Monthly Archives: September 2016

Monday Morning Coffee


September 26th, 2016

I have to start with the Dodgers.  The Boys in Blue clinched the NL West yesterday on a walk-off home run from Charlie Culbertson.  That’s a fantastic way to not only clinch their fourth straight division title, but more importantly, a terrific way to send Vin Scully off into retirement.   Scully  called his final Dodger game at home prior to calling it quits.  I’ve been as critical as anyone of the Dodgers this entire season, but even with the Giants struggles, it’s nice to see them getting big contributions from some of their younger players in order to win games.  That’s been the story all season long for LA, and I decided this was one time I wasn’t going to piss and moan about the Dodgers front office. I only wish Scully had decided to call some of the Dodger playoff games on radio, but it’s understandable why he would want to say goodbye now to bring some official closure to his career.  Sometimes you don’t really know how good things are until they are gone.  We’ve been spoiled with Scully, Chick Hearn, and Bob Miller, as hall of fame voices for our Southern California teams over the years.  The end of the road is here for Scully, as well as Miller,  but it’s been an honor to listen to them and yesterday was another reminder of that.  As for the Dodgers, they might even be able to catch the Nationals for home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs before the season is over.  Hopefully LA’s injury prone pitchers who are auditioning for playoff roles will be able to help make that happen in the next week.

Jumping over to the NFL, the Rams actually scored a touchdown!  No really, they did.  The offense was halfway respectable, and they found a way to win a game by scoring 37 points against Tampa Bay.  I still have no idea how a group of receivers and a quarterback that are so pedestrian managed to do it, but it happened.  LA is now 2-1 on the season, which seemed impossible after the first game against San Francisco.  It had to be impossible for the Rams, USC, and UCLA to lose in the final minute in the same weekend.  We got close, but the Rams made sure that did not become a reality with yesterday’s win.  This is a team that is clearly going to rely on their defense to win games, while they just need to scrape together just enough offense.  I don’t expect that it will be easy to score another 37 points again anytime soon, but hopefully the offense can establish some type of consistency after yesterday.  Todd Gurley was great yesterday, but can’t do it all by himself, and he sure can’t do it without any receivers making plays.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Chargers always find new ways to lose football games, and yesterday was no different against the Colts.   the Patriots might as well have one of their fans play quarterback, and they could still win football games.  Brian Hoyer is like herpes.  Just when you think he’s done and forget about him, he shows up again.  That’s what happened when the Bears got beat by the Cowboys last night.  How many interceptions does Ryan Fitzpatrick need to throw before the Jets play Geno Smith again? Apparently more than six.  The Dolphins-Browns game should have been broadcasted on Comedy Central.  Carson Palmer played that game against the Bills like it was a playoff game.  Of course that meant Arizona lost to Buffalo.  The more players the Vikings lose, the more games they seem to win.  Their defense is that good.  Odell Beckham Jr. looked like he was going to kill Eli Manning after yesterday’s loss to the Redskins.  Who does Trevor Siemian think he is anyway? Joe Montana? The Broncos are dominating on both sides of the ball.  The Packers may have beaten the Lions, but what happened to Aaron Rodgers? He finally looked good yesterday, but wasn’t this guy supposed to be the best player in the NFL not long ago?  So much for all you people that actually believed the 49ers were a decent team.  They got smoked by Seattle.  The Steelers took some beating against the Eagles.  How are the Ravens 3-0? Oh that’s right, it’s because they haven’t played anybody.  The same can be said for the 2-1 Raiders, who took advantage of the Titans yesterday.

On to college football, where apparently changing the starting quarterback at USC was not the problem.  The Trojans got beat by at Utah on Friday, after blowing a 14 point lead, and losing late in the final seconds.  You hear that sound? It’s the sound of USC alums closing their checkbooks.  Replacing Max Browne with Sam Darnold was a total desperation move, and was the equivalent of trying to stop a flood with a couple of paper towels.  The first four games of this season have been the same story every week: poor discipline, outplayed at the line of scrimmage, questionable defensive coverage, and very inconsistent play calling.  There were moments where things looked better on Friday, but ultimately, USC reverted back to who they are: a mediocre team.  SC may have talent, but Utah is a much better and more cohesive team.  The Trojans will be lucky to be a .500 team with their brutal remaining schedule, but replacing Clay Helton at this would probably wouldn’t serve much purpose.  Even though he’s in way over his head, I can’t think of an available head coach that can fix this mess (unless you think Les Miles is that guy after getting fired yesterday).  The Trojans need a big name, but at the moment, that big name doesn’t exist.  You can bet that Lynn Swann is looking at his options though.

Then there’s the Bruins, who had their own sob story at the Rose Bowl this weekend.  This game was going perfectly.  UCLA was beating the Cardinal at their own game, and for 3.5 quarters they weren’t pushed around.  Then during the final few minutes, Stanford wore them down.  The Bruins also committed the dumbest penalty at the worst time, when Marcus Rios brushed Christian McCaffrey on a punt return in which he called for a fair catch.  Isn’t this how most of the UCLA meltdowns start? The rest was all about Stanford making big plays in the final minute.  It’s pretty hard to win when you have absolutely no running game, and your receivers drop every big pass.  Jim Mora also has to deal with his own players bitching at each other on Twitter on top of all that.  This would have been the biggest win in the last 8 years for UCLA, but it ended up being just a reminder of how the Bruins can’t get it done against elite teams.  Also, if you had UCLA +3 or +3.5 you cried after this last play…….

Speaking of the Bruins, I thought that Kevin Love hated his time at UCLA?  Love matched Russell Westbrook’s recent large donation to the school, and the strength and condition center in their new state of the art athletic facility will be named after him.  K-Love was was honored at halftime of the Stanford game.  Maybe it’s really that he just hated Ben Howland, and not UCLA itself?

How about the embarrassment right now that is Notre Dame football? We live in a world where Duke football can actually go on the road and beat the Irish.  That’s as humiliating as it gets.  This looks exactly like two years ago, when the Irish lost a couple of big games early, and then played the rest of the season like they didn’t give a crap.  I realize that Notre Dame’s defensive backfield isn’t that great, but I’m pretty sure Duke’s wide receivers shouldn’t be killing them like they did.  This team struggles to just line up, pay attention to detail, and not make careless mistakes  Even more irritating was Brian Kelly blaming his players rather than holding his coaches accountable.  You can bet that it was AD Jack Swarbick, who made Kelly fire defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder yesterday.  Pretty soon it might be Kelly looking for another job.  Elsewhere around college football, Tennessee beat Florida for the first time since the stone age.  Wisconsin is killing it on a brutal schedule: they beat LSU and Michigan State, and now they have Michigan and Ohio State coming up.  It was a shame that LSU touchdown in the final seconds against Auburn was called back because it would have been a great finish.  It might have actually allowed Les Miles to keep his job too.

The Angels haven’t had a whole lot to get excited about for a while, but they did a nice job of taking a sledgehammer to the Houston Astros playoff hopes.  More importantly though, the Angels got great news last week when Garrett Richards successfully threw 20 pitches off a mound in a bullpen session.  Richards next step will be to face some live hitters in a simulated game, but he says that he has no doubt that he will be able to avoid surgery and pitch for the Halos next season.  His recovery sounds rather miraculous, and makes me wonder if Oral Roberts is on the Angels training staff.

Kevin Garnett is retiring.  His career is quite remarkable, with one MVP, one championship, 9 all-star appearances, and sleeping with Carmelo Anthony’s wife.  But in all seriousness, KG is one of the five best power forwards to ever play in the NBA, and he did an amazing job of transforming the defense and the culture of the Celtics in 2008.  Even though Doc Rivers knows it’s not going to happen, I’m sure he will lob a call to KG and ask him if he’s interested in signing with the Clippers (even if it means parting ways with one of his guaranteed contracts).  Doc is that obsessed with his former players, players who have played really well against him, and anybody related to him.  The NBA is losing an entire era of basketball in Kobe, Duncan, and KG, all in the same offseason.  That’s going to be arguably the greatest hall of fame class ever when they are inducted.

The LA Olympic bid for the 2024 games got a boost last week from the news that Rome might actually drop their bid, citing that it might be fiscally irresponsible to host the games.  Some sources are actually saying that since NBC paid so much to broadcast the Olympics, they are guaranteed one Olympics in the United States during the next 3-4 games.  This might give LA the inside track, especially since Hungary will lose support for refusing refugees.  Paris is still going to contend, despite all the recent terrorist attacks that were there.  I still think that if LA wins the bid, it’s got the infrastructure to host one of the best games in a while.

The finals for The World Cup of Hockey are set.  It’s Canada vs Team Europe.  In other words, Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin will be taking on Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar.  I still find this whole “Team Europe” and “Team North America” concept ridiculous, but at least we get to see some competitive hockey in the preseason.  I’m also offended by the effort put forth by the United States team, which was 0-3, and got sent home faster than the Anaheim Ducks every spring.  At least Jonathan Quick played well for the Americans, however, that team could not score goals, and their idea of putting more grit and toughness on the roster backfired.  The good news is that there are some very good American hockey players that should be on the team in the next 2-3 years, which improve Team USA quite a bit.

Ted Cruz endorsed Donald Trump.  What kind of man joins forces with a rival that completely embarrassed him.  I feel like Kevin Durant might know the answer.

What do you do if you need a new phone these days? The Galaxy Note 7 blows up, and the IPhone 7 has no head phone jack.  That sounds just as bad as choosing between Clinton and Trump.

RIP Arnold Palmer.  You were truly a legend, and one of the greatest golfers we’ve ever seen.  He also helped change sports into a business.  The sports marketing industry began when Mark McMormick signed Arnie to IMG.  I’m going to be drinking Arnold Palmers all week.

Monday Morning Coffee



September 19th, 2016

Well we’ve waited for over 20 years for NFL Football to return to LA, and after a really ugly first game, it was nice to see the Rams find the win column in their home opener.  It was ugly, but it got the job done.  The nostalgia of Pete Caroll coming back to the Coliseum was cool for a moment too.  Then the Rams started playing football, and we came to the realization that watching the offense is like watching a dumpster fire.  The Rams are scoring less than Steve Urkel on Prom night.  But the Rams defense was tough, Russell Wilson was banged up, and for some reason this team seems to own the Seahawks.  Still, it’s not a great feeling right now knowing LA gave away a truck load of draft picks for a guy that’s barely cutting it as their backup quarterback.  Oh, and after all this mess, Jeff Fisher was just rewarded with a 3 year extension.  He hasn’t had a winning season since George W. Bush was in office, yet somehow, he pulled this off.  Further adding to our frustration is the fact that now that the Rams are playing football in LA, we don’t get to see as many great NFL games on TV like we used, since the networks don’t want to take coverage away from our new NFL team.  It’s everything you’ve been dreaming about the last twenty years right?  Enjoy yesterday’s win because it might not get much better for a while.

Elsewhere around the NFL, how sorry are the Miami Dolphins? The Patriots have 3 quarterbacks that are better than Ryan Tannehill.  There goes the #1 running back on my fantasy football team after Adrian Peterson went down with a big knee injury last night.  AP was carried off the field, and dragged through a TGI Friday’s on the way to the locker room.  The Chargers may have beaten up on the Jags, but they suffered another big blow with the loss of Danny Woodhead.  That Broncos defense looked even better than last year in their win over the Colts.  Julio Jones shows a little emotion after a big TD in the Falcons win over the Raiders, and he gets a flag.  Let these guys have a little fun! I would have thought that Steelers win over the Bengals was played at a correctional institute given the number of players on both sides with criminal records.  What happened to all the offense we were promised in the Saints-Giants game?  Jameis Winston had more turnovers yesterday than Betty Crocker.  Neither team was all that impressive.  The Browns had a 20 point lead after 11 minutes in their game with the Ravens, so it’s only natural they lost.  Cam Newton is a beast.  Who is calling the Redskins plays? A member of the Obama administration? Not a single run around the goal line in their loss to the Cowboys.  The Texans don’t win pretty, but they’re 2-0.  Not as ugly as that Titans-Lions game.  Andre Johnson is still in the league after last season’s debacle? Bills and Jets on Thursday night football.  It’s like the NFL asks themselves what the worst possible game is that they could give us.

Let’s go to college football, where the Trojans fell flat on their faces again against Stanford.  Everybody’s immediate impulse is going to be to break out the pitchforks and tiki torches and blame Clay Helton.  Although the play calling is a little strange at times, and their three games have been filled with penalties and undisciplined play, there’s something to be said for just how good the USC talent is.  You can talk about how great the talent is until you’re blue in the face, however, if you have all this undeveloped talent, then you really aren’t that talented.  The defensive line looked very overrated and overmatched on Saturday.  Max Browne is nothing special, and I thought the plan was to be a running team, and go back to old school Trojan football? These guys don’t really seem to know their own identity.  Maybe everyone just needs to come to grips with the fact that Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Lendale White, and Mike Williams were in a college football class of their own, as was Pete Carroll.  Trying replicate that anytime soon isn’t going to be easy.

Then there’s UCLA, who came away with an ugly and unimpressive win against BYU.  How many times do I have to hear Josh Rosen tell me about how bad he played, and how much better he needs to be? Ok, I get it, you’re trying to be accountable.  However, it doesn’t do anybody any good to tell us where you suck when you don’t fix it.  His play is just too uneven, with a lot of missed throws, the Jim Mora coaching is starting to be suspect, and there isn’t much of a running game.  The only good news for the Bruins is that they only play one more elite team, which will be when they host Stanford next week.  Despite all their flaws, they still stand a great chance to win the Pac 12 South.  They just might take a Buster Douglas like beating next week at the Rose Bowl though.

Just in case you thought the Notre Dame football season wasn’t over with their loss to Texas during week 1, you can be assured that Irish fans hopes and dreams have been shattered after that loss to Michigan State.  Even more infuriating is Brian Kelly’s continued support for defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.  I’ve seen better tackling in Pee Wee football than I have from the Irish defense this season.  I was rather disappointed to learn that Kelly did not actually like a tweet regarding firing VanGorder.  Elsewhere around college football, Lamar Jackson is killing it for Louisville.  However, if he were smart he would retire at the end of this college season so he can avoid being drafted by the Browns.  Ole Miss wishes that all their football games against Alabama could end at halftime.  Iowa is devastated over their loss to North Dakota State.  At least they still have corn.  Oklahoma’s defense should have just taken a knee for the last quarter of that Ohio State game to protest their coaches oppressive treatment of making them cover Noah Brown.  His TD catch was amazing.  This is how you do it Dez Bryant…….

To baseball, where the Dodgers took two of three from Arizona over the weekend, and their magic number is down to just 9 games to clinch a fourth straight NL West title.  Now the sorry San Francisco Giants are coming to town for a three game set.  As dangerous as I think the Giants could be in the playoffs, I think it’s probably better for LA if they get in and play the Cubs.  San Francisco might actually be able to catch lightning in a bottle in a short series and knock off Chicago.  I think the Boys in Blue have no chance against the Cubs ridiculous lineup, but they could take the Giants in a playoff series.  Then again, I’m not so sure they could beat anybody else like the Nationals either.  I was very disappointed to learn that the Dodgers couldn’t make that Yasiel Puig and Brandon McCarthy trade for Ryan Braun happen a few weeks ago.  I would have even offered to pack McCarthy’s bags and drive him to the airport, given how useless he’s been.  Hopefully this trade gets revisited in the offseason.  I wish the Dodgers front office would cut bait faster with guys that just haven’t worked out like McCarthy.  It’s bad enough to make moves like that in the first place, but it’s even worse when you have people in your front office that can’t admit when they made a mistake.  Too bad Vin Scully is going to be calling it quits after October 2nd.  The man has earned the right to say goodbye when he wants to, however, I was under the impression that he came back because he thought the Dodgers had a chance to win the World Series, and wanted to be along for that ride.  The fact that he’s calling it quits prior to the postseason tells you everything you need to know about what he thinks of the Dodgers’ playoff chances.

There goes another Angel pitcher.  Tyler Skaggs is the latest player to go down, this time with a forearm injury.  At least there was no ligament damage.  It was good to see Alex Meyer get through five innings yesterday against the Blue Jays.  This sounds pathetic, but the Halos need to be thinking about all these little victories right now.  If they hope to turn it around in the next two seasons, it’s going to require finding these types of gems, and hoping a couple of them can turn into Major League ball players that can actually make an impact.  Otherwise the fans might as well spend their summers at Disneyland instead of the ballpark.

Finally, I’d like to thank the United Staes of America for “participating” in the World Cup of Hockey.  The U.S. laid an egg against a team that’s not even a real country, in Team Europe.  If I wanted to see Anze Kopitar dominate Ryan Kessler, I could have just waited to see the Kings play the Ducks when the season starts.  I get that the NHL is trying to monetize international play, instead of not being compensated when they send their players to the Olympics.  However, the tournament just isn’t the same, and it’s been so manufactured, that the players aren’t approaching it with any sense of pride for their country.  Team Europe? Team North America? Give me a break.  It’s no wonder that the Americans played that game like it was an all-star game they didn’t give a crap about.  Meanwhile, there’s some jerk sitting somewhere with a spreadsheet trying to come up with a reason why Jonathan Quick shouldn’t be starting for team USA.

Monday Morning Coffee


September 12th, 2016

Well the Trojans got back in the win column on Saturday.  However, USC played a team that looked worse than a Stevie Wonder coloring book.  The defense was much improved and USC has some athletes, but I remain very unimpressed with Max Browne.  His numbers should have been huge against a team like this, his delivery is very slow, and his decision making is questionable.  It’s no wonder that he couldn’t beat out Cody Kessler for the starting QB job.  I’m also amazed at how undisciplined Clay Helton’s team is so far.  The latest incident came early on in Saturday’s game when sophomore offensive tackle, Chuma Edoga, was ejected for making contact with an official.  I’m reserving true judgement until next week, when the Trojans travel up north to take on Stanford.  The truth is somewhere between last week’s loss to ‘Bama and this week’s win against Utah State.  If anything though, it’s much closer to the former.

The Bruins had what was supposed to be a bye week of their own, but instead, they ended up in a big struggle with UNLV.  Even after the win, I’ve seen nothing in the first two games that make me think this team is any better than the team they’ve had the last couple of years.  Josh Rosen tends to miss some important throws, and his receivers are dropping even more important ones.  Meanwhile, the defensive line looks worse than tonight’s special at Olive Garden.  They’ve had one sack in two games, and being healthier than last year doesn’t hide their mediocrity.  The Bruins are once again a decent team, but far from elite.  I think it’s time to stop pretending like this team is ready to take the next step and win the Pac 12 Title, let alone pretend like they can contend for the College Football Playoff.  UCLA should be worried about next week’s final non-conference tune-up at BYU.  The ginger ale is going to be flowing in Provo if the Cougars pull off the upset.  The last time UCLA went up there they also lost 59-0, in a shocking beat down.

Elsewhere around college football, Notre Dame’s defense looked a little better, although their competition was a bit worse in Nevada, but they got back in the win column.  Clemson barely escaped against Troy, while Ohio State, Alabama, and everybody else in the top 25 played absolutely nobody.  Jim Harbaugh was celebrating a Michigan win by eating his own snot on the sideline (you’re just going to have to Google that one).  I hope most of these small schools that we’ve never heard of have cashed their checks already, since they basically agreed to take a beat down from these larger Goliath schools in the Top 25.  Central Michigan did pull of this crazy play against Oklahoma State though to pull off the upset.  If this happened while playing a video game, I still probably wouldn’t believe it……

The NFL is back, and week 1 was in full effect!  It took the Chargers exactly one game to do Charger things.  That might have been one of the biggest choke jobs in San Diego history, after they blew a 24-10 lead.  As if that isn’t bad enough, they lost Keenan Allen to probable torn ACL, and everybody else in their division won.  Might as well throw in the towel on the season.  The Patriots are probably going to be 4-0 while Tom Brady gets a month long vacation.  Even though Drew Brees plays every game like he’s playing Madden on XBOX, the Saints defense let them down again.  The Raiders look like they might contend!  Aaron Rodgers is pretty damn good at football.  The Jaguars are “so much better this year”, it only took them two minutes to have their first turnover.  Carson Wentz looked great for the Eagles.  I’m sure he’s used to playing teams about as good as the Browns when he was in college.  I’m also sure Dallas receiver Terrance Williams feels terrible for his bonehead play at the end of yesterdays game.  It’s ok Terrance, the loss isn’t on you.  You play for the Dallas Cowboys so it was inevitable.  Looks like AJ Green bought a house on Revis Island, because he and the Bengals dominated the Jets yesterday.  What happened to the Colts? Seattle dodged a bullet against Miami, and with the Russell Wilson injury.  I think the last time Cam Newton got hit as hard as he did on Thursday, it was when he rolled his pick up truck.  Still not sure how there was no flag on that play, or how he doesn’t have a concussion.  Here’s a look at everyone’s reaction once they found out the ESPN fantasy app was down……


The Rams have got to come up with a win tonight in San Francisco.  The division is going to be tough enough having to play four games against Seattle and Arizona.  The Rams defense is good, but given their limitations on offense, their defense needs to be as dominant as the Broncos to be successful.  Their starting quarterback is truly nothing more than a game manager, and their wide receivers cannot be relied on.  Nevertheless, NFL football is back in LA, and tonight is the night the Los Angeles Rams return to action, which is exciting enough.

To the NBA, where Shaquille O’Neal was inducted into the basketball hall of game last week.  Shaq is one of my favorite players of all time, and watching him win three titles with the Lakers was a pleasure.  However, Shaq came out and said that Tim Duncan is not considered “a big man”, since he is really a power forward, and not a center.  He went on to say that Duncan is not in the same class as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon, and himself.  I do agree in principle with Shaq’s statement that Duncan is a power forward and not a center.  However, if Tim Duncan were considered a center, he’d probably be the 6th best center to ever play the position.  Duncan was arguably the best defensive player of all time, and a top 10 great.  Shaq is too, and while he was the most dominant ever, I think he simply felt the need to separate himself from Duncan because he knew his teams came out on top most of the time when they met in the playoffs.

The Dodgers are unbelievable.  On Saturday night, for the 2nd time this season, they removed a starting pitcher from a game that could potentially have been historic, had they been allowed to complete it.  This time, Rich Hill had a chance to pitch a perfect game.  He only needed 6 more outs. Do you realize there are only 23 perfect games in the history of baseball? Manager Dave Roberts claims he was pulled because he had concerns about his blister reopening.  If 20 more pitches were going to put this guy back on the disabled list, then he’s not nearly as durable as he should be coming down the stretch.  The game wasn’t even in jeopardy.  Of course when Joe Blanton came in, he blew the perfect game.  I also don’t think the call was made my Roberts.  I think as usual, he got the call from the front office, and Andrew Friedman told him that Hill needs to be pulled.  I keep hearing about the need for preserving players for the future, like the Dodgers are doing with Julio Urias now, Ross Stripling earlier in the season, and now Rich Hill with his blister issue.  I wonder how the Washington Nationals feel about this strategy, since four years ago they limited Stephen Strasburg’s innings to prevent injury.  That strategy came in the middle of a season when they were a contender for the World Series, yet they came up short in the playoffs.  Four years later, that future they were saving for has yet to arrive.  You never know when the opportunity will be as good as it is now.  Andrew Friedman has never understood that from the moment he started working here.

The Angels came up with a win yesterday against Texas.  Jered Weaver made one of his final starts for the Halos, and managed to put together a performance that was so good, I’m wondering if he entered a time machine to become the player that he was 5 years ago.  I’m thinking bringing Weaver back to the team next year on a short and cheap deal wouldn’t be terrible.  The Angels need arms, and Weaver might be able to fill in at the back end of the rotation.  He might even be better served re-inventing himself as a bullpen guy too.  Speaking of re-inventing players, the Angels are also doing so with recently acquired Alex Meyer.  Meyer was a reliever for the Twins, despite the fact he wanted to be a starter.  The Halos are now planning on using him as a starter, and hope he can be a gem for them in 2017.  Meyer showed some potential last week, but he’ll need to work on his control to be successful.

Finally, we just went through a weekend where the Dodgers, UCLA, and USC were all in action, yet not a single DirecTV customer could see them.  That means that 70% of cable subscribers in Southern California could not see any of these teams in action.  Have the cable companies given up on reaching a deal? It sure feels like it since DirecTV doesn’t even want to come to the table to negotiate with Time Warner Cable.  The cable model is totally broken, and ultimately, it’s the sports fan that is really paying the price.


Monday Morning Coffee

Trojan catch

September 5th, 2016

Ok Trojan honks.  I don’t think you can use the sanctions as an excuse anymore.  USC got obliterated by Alabama on Saturday in it’s season opener by a score of 52-6.  Did you really think that Lane Kiffin was going to milk the clock when he was up big against the school that fired him? Of course not! He was going to make sure that he rubbed salt in the wound.  The Trojans played so poorly and so undisciplined, I really don’t know exactly how good or bad the team is right now.  Max Browne played more like Charlie Brown, totaling just over 100 passing yards, while his receivers could create no separation whatsoever from the Crimson Tide secondary.  The Trojans need to just throw out the tape and pretend like that game never happened.  Jabari Ruffin should be thrown off the team or at least suspended for the classless stunt he pulled.  At least to the Trojans credit though, Osa Masina and Don Hill were sent home after being under investigation for sexual assault.  Had anything like that happened to Alabama players, like Hootie Jones and Cam Robinson a few months ago, Nick Saban would have found a way to have them on the field.  ‘Bama is also becoming the new football factory for rejected USC coaches, since they might add Steve Sarkisian to their staff.  This could easily be a 1-3 start for SC, so the Trojan faithful better have some patience with Clay Helton, or else they are going to jumping off the roof of fraternity houses on 28th street.  I knew I had seen Max Browne somewhere before…..


Then there’s the Bruins who found a way to disappoint again.  Josh Rosen looked like a guy who fell in love with his own hype, yet got a big slap in the face when he threw three interceptions. The receivers dropped more balls than Times Square, and UCLA’s running game disappeared like David Copperfield.  This is getting to be a very tired story for Jim Mora’s talented recruiting class.  They can’t find a way to win when it really matters.  I realize that A&M is a very good team at home, but they are likely going to be a 5 loss team in the SEC.   The Bruins failed to pay attention to detail, and they found themselves playing catch-up for most of the day.  Of course Mora is going to try and sell us on the idea that the comeback showed a lot of character.  However, this team looks ticketed for another middle of the road finish, that will once again make you think they are capable of achieving so much more.  The Mora era started off so promising, but now it’s just starting to feel like more and more underachievement with every game that goes by.

Elsewhere around college football, nobody breaks their fans hearts like Notre Dame.  The Irish suffered a devastating overtime loss at Texas in their opener, which already kills their chances at the College Football Playoff.  The team has some talent, but their secondary was awful against Texas.  I guess that’s probably because their entire secondary was kicked off the team for being idiots.  I think we’ve seen enough of the two quarterback rotation though.  Deshone Kizer is the guy.  It wasn’t the best weekend for the Pac 12.  UCLA and USC took their lumps against the SEC, while Oregon struggled to win against Davis, as did Stanford against KSU.  Oklahoma and LSU are looking overrated early, while Wisconsin and Houston should surge up the polls.  Speaking of LSU, they came away from this weekend with one loss and one murder…..

To baseball where the Dodgers have opened up a 3 game lead on the Giants in the NL West.  That’s right folks, the Giants have been literally the worst team in baseball in the 2nd half.  Just how bad? The Dodgers have no starting pitching, a 3rd baseman who plays half the time, a 2nd baseman who sits against lefties, a left fielder who is really a 2nd baseman, a center fielder who can’t make contact, no right fielder, and Andrew Friedman as the head of their front office.  I like how the Josh Reddick acquisition was such a failure that the Dodgers were forced to bring up Yasiel Puig just a few weeks after sending him down.  I was really impressed with Jose DeLeon’s MLB debut yesterday.  He might not be Clayton Kershaw, or have the upside of Julio Urias, but he has the potential to be a front line starter for the Boys in Blue at some point.  Speaking of Kershaw, if all goes well he should be back in the rotation on Friday, which will put him in line to get a couple of starts agains the Giants before the season is over.  I also found it hilarious that former Dodger owner Frank McCourt not only bought French soccer club, Marseille, but that the club made a statement that described his ownership with the Dodgers as a tremendous financial success.  How many of you fell out of your chair laughing when you read this? There is a sucker born everyday in this world.

Can the Angels go five minutes without another starting pitcher getting hurt? The latest is Matt Shoemaker, who took a 105 mile an hour line drive off of his head yesterday in Seattle.  Shoemaker is suffering from a small hematoma and skull fracture after the incident.  Who knows what his prognosis will be after his CT scan, but they will obviously have to be very careful with him for a while.  As if the Halos needed more bad news, promising pitching prospect Nate Smith is now suffering from elbow soreness, and is awaiting the results of an examination.  I’m no pitching expert, but the question has to be asked about how the Angels are building their pitching staff, if potentially four of their starters have elbow issues.  The Halos are also finding a way to win meaningless games against teams they should be losing to at this point in the season, which would help improve their draft position.  Considering the Angels have by far the worst farm system in baseball, I’d say tanking should have been something they considered strongly months ago.

To the NFL, where the Rams have trimmed their roster down to 53, and are ready to start the regular season one week from today against the 49ers.  I hate to panic about the Jared Goff situation, but this is the NFL, where from week to week you have no choice but to do so.  Even if he’s improved a little, Goff is barely a third string quarterback in the NFL, and even more devastating is the fact that he looks totally unworthy of the truck load of draft picks the Rams gave up for him in April.  The Rams could have gotten the same type of player by staying at #15 and taking Paxton Lynch, or Dak Prescott, who looks a lot better than Goff right now.  Actually, if the Rams were smart, they could have traded Goff to Minnesota after Teddy Bridgewater went down with a knee injury, and gotten a bunch of those draft picks back.  As for the season, the team is talented, but the schedule and the division is just too tough right now.  The winning streak against Seattle seems like an anomaly that is bound to correct.  I’m thinking this team goes 8-8, and settles for 3rd in the NFC West.

As for the rest of my NFL predictions, my AFC division winners are Kansas City, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and New England.   In the NFC, I’ve got Arizona, Carolina, Green Bay, and Dallas.  The wild cards in the AFC are Pittsburgh and Oakland, while in the NFC, they are Seattle and Minnesota.  I’ll take Cardinals over the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

I still think Colin Kaepernick’s decision to not stand for the national anthem is a poor one.  Nobody is talking about police brutality, race, and how we can improve upon community relations.  Instead, all we are talking about is how offended we are that he would do such a thing, along with wearing those silly socks he has of police officers looking like pigs.  While I respect the guys right to protest,  Kaepernick isn’t good enough anymore to make such a stand be really meaningful.  On the other hand, you’ve got NBA players like Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, DeMarcus Cousins, and Dwayne Wade who are driving the conversations at the community level, as opposed to taking some silly stand during the national anthem.

With the NFL preseason in the books, the Cleveland Browns have officially been eliminated from the playoffs.  Teddy Bridgewater can really learn a thing or two from newly acquired Sam Bradford, a veteran QB who has plenty of experience on the injured list.  He might even injure himself while packing for Minnesota.  At least Viking fans should be thankful their QB won’t be Mark Sanchez. The Cowboys acquired him. I hear the Broncos were willing to trade Sanchez for an $8.47 store credit at the nearest Denver Game Stop.