when it mattered. It’s the all or nothing home run or die approach that has been a problem for this team for a while now. It’s that approach will needs a bit of re-evaluation, but I doubt you’ll see it. It’s a disappointing end to the season, but it’s better that they lost to the Braves than than to the Giants, or an Astros team they would have been outmanned against. Now comes a potentially dreadful off-season, where five key free agents need to be re-signed. I would love to see all of them come back, but I have my doubts they all will, unless a few are willing take a discount.

I’m not going to sugar coat this one: The Lakers look like garbage to start the season. They were also fortunate Lebron avoided a catastrophic injury. Even with the win last night against Memphis, their offense is totally out of sync at times and completely disjointed. Their defense is now tanking like Joe Biden’s approval rating. Yes it’s early, but they didn’t even look competitive against the Suns, and the Warriors are already lighting them up without Klay. If this team is really the championship contender they say they are, they have a ton of work to do before it happens. Russell Westbrook played better last night, but looks completely awkward at times in this offense. I don’t know who Austin Reaves is, but he needs to play more minutes. My biggest fear is really that if things continue to go south, Frank Vogel will take the blame for it, and he could get canned. That would be terrible because the Lakers really lucked out when they hired him, and ended up with a pretty damn good coach. The schedule is soft, so if they don’t bank those wins now, it’s only going to get much worse, which is a huge concern. THT, Kendrick Nunn, Trevor Ariza, and Wayne Ellington can’t get back on the floor soon enough.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are off to a slow start after losing to both the Warriors and the Grizzlies. Paul George is actually doing his part so far, so I can’t really bring the jokes at him like I usually do, but nobody else is really earning their paycheck so far. They’ll get the Blazers tonight, who haven’t exactly been tearing it up in their first two games either, with losses to the Warriors and Kings. If the Clips are going to stay afloat without Kawai, they are going to need Marcus Morris, Terrance Mann, and Luke Kennard to step it up. Mann has the potential to do some special things at times, but Morris and Kennard are being paid for who knows what at this point given their inconsistent production. Of course Ty Lue says he expected a slow start to slow everyone’s roll on expectations, but that’s tough to do when you’re trying to hang in the Western Conference.

To the NFL, where the Rams got by the Lions yesterday at SOFI Stadium. This game was nearly Jared Goff’s revenge, but the Rams pulled it off. I’m not sure whether to look at this as just a Sunday where they took the Lions lightly, or if there is more to be concerned about. The Lions did take advantage of the Rams on special teams with opportunistic, “smoke and mirrors” type plays. However, we may not know for sure until they play the 49ers in a few weeks, because right now their schedule is softer than tissue paper. Cooper Kupp is still a monster though, and making me think that he’s the best receiver in the NFL more and more every week. That had to have been Jared Goff’s worst nightmare, getting smashed by Aaron Donald and throwing an interception to Jalen Ramsey.

Elsewhere around Week 8, Derrick Henry is throwing more touchdown passes these days than New York Jets QB’s, as the Titans dismantled the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes just hasn’t been the same since that engagement photo was taken. The Chiefs are in last in the AFC West, The Bengals are in 1st in the AFC North, and the Cardinals are still undefeated. Is this a simulation? The Dolphins are now just 1-6, and massage therapists all over Miami are trembling at the thought of DeShaun Watson getting traded there. Sam Darnold must miss his days a a member of the Jets, because he’s suddenly playing like he’s their starting QB again. The Raiders suddenly look a lot better without Jon Gruden coaching them, Tom Brady is still putting up video game numbers, and the Colts suddenly remember how to win football games again.

That was a predictable outcome with USC getting blown out by Notre Dame in South Bend on Sunday. If only Brian Kelly would stop playing musical quarterbacks, the Irish might actually get to that elite level. As for USC, I feel like every week we’re just watching the same undisciplined Trojan team take the field, and look completely unstructured. It makes everyone ask themselves who they want as the next head coach, and James Franklin seems to be the favorite to win the job. However, after watching Penn State’s offense over the weekend struggle with lowly Illinois, I’m not sure how fired up people are going to be about bringing that offense to USC.

Meanwhile, UCLA blew a great opportunity to give themselves credibility with a win against Oregon. It was a close game, but Chip Kelly could have validated himself and his success this season with a win. That wasn’t the case though, as Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the Bruin offense just couldn’t make enough big plays when it mattered. On the bright side though, UCLA still has a chance to meet Oregon again in the conference title game, which could actually give them a shot at the Rose Bowl. They’ll need ASU to lose a game or two, but if the Bruins show up every week, which is a big if and all, they could have a nice finish to the season.

Finally, I was told that the LA Kings were going to be much improved this year. Their 1-3-1 record so far suggests that I was lied to. Now they might be without their star defenseman Drew Doughty for a period of time. On one hand I’m happy to see that they are finally putting some of their kids in the lineup like Arthur Kaliyev, Rasmus Kupari, and Tobias Bjornfot. However, it’s obvious now this is going to take time to see which prospects can play right now and which can’t. Through five games, they are already trending toward the bottom third of the league in goals allowed. They also seem to be allergic to hitting people these days. It’s like we’re watching the 1990’s LA Kings all over again. Right now this still feels like a painful rebuild from hell, but here’s to hoping it’s just early.

Kings' Drew Doughty injured on illegal knee-to-knee hit by Stars' Jani Hakanpaa. Hakanpaa was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for the hit, which came after Doughty entered the Dallas zone near the boards and passed the puck inside.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 18, 2021

The Dodgers are down 0-2 in the NLCS against the Braves, and you can thank that to all the over-managing Andrew Friedman is doing. I feel terrible for Dave Roberts, since all these idiots out there think he is the one making these ridiculous decisions. Why did the computer put Julio Urias out there and why does the computer think it has to use every single damn player on the roster in these games? The Braves are a good team, but nobody has beaten the Dodgers like they have beaten themselves in these first two games. The offense has been horribly inconsistent, and they’ve had numerous opportunities to put these games away, yet they haven’t. They are just 1-15 in the series with runners in scoring position. I sure hope the Boys in Blue plan on sweeping these middle three games of the series at home and not get cute, because this Braves team isn’t going to let the Dodgers come back on them again if they go up 3-1 this year.

Before we jump to the NFL, let’s look back at their series against the Giants. Honestly, do you really think any Dodger fan cares about the fact people are focusing on a blown check swing call that was the final play of the series? Before you become prisoner of the moment remember: THE DODGERS WERE CHEATED OUT OF A WORLD SERIES TITLE BY THE ASTROS. Who cares about a check swing? It’s a shame people are talking about that instead of how great of a series it was. But if you’re still stuck on the check swing, if you were paying attention, the entire series had poor calls around check swings and poor calls all around. The Dodgers are also doing this without Max Muncy, Clayton Kershaw, and Dustin May, so I have no sympathy for the Giants, who got every break in the book to get to this point in the season. They had a great season, but the Dodgers made just a couple of more plays to get by them. As for the rivalry, it just felt so personal. Bay Area folks thinks LA is soft. LA folks think the Bay Area should shut up and keep living with their 12 roommates and collecting their $800K salaries from Google while living paycheck to paycheck.

To the NFL where the Rams dismantled the New York Giants yesterday in the Big Apple. Cooper Kupp looks like the best receiver in the NFL, and Matthew Stafford continues to look solid in Sean McVay’s system. However, McVay thumbed his nose at the win, citing that the offense started too slow. That may be true, but it’s an east coast game at 10:00 am PST, which is when most of these guys would be just coming out of their pajamas if they were at home. It was really nice to see the defense return to form though, because the last few weeks the Rams defense has been pretty average. The good news is the schedule is soft for a few weeks so they can keep banking wins while fine tuning the offense. The bad news is that the Arizona Cardinals are a house of fire and won’t stop kicking the crap out of teams. There’s time to get it together before they meet again. In the meantime, Matt Stafford is out here throwing no-look passes like he’s Magic Johnson.

As for the Chargers, they got smoked by the Ravens in Baltimore. I knew the Bolts might have a hard time stopping the run, but Lamar Jackson and the Ravens run game made them look like high school tacklers. The Charger receivers were also dropping balls like it was New Years Eve. It wasn’t their night and makes you second guess if they really are among the cream of the crop in the AFC. Nevertheless, the rest of their schedule lights up from here, with a game against New England coming up. What was extra weird about this one was seeing Justin Herbert struggle. I’m not even sure that’s ever happened in his NFL career, but it’s also tough to put up numbers when the other team dominates you on time of possession all day. For now, let’s just chalk this one up to a tough day, while there are likely much better days ahead for this squad.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 6, they found Jon Gruden on emails talking like he was playing Call of Duty against a teenager, so the Raiders fired him and then they went out and beat the Broncos. The Chiefs beat the Washington Football Team, and leaked emails showed that Andy Reid has 10,000 Grubhub receipts from the last decade. The Jaguars got by the Dolphins in London, and not only do we send crappy teams overseas, but we also send crappy referees. They might as well give Aaron Rodgers the keys to the city of Chicago, because he still owns the Bears as he shouted in the Packers win over the Bears. The Bengals beat the Lions, and Detroit is wondering if they can return Jared Goff to the Rams like a Macy’s department store. The Colts beat up the Texans, and Houston is probably wondering why TY Hilton finally played like he was 10 years younger against only them. The Cowboys outlasted the Patriots, and Jerry Jones celebrated by basically making out with his son. As for Thursday Night Football, the Bucs had more trouble with jersey swaps than playing against the Eagles.

To College Football where USC had a bye, but UCLA picked up another win, this time on the road against Washington. They are now 5-2 and 3-1 in the PAC-12. For a second there it felt like the Bruins were doing everything they could to give that game away and let the Huskies back in it. Thank God Dorian Thompson-Robinson decided to show up in the final quarter to help put the game away. I really have no idea what we will get on a game-to-game basis with DTR and Chip Kelly. Now here comes #9 Oregon. If Chip Kelly really wants to make something out of this season, he’s gotta win that game, and he needs DTR to come up big. I’m skeptical they can do it, but if there’s any hope left to winning the Pac-12 South and going to the Rose Bowl, this is where it has to happen. Plus, there has to some extra motivation for Chip against Oregon right? Right? Maybe that’s just wishful thinking at this point.

Finally, the NBA season gets underway on Tuesday, and the Lakers will get things going by hosting the Warriors. However, I’m not so sure they will really get things going because they have looked like crap in the early going. They don’t sound concerned about going 0-6 in the pre-season, but I’m even more concerned about it when I listen to the players talk. They all sound like they realize it’s going to take time to sort out chemistry and get on the same page. I get that, but the Lakers also had a bunch of new players during the 2019-2020 season, and it didn’t top them from coming out hot and eventually winning a Championship. These guys sound more like they are ready for an afternoon nap rather than an NBA season. There’s also the mounting injuries that are occurring to every good wing the Lakers have. They might want to consider bringing in Avery Bradley for the time being, who was waived by the Warriors. As part of the deal though, Bradley should have to stay in a 3-star Orlando hotel for 3 months since he bailed on the Lakers when they were in the bubble.

Finally, the Clippers are also gearing up for the season as well. They’ll open the season on the road against the Warriors on Thursday. It’s going to be up to Paul George, Marcus Morris, and Terrance Mann to carry the load with Kawhi out for a while. I’m sure the Clippers are feverishly trying to unload a can of coke and a bag of Dorritos for John Wall, but I don’t think the Rockets are into the idea of taking back Luke Kennard. Wall would definitely make the Clippers interesting, but for now, it doesn’t look like that’s happening. In any case, this team is still good enough to stay afloat in the West.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 11, 2021

The Dodger offense gives us more ups and downs than riding a bunch of roller coasters and Six Flags Magic Mountain. They responded on Saturday night with a Championship level performance, blowing out the Giants 9-2, and tying the NLDS Series 1-1. This series is an absolute coin flip. Max Scherzer going in game 3 against Alex Wood feels like a huge advantage, but we said the same thing a few weeks ago when Walker Buehler was on the mound, and we thought the Dodgers were gonna take the division. It would really help if Cody Bellinger turned into at least half the player he was two years ago. He finally showed flashes of it on Saturday, but the Boys in Blue will need more from him if they expect to win this series. Prior to that, I don’t know who was worse: Bellinger or Joe West? This is a classic series that may very well go five games, and whoever wins will probably win the World Series. Buckle up Dodger fans!

To the NBA, where the Lakers are just a week away from starting the season. It’s good to see Anthony Davis healthy for now, but Russell Westbrook looks like he hasn’t touched a basketball in months. Trevor Ariza probably won’t either now that he’s out for the next 8 weeks with a foot injury. I don’t love to put a lot of stock in preseason results, but it sure would be nice if the Lakers found the win column a little more often. They sure don’t seem concerned, but maybe it’s just the fact I am still traumatized by the win-less pre-season back in 2012, when the Kobe-Nash-Gasol-Dwight Howard team didn’t live up to expectations. Speaking of Pau, he deserves a big time congratulations on a fantastic career after he announced his retirement. This guy is one of the greatest European players in NBA history, and also among the greatest big men in Laker history. He resurrected the Lakers in the 2nd half of the Kobe era, and made watching the team fun again.

To the NFL, where the Rams rebounded nicely against the Seahawks on Thursday night. They also took Russell Wilson’s finger in the process, like we were watching “The Blair Witch Project”. I’d really like to see the Rams involve Robert Woods more, as they did on Thursday night. He’s another huge weapon, but Matt Stafford ignores him sometimes like he’s some crazy ex-girlfriend. The schedule is looking great for the Rams though for the next 4 weeks. They’ve got an amazing opportunity to seize the division, so they should take every advantage of it.

Only the Browns could lose a game in which they scored 40 points and had 500+ yards, and 0 turnovers. The Chargers were the beneficiaries, improving to 4-1 on the season. Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler look like they are playing in the arena league right now with the stats the are putting up, and the Bolts are looking pretty good. The only game the Chargers have lost was to a Cowboys team that is pretty good. The Bolts look like a playoff team right now, but I’m not counting out Kansas City just yet. The Chiefs have too much talent to think they aren’t going to get their act together at some point.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 5, England has said that if we ever send the Jets and Falcons to play there again, they will consider it an act of terror and declare war against the United States. Mason Crosby was kicking like he was drunk, but he came through in OT to help the Packers beat the Bengals. The Chiefs lost to the Bills, and you know that always means Patrick Mahomes fiancé is complaining about the refs. The Bears beat up on the Raiders, then the Raider fans beat up on each other. The Jaguars lost to the Titans, and Urban Meyer’s wife is about to enter the transfer portal.

To the College ranks where the Trojans got embarrassed by Utah on Saturday at home. USC and penalties. Name a more iconic duo…..I’ll wait. This team is a disaster and it’s probably a good thing because it’s exposing everything they need a quality coach to fix. Also, you have to wonder about Urban Meyer, and if he’s doing everything in his power to try and get out of the job in Jacksonville. Even if that’s true though, you have to wonder even more if the administration would hire him with all the controversy he brings to the table. This is one I’m keeping an eye on.

I’m also keeping an eye on the ups and downs of the UCLA Bruins. UCLA went on the road and smoked Arizona, and I still have no idea who this team is. They stink one week, and then they can look elite in another. I’m not so sure that’s acceptable because this is about as good as it’s going to get for Chip Kelly, with so many experienced kids at his disposal. I still think his biggest problem though is at quarterback, where Dorian Thompson-Robinson is the symbol of these week-to-week ups and downs. That mediocre development is largely on Kelly though. DTR was not great over the weekend, but it didn’t matter because the Bruins ran the hell out of the ball. We’ll see which Bruins team shows up next week at Washington.

Finally, nice episode of The Walking Dead last night on AMC. Spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t seen it and want to watch it later. Pope’s death definitely took me by surprise. Even more surprising was seeing Leah do it, and then seeing her turn on Daryl. Maybe it was the fact that Daryl sliced up one of her brothers like some sashimi that turned her. I bet most of you also missed the fact that one of the Reaper’s named “Deavor”, was on both “The Bold and The Beautiful” and “All My Children.” We’re a third of the way through the final season, and it’s actually been pretty good. I’m looking forward to seeing this show come back in February. It might not be with all the characters we wanted, but they’ve done a decent job re-inventing the show.

TWD 1108 Pope death

Monday Morning Coffee

October 4, 2021

I don’t even know where to begin in this disappointing weekend. Let’s start with the Dodgers. I’m completely sick over Clayton Kershaw’s injury, and the fact he might be done for the season, let alone maybe done as a Dodger. As for the division, the Dodgers had their chances to overtake the Giants. They blew it in multiple head-to-head games that could have made up the one game difference. Since acquiring Max Scherzer and Trea Turner though, the Dodgers have gone 43-13, yet they only gained one game on the Giants. Only six teams have had a stretch like that over the last decade. That’s how good the Giants have been this season, and also how good the Dodgers have been despite all the injuries. The Cardinals have been so hot, I’m nervous as hell for Wednesdays game. Even if the Dodgers are lucky enough to survive, I can’t say I feel great about a 5-game series against the Giants without home field advantage. Not to mention, they probably will be without Max Muncy for all that as well. Dodger fans can’t possibly tell you that they are confident going into this week. If they are, they are lying like a politician.

Before I get to football, I’ve gotta mention the Angels. Arte Moreno has been put on notice by Joe Maddon and Shohei Ohtani. First Maddon said he needs reinforcements, and then Ohtani suggested he would go elsewhere when he’s a free agent unless the team improves. Given that the team’s minor league operations have not significantly improved since the reports have come out criticizing Moreno, I can’t say I’m all that confident he’s going to respond to the criticism by improving the team. There might be plenty of pitching available this off-season, but I don’t see the Halos outbidding their competitors for it. I’m not sure how embarrassed Arte has to be to take action, but nothing has seem to make him change his behavior so far. I have no reason to believe yet that this will be any different.

To the NFL, where the Rams just got dismantled by the Cardinals yesterday at Sofi Stadium. I think we better slam the brakes on all that talk of the Rams being the best team in football, because they aren’t even the best team in their division anymore. Matthew Stafford looked completely average, Sean McVay was out-coached, and the defense got completely dominated by Kyler Murray. I’m not sure what to make of the Rams yet, but we don’t have much time to think about it because they play Seattle on Thursday night on the road. Hopefully Stafford and the Rams can turn it around quickly, or else they’ll have an uphill battle in the NFC West very quickly.

The Chargers and Raiders are going at it tonight at Sofi Stadium. I have the privilege of being able to attend the game tonight, but I’m sure we’re all thinking the same thing. How many Raider fans are going to be in attendance compared to the Charger fans? We already know more Raider fans are in LA, than any other place, so we can only assume tonight is going to be ridiculous with Raider Nation. Are there actually any Charger fans in LA? I doubt it, but I’m sure all 5 of them will be in attendance tonight.

Elsewhere around week 4 of the NFL, the Jets have actually won a football game. Please find a bomb shelter immediately. This is not a drill. The world is about to end. Tom Brady didn’t cook the Patriots like I thought he would, but he still played well enough to beat his former team. The real story though was Bill Belichick actually using a pencil as a toothpick on the sideline. The Colts destroyed the Dolphins, while Jacoby Brissett was busy destroying IPads on the sidelines. Even the Bears couldn’t even lose to the Lions, as pathetic as both teams are. Patrick Mahomes was playing PlayStation out there with 5 TD’s in the Chiefs win over the Eagles. And the Seahawks let Russ Cook and and that’s exactly what he did to the 49ers in Seattle’s win over San Francisco.

So USC obliterated Colorado over the weekend, but that’s really not the story. It’s the latest buzz around the coaching search. Luke Fickell’s name has been hot, but now rumors are he won’t want to move to the west coast. If USC can find a way to land him, or James Franklin, they should be ecstatic. However, neither seem like a slam dunk to make the move west, especially given the success they are having with their current programs. Cincinnati may very well end up in the CFB Playoff this year. Penn State has built themselves a hell of a program. Living in LA may be not as glamorous as it used to. We’ll find out soon enough. On the field, let’s be honest…..none of this really matters. The team will only go so far without a real caoch.

Finally, what the hell happened to UCLA on Saturday against ASU? There’s a level of consistency that this team just hasn’t been able to achieve under Chip Kelly. They were consistent for about 2 weeks. Then they looked like the same Bruins we’ve seen for the last few years under Kelly. This time the defense let them down. They were lifeless in the 2nd half, and that tells me Kelly is just not making adjustments. So much for thinking this team might be one of the better ones in the Pac-12.