Monthly Archives: November 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Rosen Fumbles vs SC November 30th, 2015

It’s damn near remarkable.  After all the drama they went through this season, USC won the Pac 12 South with a blowout win over UCLA on Saturday at the Coliseum.  The Bruins may have been beaten up, but this was simply a case of a more experienced Trojan defense that got the best of an inexperienced freshman quarterback in Josh Rosen.  Rosen had moments of brilliance throughout the season, and in the game, but in the second half he had more turnovers than Betty Crocker.  Clay Helton simplified everything: run the ball, put pressure on Rosen, and win the battle at the line of scrimmage.  That’s something the last two Trojan coaches failed to do.  The Bruins once again put together a season that makes you think they are “on the verge”, but leaves their fans disappointed.  They may have had injuries, but they had every opportunity to win the South.  A coach as good as Jim Mora should have won the Pac-12 at least once by now.  Rosen is going to get better, but will the team actually win something even more than a rivalry game against the Trojans? I’ll believe it when I see it.

As for the Trojans, leave it to many of their obnoxious fans to pretend like Saturday’s win was the re-incarnation of the Reggie Bush era.  Nevertheless, the better team won, and USC stands a decent chance of knocking off Stanford this week and advancing to the Rose Bowl.  That’s as long as they execute a similar simplified game plan they did against the Bruins.  They should also now be known as the “University of Settling For Clay” since Pat Haden has now named Clay Helton full-time head coach.  Helton has shown he has the X’s and O’s, but there is much more than that as the head football coach at SC, like recruiting and developing players.  In the long-run, the Trojans could have done better elsewhere.  My guess is that Haden probably couldn’t get the big name he wanted after looking around, so this was the sensible choice, especially if it was going to pump up the kids even further for the Pac 12 title game.  So much for the so called “Trojan insiders” that pegged USC already having an agreement with a new head coach, which many would consider a big splash.

Elsewhere around college football, we witnessed a spectacular game between Notre Dame and Stanford on Saturday, but as usual for Irish fans, it ended in devastating disappointment.  How the hell do the Irish let Stanford go 60 yards in 30 seconds to win the game? That was the worst thing to happen to Notre Dame since the movie Spotlight came out.  Look, no team in college football has been hit harder with injuries than the Irish, and to go 10-2 was a freaking miracle they should be proud of.  However, the Irish were basically 2 plays away (one at Clemson and the other at Stanford) from being the #1 team in the country.  That seems very symbolic of Notre Dame football.  That makes the playoff committee’s job pretty easy.  Clemson and Alabama are in easily if they win next week, and so is Oklahoma after dominating Oklahoma State.  Michigan State should be in as well if they handle business against Iowa.  Meanwhile, Ohio State is probably trying to schedule Michigan 5 more times to fill out their 2016 non-conference schedule.

As many of us expected, yesterday Kobe announced that he will retire at the end of the season.  Kobe made the announcement by writing a letter to the Players Tribune.  He also wrote a letter to the fans.  Both nearly made me cry.  However, he says “this season is all I have left to give.”  This season? Do you even have that??? Ok really Kobe.  It’s time to retire.  Not in April……right now.  Nobody wants to watch this Kobe Bryant.  He hasn’t had a single game this season where he has shot 50% or better.  Kobe is easily my favorite player of all-time, but it’s just too painful to watch.  I get it though…..Kobe has earned the right to say goodbye, and his letter to the fans and the Players Tribune at least dignifies this final season.  I haven’t been on the “fire Byron Scott bandwagon” like most of you, but I’m baffled by some of his comments.  He basically said that Kobe has earned the right to take whatever bad shot he wants.  That’s not exactly the best message to send to his younger players he is trying mature.  He also said that under no circumstances would he bench Kobe.  However, he also claimed that his first priority is winning and not player development.  It shouldn’t be, but whichever it is, Kobe isn’t the teams best player anymore, and his play is actually hurting the team.  On the bright side, D’Angelo Russell is steadily improving.  Coming into Sunday’s game he was averaging 13.4 points over his last 5 contests, significantly raising his field goal percentage, 3 point percentage, assists, and rebounds from his season average.

As for the Clippers, they are still hovering around .500, but they have now embarked on their annual stretch where they beat up on mediocre teams and make us think they are actually an elite team again.  Last year we thought the Clippers had upgraded their bench, and they stunk.  This year, we thought once again that they upgraded their bench and they still stink.  The bench has been so bad that the Clippers actually thought Wesley Johnson was going to be a good rotation player for them.  That guy has underachieved on bad teams his entire career, which is funny because the Clippers have been a bad team for the first month of the season.  Other than yesterday against the Raptors, Paul Pierce has been old and useless, Josh Smith has been as bad as he was in Detroit, and Lance Stephenson’s play is more offensive than Donald Trump.  When will Steve Ballmer start holding Doc Rivers accountable? Not soon enough. Congratulations to Jahlil Okafor.  After his street fight last week, he becomes the first 76er to beat someone this season.  Did you know that the 76ers are named after the average number of losses they are projected to have each season? In case you missed footage of the fight here it is…..

UCLA basketball looks exactly like they did a year ago.  A team with marginal talent, mediocre coaching, and unable to hang with decent teams.  I fully expect the Bruins to collect just enough wins in Pac 12 play to barely squeak into the tournament and keep Steve Alford employed, but watching losses against Kansas and Wake Forest were just a reminder of how far this program has fallen.  Do you realize that the Bruins are ranked 282nd in points allowed in the nation?  They are also ranked 160th in opponent field goal percentage.  If the team were some type of offensive juggernaut I’d say ok fine, but there are 99 teams putting up more points in Division I.  As far as I’m concerned, the only redeeming quality for Steve Alford is his 2016 recruiting class.  I doubt he can actually do something with it anyway.

Speaking of hoops, it looks like USC is the best basketball team in Los Angeles right now.  Most Trojan fans probably didn’t even realize it, but USC is off to a solid 5-2 start, including a win over #20 Wichita State.  Freshman Bennie Boatwright can play! USC had not beaten a Top 25 team in two years.  Andy Einfield might actually know what he’s doing.  There’s no reason why SC can’t put together some halfway decent basketball teams given that they are in basketball hot bed in downtown Los Angeles.  Nobody in their right mind would claim that USC is a basketball school, but they should be able to beat teams in the Top 25 more than every couple of years.

To the NFL, where on Thanksgiving Day, the only thing worse than the Eagles play was Big Sean’s halftime performance.  The Lions were definitely thankful for the Eagles defense.  After Tony Romo re-injured his collar bone, Cowboy fans have switched from drinking liquor to chugging gasoline.  I’m shocked Brett Favre didn’t announce another comeback during the Bears win over the Packers.  Odell Beckham had another filthy catch yesterday, but you can’t be serious….the Redskins are in 1st place in the NFC East???? The AFC South is so sorry, but the irony of it is the Colts and Texans might both make the playoffs.  Johnny Manziel should not be blamed for his actions.  If I were the Browns starting quarterback I would be driven to drink as well.  Check out Tom Brady’s text inbox after  last night’s loss to the Broncos………

Brady after Broncos

Meanwhile, Miami Dolphins football can be summed up on this play….

In San Diego, Blake Bortles didn’t let a little thing like the line of scrimmage prevent him from throwing a touchdown pass….. And all this time I thought it was NBA referees that were the worst in sports…….

What a couple of amazing hockey games over the weekend in SoCal.  First the Blackhawks shocked the Ducks on Friday in Anaheim by winning 3-2 in overtime.  The Hawks trailed 2-0 with 90 seconds left and in typical Ducks fashion, they choked the lead away.  It’s only November and the Ducks are already in playoff form, coming up small in the big moment.  This team might need a trade to shake things up because the leadership and has been questionable, and the goal scoring has been few and far between.  Then on Saturday, the Kings gave the Hawks a taste of what the Ducks felt like by beating them 3-2 in overtime, after trailing 2-0 heading into the 3rd period.  That was another classic Kings vs Hawks game, and here’s to hoping the two teams meet again in the West Finals this spring. Also, if you haven’t watched 3 on 3 overtime in the NHL this season….do it.  It might be the most exciting 5 minutes in sports.

Disney just announced that ESPN has lost 7 million subscribers due to cord cutting.  No, it’s not because we have to hear Skip Bayless and Stephen A Smith scream at each other for no apparent reason.  It’s because the consumer is fed up with cable companies.  The mergers with AT&T and DirecTV, along with other potential mergers aren’t going to help.  These companies are going to have to completely overhaul their model to survive.  Live sports is the only thing preventing most people from cutting the cord, but people are getting around that and will continue to do so.

Finally, that was a very intense mid-season finale of The Walking Dead last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  All things considered, I thought we were going to lose a much more significant character than Deanna.  She did go out in a great blaze of glory screaming what was basically a war cry.  Was I the only one that wanted Tara to shoot the Wolf even if it meant Doctor Denise was going to die?  I bet if it were Carol that were holding that gun she would have taken the shot.  Carl was actually much less annoying in this episode, and was actually kind of a badass too for not ratting out Ron for nearly getting everybody killed.  His comment was pretty legendary too.  “I get it, my dad killed your dad,” said Carl. “But you need to know something: your dad was an asshole.”  Jessie’s son is a little pansy, and if he makes it out of Alexandria alive, his mother should smack him across the face for his stupidity.  Overall it was a good episode, and a solid first half of the season.  I’m looking forward to seeing where the group goes now that Alexandria is overrun, what becomes of the relationship between Carol and Morgan, and how the group might get rid of the Wolves.

Lennie James as Morgan Jones - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Monday Morning Coffee

Rosen vs Utah

November 23rd, 2015

Saturday’s UCLA vs Utah game should have been called the demoralization bowl.  Neither one of these teams can go a full series without losing a starter to injury.  Lucky for the Bruins, they survived the war of attrition by putting together a strong defensive effort, and some gutty moments from Josh Rosen.  The freshman QB didn’t exactly set the stat sheet on fire, but he showed enough maturity and poise throughout to guide UCLA to a big road win.  The guys post game comments have been pretty epic as well of late, saying that he “wussied it out” on a few throws while not standing in the pocket, and a couple of weeks before saying that Oregon State had some “B.S.” defensive tactics.  I was impressed, but now comes an equally challenging task: going to the Coliseum and beating cross-town rival USC with the Pac-12 South on the line.  This game is a coin-flip.  The Trojans may have a slight edge in talent and depth, but the Bruins are better coached and they might even have the better quarterback.  Should be a good one, and the way the Pac-12 South should be decided every year.

Speaking of those Trojans, their defense against Oregon was about as sloppy as a Thursday night on fraternity row.  Oregon QB Vernon Davis exploded for 407 yards passing and 6 TD passes, something an opposing QB has never done against USC.  I’ve said all along that the Trojans don’t even need a handful of games to realize that Clay Helton shouldn’t be their head coach of the future.  However, this was a reminder for those of you that think that Helton is the guy.  The secondary always looked completely out of position, and the team was penalized repeatedly. That’s the sign of a team that is totally unprepared, and that falls on Helton.  Cody Kessler must lead the league  in throws that are short of the sticks.  The Trojans won’t be anywhere near elite again until they get a quarterback that can actually throw the ball down the field (maybe Max Browne), and a coach that looks to do so.

Jones rush vs Oregon

Elsewhere around College Football, that Notre Dame vs Boston College game was unbelievable.  Ball handling hasn’t been that sloppy since your freshman year of college.  You know you played a bad team when you turn it over five times and still win.  I think the Irish get bumped from the top 4 for now in this week’s College Football Playoff Poll.  However, if they beat Stanford next week, they should still get in that playoff.  The bad news though is that Notre Dame is piling up more injuries, losing starting cornerback KeiVarae Russell to a broken leg, and now running back CJ Prosise to an ankle sprain.  Meanwhile, Urban Meyer is probably going to check himself into the hospital with more “health problems” now that Ohio State finally played real competition and lost to Michigan State.  Foolish play by TCU to go for 2 pts to try and win the game against Oklahoma.  You take your chances in overtime where you have a much greater chance of winning.  After Oklahoma State’s loss to Baylor, they would need a lot to happen to get into the playoff.  The debate between Notre Dame, Iowa, and Oklahoma will be an interesting one for the committee this week when it comes to who is going to occupy the #4 spot.

To the NBA, where these days, the Lakers win games about as often as Charlie Sheen uses a condom.  Still, there’s a few things you’ve gotta love.  Kobe is doing an excellent job of mentoring the Lakers young core of Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and D’Angelo Russell.  For all you folks that love to criticize Kobe for being selfish, a terrible teammate, and all that nonsense, he’s not only helping those players with their development, but also stepping aside and giving them more and more opportunities to succeed on the floor.  Despite all the minutes Bryant is playing, Kobe is making a conscious effort to move the ball, and give LA’s future stars the opportunity to play major roles in the offense.  It’s sad to see Kobe struggling just to walk to his car after the game with all his ailments, and that tells you it’s probably time for him to hang it up.  However, at least he’s finding ways to help the franchise in ways that most of you probably never thought he would do.

Meanwhile, there must have been one hell of a party on Saturday night in LA, which the LA Clipper players attended, because they got blown off the floor early against the Raptors yesterday.  Don’t look now, but the Clippers are now one game under .500, and their chemistry is about as bad as anyone acting in a movie with Katherine Heigl.  The advantage the Clippers had coming into this season was their depth, but Doc Rivers can’t decide if he wants to play 7 or 8 guys, or if he wants to play 11 or 12 in a given night.  Lance Stephenson has no idea if he’s going to play 30 minutes or not at all.  Josh Smith decided to sign with the Clippers so he could have more of a “defined role”, but he probably didn’t think that role would be limited to 15 minutes a game.  To make matters worse, the Clippers still have no idea how to overcome their psychological woes in the big moment, like when the blew that massive lead the other night against the Warriors.  There’s plenty of time to work through their issues, but the Clippers had better not get too far behind in the West or it will be trouble.

Who would you rather be right now….the Clippers or the Rockets? Houston has some major player issues with their leaders being accountable, because the firing of Kevin McHale was way too premature for a team that was in the Western Conference Finals just a few months ago.  It is pretty enjoyable though to see Dwight Howard in a shitty situation.  The Warriors are looking so good right now, Kim Kardashian might actually sleep with a white man before they lose again.  Kristaps Porzingas is making everyone look foolish for criticizing him before they knew what he was.  If the draft were re-done today, that guy might have gone #1 overall.  Even Carmelo owes him an apology.

Let’s talk about Week 11 in the NFL.  Wait until Chip Kelly gets his system in place…..the Eagles might lose 16 games then.  Tony Romo finally came back, but for a while there, it was Ryan Tannehill  who looked like the best QB for the Cowboys.  Don’t be shocked if they come all the way back and win the NFC East.  The 49ers loss to the Seahawks was inevitable.  San Francisco made history earlier in the week by basically placing Colin Kaepernick on injured reserve for sucking.  The US tortured POW’s by forcing them to watch the Titans-Jaguars game on Thursday night.  Peyton Manning probably isn’t going to get his job back.  The Broncos are just as good, if not better with Brock Osweiler, who is the future of their team.  Nice to see the Chargers retiring Ladainian Tomlinson’s jersey.  However, there aren’t a whole lot of good things happening for the Bolts other than that.  Oakland had a very “Raider-like” loss to the Lions yesterday.  It’s going to be hilarious when the Colts still win the AFC South with a sub .500 record and their backup quarterback.

In baseball, the Dodgers are a complete disaster.  They have hired Dave Roberts, a good guy, but a manager who has no experience and will be nothing more than a figurehead.  You can blame that on Andrew Friedman who had a chance to hire a quality skipper in Bud Black, but passed on him.  Then there’s the drama that is Yasiel Puig.  Former Major Leaguer Andy Van Slyke decided to torch any chance he had of getting another job by going on the radio and ripping everyone from Puig to his former player, Robinson Canoe.  Andy is the father of Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke, and claimed that the Dodgers highest paid player (who is Clayton Kershaw), was asked by the front office what they need to do to improve.  According to Andy, Kershaw responded by saying they should trade Puig.  First of all, Scott Van Slyke must be mad as hell that his dad would come out and say something like this, which completely fractures the relationship between he and Clayton Kershaw.  This also furthers the tension in the relationship between Puig, Kershaw, and the rest of his Dodger teammates.  More importantly, if Friedman has to ask Clayton Kershaw what needs to be done to improve the team, it only further re-enforces the idea that he has no idea what he’s doing.  Weren’t the Dodgers supposed to become a better and more peaceful clubhouse with Andrew Friedman at the helm? He’s been nothing but a total disaster.

Finally, a major episode of the Walking Dead went down on AMC last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  It’s official, Glenn is alive.  When the episode began, we see that he somehow slid underneath the dumpster to avoid getting bitten by all those Walkers while they feasted on Nicholas’ body.  Of all the farfetched and ridiculous things that the show has done over the years, this was least believable (Yes I realize a zombie apocalypse is probably unrealistic too people!). Nevertheless, I’m please to see that he’s still alive.  I’m definitely surprised that Enid is not a spy for the Wolves.  Speaking of the Wolves, Morgan not killing that prisoner is sure to backfire, especially now that all hell has broken loose and Walkers are about to overrun Alexandria.  Rick is going to flip his shit when he finds out that Morgan has that Wolf as a prisoner.  Meanwhile, Spencer’s dumb decision to hang off the wall ultimately leads to him being saves by Rick’s crew.  This just shows you that the Grimes crew and the Alexandrians are now beginning to accept that they are “stuck with each other” as Tara said, and that there’s even some trust building.  Darryl meshed with Aaron, Glenn is with Enid, and Rick has something going with Jessie.  The two groups are meshing.  However, we are sure to lose some next week for the Mid-Season Finale.  Stupid decision by Rick to teach Ron how to shoot.  That kid is dumb, but he definitely knows how to plot his revenge, which appears to be directed toward Carl.  Looking forward to what appears to be an action-packed Mid-Season Finale next week.


Monday Morning Coffee

Lakers vs Pistons pregame

November 16th, 2015

Before we get into sports and everything else, I can’t go any further without commenting on the events in Paris, Baghdad, and Beirut. It’s these horrific moments of senseless violence that force us to realize just how precious life is. I am also absolutely amazed at the number of people that live among us, especially community leaders, who have no conscious. It is those people, who like everyone else, are looking for respect from their peers. However, that combination has the ability to turn people into monsters. These are the people that ISIS is brainwashing. The way we live our lives, especially here in the United States, makes me think we will always be vulnerable to these types of attacks. However, it is my hope that Muslim communities will work in tandem with intelligence organizations to do a better job of rooting out those plotting the attacks.

Ok, onto sports and entertainment, which is why you actually come to this site. I don’t know about you guys, but I think this Laker season might be going about as well as it possibly could. No really, I’m not even joking. Most of you probably think the Lakers should be demoted to the WNBA to play competition as soft as they are. However, after last night, the Lakers are 2-8, and their opponents are a combined 10 games under .500. Wait until they start playing the Warriors, Clippers, Thunder, and Spurs. That means their chances of holding onto this years 1st round pick is excellent, given that they only keep it if its in the top 3. Can you imagine adding another top 3 pick to the nice young core of Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr? Better yet, those 4 kids are quietly coming along quite nicely. I realize that it’s not fast enough for most of you, but if you take a step back from jumping off the Santa Monica Pier, you might actually see the bright side here. The Lakers have a collection of assets that are slowly but surely increasing in value. As for Byron Scott, you can’t blame him for not just handing D’Angelo Russell some minutes, and letting him earn it. He will eventually, but there’s nothing wrong with making him work for it.

As for the Clippers, these guys are must-see TV, even when Chris Paul isn’t playing. No, it’s not because you have to see Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan posterizing someone. It’s just to see the look on Doc Rivers face when a call doesn’t go his way. The man has that “no way could I have knocked up bae, because I was wearing a condom that night” look on his face. I don’t even remember Chris Paul behaving this way when he was with New Orleans. It’s like Rivers has infected Paul, Griffin, and the rest of his team with this constant complainer syndrome. The irony is the Clippers went from a team that was very enjoyable to watch for a lot of people, to a team that is just downright obnoxious and very unlikable.

Speaking of hoops, stellar start to the season by the UCLA basketball team. We’ve reached the point where the Bruin basketball program is now losing games to Monmouth. Monmouth? If the Bruins had to actually play this game on the road, would they even know how to get there?  They almost lost to Cal Poly last night too! This serves all you jokers right who wanted to get rid of Ben Howland. You don’t get rid of a coach unless you can get somebody better. At least his teams played defense, and at least he recruited elite talent for years. The Bruins will be trapped in mediocrity for years while Steve Alford continues to make his kids the cornerstones of the program.

That’s ok though, UCLA is now a football school right? Oh wait…..they just blew it on Saturday against an inferior Washington State team at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins should be thanking the football gods that they still control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South.

Then again, does anybody actually think the Bruins can go into Utah and win, or even the Coliseum and beat USC? The injuries were no excuse for losing on Saturday. Apparently the Bruins think that their best chance to win is by getting penalized on every play. The game was so symbolic of the Jim Mora era. A dramatic comeback and late touchdown led by Josh Rosen, only to fall short of sealing the victory a minute later. With Mora there’s so much hope, you think you’re on the verge of being elite, but you just fall short in the big moment. Washington State wasn’t even the big moment. That’s coming up the next two weeks, and if history tells us anything, don’t expect the Bruins to come through.

Then there’s the Trojans, who nearly had a major letdown themselves on Friday in Colorado. USC has really been mailing it during the first half of the last two weeks against Colorado and Arizona, and it’s nearly cost them. Remember when Cody Kessler used to rack up those video game like numbers against those scrub teams? Gone are those days. I guess nobody has told him that it’s ok to check off his primary receiver once in a while and hit the guy that’s wide open. I guess the last thing that Sark thought about recruiting during his coaching tenure was a kicker. Somebody told him he could probably walk over to the Nine-O or Chanos and find one. There must be some high school kickers out their licking their chops for a scholarship. USC may be in 1st in the Pac-12 South with the opportunity to control their own destiny, but they’ll need to play much better next week in Oregon to keep the dream alive of making it to the conference title game.

Elsewhere around college football, Notre Dame handled business against Wake Forest, except those damn chardonnay-drinking nerds from Stanford lost, which deals a blow to ND’s College Football Playoff hopes. Michigan’s defense looked worse on Saturday than John Harbaugh’s khakis. I guess LSU thought that by losing another game it would give them some more “quality off loss” points with the playoff committee. Meanwhile, Baylor is not only losing games, but also reminding each other went to fake injury….

To the NFL, where the Denver Broncos are currently filling out Peyton Manning’s retirement papers and attempting to forge his signature. His QB rating was listed as “Tim Tebow”. As I said with Kobe, it’s just sad to see great players hang on a little too long, and then suck at the end. After losing to Arizona, the Seahawks playoff hopes are fading faster than Jimmy Graham’s skills as a tight end. The Patriots incredible run continues. When they take the field and win every Sunday, they are basically giving the entire league the middle finger. The Dallas Cowboys find more ways to lose than the Washington Generals. The Lions actually did not blow a lead and won in Green Bay? The last time that happened, the Internet wasn’t even around. Since Mike Ditka put on that Packers sweater a few weeks ago, Green Bay has looked a lot more like the Bears. The Saints made Kirk Cousins look like Dan Marino. If there’s anybody that knows how to give the Jets a loss, it’s Rex Ryan. The Vikings and Panthers are looking good. Meanwhile, the Steelers tried to kill Johnny Manziel in their blowout win over the Browns.  This has got to be the special teams play of the year by Miami.  Dolphins football everyone….

This whole NFL to LA in 2016 is already losing momentum. The owners are backpedaling faster than Michael Jackson moonwalks. They said previously that they would vote on teams potentially relocating in January. Now they are saying the vote might be delayed for a few months, with the intention of buying more time to resolve the stadium situation in their home markets. As we’ve seen the last 20 years, this is starting to smell like another case of owners using LA for leverage in their current markets.

The baseball off-season is underway, and the Angels made a bold move last week, acquiring shortstop Andrelton Simmons from the Braves. The Halos gave up their two best pitching prospects and their much older shortstop, Eric Aybar, for one of best young shortstops in baseball. Simmons is under contract for the next 5 years at a very affordable number. Say what you will about giving up young pitching, but Billy Eppler is already doing a good job of trying to build a team around Mike Scioscia style baseball, which the Halos have gotten away from the last few years. That starts with strong defense up the middle. The Halos pitching is also better than you think. They just underachieved last year. They don’t need to blow their wads on a $200 million pitcher. Eppler is definitely going to make some aggressive moves re-shaping this club, and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

Then there’s the Dodgers, who got burned by giving Brett Anderson a qualifying offer of $15 million, which he accepted. I continue to be amazed at how much Andrew “Jones” Friedman likes to spend money on mediocre talent. Anderson was nothing more than a .500 pitcher, but in Friedman’s eyes he worked out well because he actually stayed healthy for more than 100 innings. Odds are, Anderson will probably get hurt again. Then Friedman is also framing our expectations about signing Zack Greinke, by saying how risky those long-term deals can be. Friedman’s idea of building sustainable success is trapping his team in mediocrity for years to come.   Pretty soon the Dodgers are going to be in worse shape than Ronda Rousey’s face.

I’m no big UFC fan, but it’s about time that they let their moneymaker Ronda Rousey take on a real trained fighter in Holy Holm, instead of those cross-fit models they have been throwing at her for years. Rousey got cocky, she went Hollywood, and got exposed. If she had just watched Rocky III none of this would have happened. The sport needs this though because everyone is anxiously going to be awaiting the re-match. I can’t believe this entire time people were talking about how Rousey could beat up Floyd Mayweather. That’s silly because we all know that Floyd has proven he can easily beat up women.

Finally, another episode of the Walking Dead went down last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  I’ve gotta admit, I really thought for a moment in that episode that this whole Glenn drama was just a big smokescreen for the writers killing off Daryl.  It had been so long since we had an extended episode with him involved, we sort of forgot about his significance. The episode reminded us of how much of a character transformation he has undergone since the first season.  When we first met him, he was basically a thug.  Now he’s developed a deep level of compassion and humanity, despite the chaotic world he’s living in.  He showed that by helping people that five minutes earlier, threatened to kill him.  Then again, they took advantage of that compassion later on when he got his bike and his crossbow taken.  The moral of the story is….don’t trust anyone in the zombie apocalypse!  The Abraham-Sasha storyline wasn’t quite as interesting.  Abraham apparently hates life enough to play chicken with an impaled zombie.  Then before it’s over, he comes back and asks out Sasha.  I’m sure this relationship will go nowhere quickly.  Meanwhile, you can bet that Daryl will find those people that took his crossbow and get it back.  He’s Daryl, he’s gotta have it!  Overall, it was an ok episode.  I liked the Daryl part, but not so much the Sasha-Abraham part.  The Wolves are bound to attack again.  So, Glenn are you alive or what?

Daryl we missed you

Monday Morning Coffee

Carmelo Drives

November 9th, 2015

This is brutal to watch.  Never in my life did I think Kobe Bryant would look this bad as an NBA basketball player.  This is like watching Willie Mays stumble around in center field in his final years, or Muhammad Ali lose his skill in his final years of boxing.  It’s one thing to not be in championship contention, but it’s another thing for Kobe to be a shell of himself, which is exactly what he is now.  He only shoots three pointers these days, because that’s just about the only shot he can create for himself.  Watching him yesterday at Madison Square Garden was the sad beginning of a farewell tour.  This is definitely not how I want to remember one of my favorite NBA players of all-time.  Kobe needs to retire because playing for this version of the Lakers just isn’t worth it.

Meanwhile, the Clippers remind me a lot of the Sacramento Kings teams of the early 2000’s.  Those teams were very talented, and also known for being very whiny.  That Clippers are doing exactly the same thing, and it’s probably hurting them to a degree with the NBA referees that work their games.  Saturday night’s loss at home versus Houston was very symbolic of a whiny team.  Make no mistake about it, the Clippers got screwed when Blake Griffin’s layup was goaltended by Dwight Howard, which the referees completely missed.  Nobody is going to do this team any favors.  I don’t care that the Clippers didn’t have Chris Paul.  They need to suck it up and use moments like that to build an “us against the world” mentality.  Everyone knows the Clippers have great talent, but it’s the mental toughness they lack.  Saturday night was a perfect example of that mental toughness that they have yet to find.

To college football, where the Trojans got off to a horrendously sluggish start on Saturday, before taking down Arizona 38-30.  Clay Helton probably has very faint hopes of being the Trojans head coach next year, but the guy deserves a lot of credit for simplifying the playbook and just giving the ball to freshman tailback Ronald Jones II.   Where has this kid been for the first two months of the season? There’s good talent and there’s special talent.  No freshman tailback has put up those kind of numbers since Lendale White (before he was addicted to food and tequila).  Jones may have the special talent the Trojans have been missing for quite some time.  The real question is why the hell he insists on throwing that bubble screen pass all the time, which is straight out of the Sarkisian playbook?  It’s like he’s determined to give up a pick 6 by running that play, which every team in the Pac-12 seems to recognize.  The Trojan pass rush was ineffective, but their run defense was solid.  I like USC’s chances against Colorado and Oregon, but they’ll need a lot of help along the way to win the Pac-12 South.

As for the Bruins, they romped Oregon State 41-0 at Reser Stadium.  Josh Rosen probably hadn’t had that much fun since high school, throwing for 333 yards and a couple of touchdown passes in just three quarters of work.  Oregon State has now lost 16 of it’s last 18 conference games, and the only part of their games that are entertaining is when the play-by-play announcers start talking about the defensive line “dominating the Beavers with their penetration”.  The Bruins are looking good and so is Rosen, but I’m not sure sure it’s enough to overcome the injuries they’ve suffered.  Although the Bruins control their own destiny with games vs Washington, then at Utah, and at USC,  the Pac-12 south is still Utah’s to lose.  The margin for error is too small at this point.

Elsewhere around college football, the  College Football Playoff rankings are about to create a parting of the Red Sea for Notre Dame to get into the dance.  The Irish handled Pitt on Saturday, and with 3 more wins, including one against Stanford, they’ll likely get in the playoff.  Then again, we should probably expect LSU to move up in the polls after their “quality of loss” to Alabama.  I used to think that the NBA official were the worst in sports, but I’m beginning to think college football may have them instead.  What a horrible call at the end of the Michigan State-Nebraska game.  That Nebraska receiver was clearly not forced out of bounds before catching the game winning touchdown, and it will probably cost MSU a spot in the playoff.  America was really torn between rooting for Florida State and having to potentially watch Clemson in the College Football Playoff.  The finish to the Arkansas-Mississippi game was one of the most amazing I’ve ever seen, and those CBS announcers called it like it was a 1 yard rush up the middle…..

Let’s talk week 9 of NFL Football.  Tony Romo is clearly the MVP of the season, just from watching how horrible Matt Cassell and Brandon Weeden are.  NBC needs to show more shots of Jerry Jones trying not to throw things after last nights OT loss to Philly.  I don’t know who is in worse shape…the Packers or Eddie Lacy? I think Johnny Football’s passes were targeted to more fans in the crowd on Thursday night than his receivers.  Funny how Andrew Luck decided to finally kick ass when his predecessor Peyton Manning came to town.  Remember when Alfred Morris was a good running back? Is Tom Brady actually better than he’s ever been? It sure feels like it.  I thought the Raiders might have turned the corner, but then they lose to a banged up Steelers team.

Here’s quick update on our local hockey teams.  The Kings are in 1st place in the Pacific Division, but they’ve got their issues.  Most of their goals are coming from three players.  Anze Kopitar doesn’t have an assist yet, which makes me think everybody he’s playing with sucks.  Dustin Brown makes $7 million a year and hasn’t scored a goal yet.  As for the Ducks, here they come.  They’ve won 4 in a row.  They still can’t score, but they are getting great goaltending, and they are bound to put the puck in the net soon.

Finally, The Walking Dead was back on AMC last night for another episode.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  The writers really slammed the brakes on the show in this episode.  Of course we have to wait at least another episode to find out what happened to Glenn.  I love how at the beginning of the episode, Rick defies logic by presumably escaping from the RV surrounded by Walkers that we last saw him in, and somehow ran back to Alexandria before the Walkers could get him.  I’m still not really sure what the purpose of Maggie and Aaron’s field trip in the sewer was.  Did she really think she was gonna find Glenn down there? Or is this her idea of clearing her head? Deanna’s son is just obnoxious.  He seems like a good bet to die before the seasons over.  Speaking of Deanna, are we really supposed to believe that when she killed that Walker, she didn’t actually get the Walkers blood in her mouth? I guess the show doesn’t always punish characters for their stupidity.  I like how these slower episodes have to give us the teenager drama that revolves around Carl, who’s always great at putting people in danger.  The scene where Jessie killed the Walker was maybe the weakest Walker kill the show has ever had.  Her speech to the rest of the Alexandrians was also recycled and boring.  If these people don’t get how the world is now, they never will.  This slow down episode got on my nerves a little bit, and frankly, made me want more of these Alexadrians to die.  I’m looking forward to a slightly better episode next week.


Monday Morning Coffee

D'Angelo vs Sac

November 2nd, 2015

Ok, we are 3 games in and we can conclude the Lakers are going to suck.  However, are we going to do this 79 more times this year? Every night people look at the box score from a 76ers game and see Jahlil Okafor having a nice game, are they going to bitch about D’Angelo Russell being a crappy #2 pick? Look people, I’ve said I wanted Okafor just as badly as anyone, but let’s not pretend like Russell is going to be some stiff.  He’s 19 years old, and frankly, he’s already showing some signs of being effective in the last two games, but you’re not going to know for a while.  I also love those people that want Byron Scott fired because this is all somehow his fault.  It’s not going to be long before Byron realizes that wins don’t matter this season, and that player development does.  He should be judged solely on how well Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle develop this year.  Even if you hate all 3 kids, think they suck or need to be traded, this is the best and only play to move the franchise forward.

As for the Clippers, they are off to a strong 3-0 start, even though they haven’t exactly played the cream of the crop in the West.  Nevertheless, Lance Stephenson is fitting in nicely thus far, and Blake Griffin looks like an MVP candidate.  The real bomb though was dropped by Mark Cuban, who basically said what we already knew, that the Clippers are still “the Clippers”, despite all the changes from the top down.  It’s fair to say that Cuban saying that was just sour grapes since DeAndre Jordan didn’t sign with him.  However, until the Clippers actually get farther than the 2nd round of the playoffs, what Cuban said is 100% spot on.

Elsewhere around the NBA, TNT should fire the intern that accidentally scheduled the Knicks to play on national TV last week.  Who wouldn’t want to see 82 games of Thunder vs Spurs, after that epic showdown last week.  Russell Westbrook plays every game like his house is on fire.  Kevin Durant doesn’t seem to have any issues after his foot injury last year.  It’s hard to imagine that Karl Anthony-Towns won’t be anything less than an all-star.  Only Blake Griffin and Lebron James have put up the type of numbers he has at that age, in their first two NBA games.

To college football, where the Trojans appear to have gotten their act together for the time being, as they took down Cal 27-21.  Clay Helton appears to have stabilized things with his commitment to running the ball, and developing a better game plan than we ever saw from Sark.  Still, everyone needs to stay in their shoes.  The talk is growing louder among the fans that this is the man for the job.  I get it, he’s keeping the team in contention, but let’s be real….he’s not the guy you picture as the head football coach of the USC Trojans.  The luster will wear off over time.  I feel like I entered a time machine and went back two years ago to when people were banging their monkey’s for Ed Orgeron.  Funny….Orgeron still isn’t a head coach anywhere today.  I guess the Trojans saw the exact same thing that everybody else saw.  USC needs to get as far away from the Pete Carroll tree as possible to rebuild this football program the right way.  USC is always going to have talented football players.  It’s about developing them the right way, executing a solid game plan, and representing the university with class and integrity.  Don’t let a couple of wins with smoke and mirrors fool you into thinking Helton is the guy for the job.  I doubt it will fool Pat Haden, but stranger things have happened.

Over at the Rose Bowl, the Bruins nearly blew it against Colorado, but hung on to win.  I don’t even think the UCLA defense had to shower after this game, giving up 554 total yards to Colorado.  The Bruins have simply lost too much on defense to win the Pac-12 South.  Josh Rosen looks like he’s getting better and better with every snap, but this probably isn’t his year yet.  They’ll need to win their final four games to play in the conference championship game, but their final two are at Utah and at USC.  Neither one of those games should give Bruins fans a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Who let a bunch of middle schoolers dressed as referees onto the field in the Notre Dame vs Temple Game? Big play by Will Fuller at the end of the game to keep the Irish’s playoff hopes alive.  That may have been the worst officiated game I have ever seen.  Had Stanford lost, that would have been bad news for the Irish since they play them a couple of days after Thanksgiving.  Say what you will about Brian Kelley and how much he pisses you off, but it would be quite an accomplishment just to get this group of walking wounded into a BCS Bowl game.

On to Week 8 of the NFL, where the Chargers are done.  The Bolts couldn’t even beat the lowly Ravens, and have too many injuries to stay competitive the rest of the season.  The only question now is whether or not they’ll be playing in LA next year.  Meanwhile, England has informed the U.S. that if they ever send the Lions to London again, it will be considered an act of terror and they will respond accordingly.  If you played a team with Drew Brees yesterday in fantasy football, you probably lost.  I guess with Jason Pierre Paul back in the lineup for the Giants, their pass rush figures to be more “explosive”.  I wonder if Tom Brady could lead the Patriots to the AFC East title while playing blind folded?  The Steelers get Big Ben back then they lose Le’Veon Bell.  It’s clearly not their year.  We might actually have to stop making Raider jokes….they look like a halfway decent team for the first time in ages.  Colin Kaepernick is an NFL quarterback? The guy should be working at Starbucks.  Check out the bottom of the screen……

I think the Dodger front office doesn’t really want a “manager”.  They want a guy who should be sitting in a suit and tie in the stands, who will just hand the lineup cards to the umpire and meet the press before games.  Meanwhile, they’ll have a data nerd in the dugout with a laptop, directing the players electronically before every pitch, based on some super computer with a highly technical mathematical formula put together by Andy Friedman.  This is where Dodger baseball is going.  A big  market franchise run by small market thinkers.

The baseball season came to an end last night with the Royals defeating the Mets in five games in the World Series.  Kansas City was easily the best team in baseball since April.  There are also fewer things in life more satisfying than seeing sad New York sports fans.  This is worst thing to happen to New York since Carmelo Anthony showed up.

The LA Kings have caught fire.  They’ve won 7 in a row and are in 1st place in the Pacific Division in the early going.  Thank god for Tyler Toffoli! He’s the guy that should be making $7 million a year.  Not Dustin Brown, who’s contract might cripple things Kings shortly.  The same might be said for Anze Kopitar, if the Kings cave in and give him the $10 million per year that he’s asking for.  LA is better off waiting this one out until the end of the year when it will be obvious that his price tag should be much lower.

Meanwhile, The Ducks earned just their 2nd win in 11 games last night with a victory over the Predators.  Anaheim finally found some offense, but it still hasn’t come from any of their top offensive players.  It’s pretty hard for me to imagine a team as talented as the Ducks, staying in last place in the Pacific Division for very long.  Hockey is a weird game sometimes, and it’s been pretty cruel to Anaheim in the early going.  Funny thing is that they’ve gotten great goaltending from Frederik Anderson, but haven’t been able to score at all.  The hockey gods must be angry that Disneyland closed down Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and are taking it out on the Ducks.

Finally, let’s talk about The Walking Dead.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see last night’s episode.  You didn’t actually think that we’d find out what happened to Glenn in this particular episode did you? I’m not even sure we’re going to find out what happened to him in the next episode either.  This episode was great, but the only downside to it was the fact that it went 90 minutes without a conclusion to the Glenn saga.  The story about Morgan and the man that was essentially his yoda was good television.  The first three episodes of the season were at a blistering pace, so naturally, the show had to slow down, and it was done in a way that engaged the audience.  We get it now…..Morgan learned that all life is precious from Eastman, and now he’s trying to convert the Wolves the way Eastman converted him.  Unfortunately, that’s probably not gonna work on these demented individuals.  However, this humanitarian like way might actually work on Rick and Carol in the long run.

Morgan Bo