November 28th, 2016
The Rams took a beating from the Saints yesterday in New Orleans, and coach Jeff Fisher was right. He’s not going 7-9, or 8-8, or 9-7, or 10-6 for that matter. He’s going to go 5-11. The Rams defense that’s been so good all year long was nowhere to be found. The Saints don’t exactly have the 1985 Chicago Bears defense, but Jared Goff helped the Rams offense put up more points than the Rams have scored in a month. The Goff situation is making Fisher look really bad. Everyone is wondering why he was sitting on the bench for the first 10 weeks of the season. Had Goff been terrible, everyone would want to burn Fisher and Les Snead at the stake for trading so much for an inept quarterback. At least it appears the Rams have a QB they can build around, but if we’ve learned anything from the Dallas Cowboys, it’s that elite NFL teams are built with great offensive lines as their foundation. The Rams don’t have anything close to that, which makes both Goff and Todd Gurley look like scrubs at at times. This is just how I remember the NFL in LA when I was a kid.
Elsewhere around week 12 in the NFL, you thought for a second the Chargers were going to find a way to blow another 4th quarter lead, but then you realized they were playing against the $72 million bust Brock Osweiler, so they hung on to beat the Texans. Only the Cleveland Browns could throw a pick six to a guy with only 8 fingers. Giants took down the Browns and sent them closer to 0-16. The Ravens topped the Bengals. Justin Tucker is like Steph Curry from three, while Mike Nugent is like DeAndre Jordan from the free throw line. The Falcons beat the Cardinals, got a big performance from Taylor Gabriel, and then trolled the Browns on Twitter by thanking them for releasing him earlier in the season. The Bills beat the Jaguars, who just aren’t very good at football. Where did the Dolphins come from? They are now 7-4 after beating the 49ers. I guess the better question is where Jay Ajayi came from. Matt Barkley threw his first three career touchdown passes in the Bears loss to the Titans. He’s been in the league since 2013! The Raiders got by the Panthers for their 9th win of the season, which is funny because Derek Carr probably has only nine fingers left. Tom Brady got his 200th win as the Pats edged the Jets. It would take the Browns 200 years to get that many wins. Russell Wilson didn’t bring his bag of magic tricks this time, and the Bucs handled the Seahawks. That was one wild Sunday night game, as the Chiefs rallied to beat the Broncos in OT. I guess the Broncos can shutdown Tom Brady and Aaron Rogers, but can’t find a way to contain Alex Smith. As for the Thanksgiving day games, Sam Bradford should have been forced to eat Spam for Thanksgiving after the Vikings lost to the Lions. Thanksgiving just didn’t feel the same without Tony Romo turnovers, but seeing Josh Norman and Dez Bryant talk trash in the Cowboys win over the Redskins made up for it. There was also Antonio Brown breaking defenders ankles in the Steelers win over the Colts….
To College Football where the Trojans kept rolling on Saturday, this time beating Notre Dame 45-27. Before I get to the disaster that was my alma matter, let’s talk about USC. The Trojans just looked like the team that was oozing with talent, and poured it on with some huge plays from Adoree Jackson and Ronald Jones, to go along with another solid performance from Sam Darnold. Unfortunately for the Trojans, they won’t win the Pac 12 because Colorado defeated Utah, so they won’t even get to play in the Pac 12 Championship game. That leads to some major “what if” questions we often ask ourselves when talking about College Football. There’s still a chance USC could play in the Rose Bowl if Washington goes to the College Football Playoff. Most will say that loss to Utah is what really hurt but even if the Trojans won that game, who is to say they don’t end up having a let down in another conference game? Ultimately though, USC is arguably playing like the 2nd best team in the country to Alabama (who would still crush them again), but they could certainly beat any of the other College Football Playoff teams. Frankly, since the committee takes into account injuries to certain teams in their rankings, you could make the argument that they should be in the playoff because they would provide the most competitive games now that they have Sam Darnold under center. These never ending arguments will only come to an end when they do the right thing and expand the playoff to more than four teams. I do expect that USC will be playing in one of the six major New Year bowl games though.
As for my Irish, their lackluster performance against USC was predictable, and just the final blow to a a horrendous season on Brian Kelly’s watch. The Irish have talent on both sides of the ball, but their defensive fundamentals and discipline were absolutely atrocious all season long, which has to fall at the feet of the coaching staff. Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery made a completely classless move as well, kicking Cedric Ware in the helmet, and then stomping on Zach Banner’s foot. I was happy to see Kelly chewing him out for that. While I’m totally disappointed with Kelly’s football product this year, I am still not a believer that he should be fired. There’s simply nobody out there who can presently be an upgrade over him. In one year from now, if the Irish struggle, that may not be the case. Notice that I haven’t even mentioned any of the stupid NCAA rulings that were made earlier in the week, in which the Irish had been asked to vacate their wins from the 2012 and 2013 season. Ok no problem NCAA. We’ll just pretend like that embarrassment against Alabama in the championship game from that season never actually happened. For the most part, Notre Dame hands down way more discipline for its players stupidity than all the other Universities in those football loving, red neck filled towns. Here’s Kelly chewing out Tillery…..
Some of you may have forgotten that UCLA was still playing football over the weekend as well. Then again, after seeing that game against Cal, it made me realize that they stopped playing football weeks ago. Mike Fafaul definitely looked like a walk-on quarterback in this game, and looked more and more like that since his decent first couple of starts. For years we’ve heard that UCLA has all this talent, and we’ve just heard excuse after excuse during that time. The Bruins have already said goodbye to their offensive coordinator, Kennedy Polamalu. Now for the next six months, Jim Mora will consider whether or not he wants to stick with a pro style offense, which usually takes a year before it looks the way you want it, or go another route. Since Josh Rosen got hurt running that offense with little protection, it makes you wonder what the right decision is. Either way, Rosen will be on to his third offensive coordinator in three years, which can’t be easy to build consistency with.
That Michigan-Ohio State game was a great finish, but now the playoff polls are really screwed up. The two best teams in the Big 10 are not only not going to win the Big 10, but not even play for the Big 10 Championship. A Michigan vs USC Cotton Bowl would be a pretty intriguing matchup. Alabama is still Alabama. Clemson looks good, but is likely to get bounced again in the semi-finals. Very tough loss for Nebraska against Iowa. To be fair though, nobody that lives in Nebraska or Iowa is a winner. This guy really wanted to spend some quality time with Miss Arizona…..
Thank god the Lakers got some relief in their schedule yesterday, by playing the Atlanta Hawks, a team without a real franchise player. The schedule has been unbelievably brutal of late, and the injuries have been piling up at the worst time. However, somehow LA is still sporting a .500 record. That’s a tribute to Luke Walton and all the minutes he’s been handing out throughout the roster. There’s a reason why Thomas Robinson and Jose Calderon can step into the starting lineup in the absence of Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell. It’s because Luke Walton has given them enough playing time to make sure they are ready. If the Lakers can get through this horrible part of their schedule by mid-December at around .500, then the playoffs are a realistic goal. However, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell need to come back soon, or else those playoff chances will evaporate quickly. I’m also getting annoyed hearing the ridiculous Phil Jackson rumors again, and about him potentially joining the Laker front office at the end of the season. The Lakers are finally beginning to turn it around because they have let go of their past, and now they want to cling to it again? Given how out of touch PJ is with modern day basketball since he became an executive, this story needs to die immediately.
Then there’s the Clippers, who have suddenly dropped two straight. The Clipps have become that guy who tells you every year that he’s going to show up to your party, yet when that party comes he never shows. This year, everyone seems to be convinced that your friend is coming to the party, because everyone is convinced that the Clippers are at least going to the Western Conference Finals. However, slowly, the Clippers have been surpassed in the standings by the Warriors and Spurs. They are reverting back to the same team we’ve seen the last few years that is inconsistent at the defensive end, and a bench that can only rely upon the firepower of Jamal Crawford. Call me when your friend actually shows up to the party.
To College Hoops where the Bruins put together an impressive performance in the Wooden Legacy Tournament over the holiday weekend. UCLA put together three wins in four days, including victories over Nebraska and Texas A&M to win the tournament. Bryce Alford looks much better without the ball in his hands, while Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf continue to make their mark. The Bruins haven’t been this much fun to watch in years. However, the most impressive part of the last two wins was the fact UCLA defended and played a slower, grind it out, type of game. They’ll need that versatility as they continue to play better teams. Those better teams are coming up with matchups against Kentucky and Michigan over the next two weeks. The Bruins haven’t been this much fun to watch in years, and according to Lonzo Ball’s dad, they are going to win the National Championship.
The Dodgers have been ordered to reduce their debt by Major League Baseball. MLB rules state that after an ownership change, a team must comply with the debt service rules within 5 years. Those rules are that a teams debt must be no more than 12 times annual revenue, minus expenses. This brings up a few important points. First of all, it’s going to make it that much more difficult to re-sign Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner this winter. Second of all, it’s a reminder to all you whiny babies who complain that the team was “too greedy” when it put together its TV deal, when it was just trying to be competitive, while some of you were just too lazy to change your cable provider. Thirdly, why can’t the MLB order the Dodgers not to blow money on scrubs like Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, and Brett Anderson? Had Friedman and his band of nerds not screwed up there, then maybe the Dodgers would be more like the Cubs, who have no such debt problems and nicely supplemented their youth with quality veterans. Sure enough it was the Cubs who handled the Dodgers in the postseason, and went on to win the World Series.
Here come the LA Kings. LA has won 5 in a row, and now they are getting some of their injured players back like Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. LA’s defense has been so good, they have made Peter Budaj, a questionable NHL goaltender, look like a very good NHL goaltender. This team may not be as good as the 2012 team that won the Stanley Cup, but once they get Jonathan Quick back, they are going to be a lot better than we expected. Then there’s the Ducks who have lost three of their last four. Ryan Getzlaf actually scored on Saturday to help end their skid. Getzlaf still scores goals? He’s scored less this season than most married guys do.
Finally, another episode of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching it later. Did anybody actually remember that Tara and Heath left the group to go on a supply run? Also, did anybody really care, or care if they got killed in the process? This episode was ok, but it seems to create an unnecessary additional story arc. Now we have another community in Oceanside, that was terrorized by the Saviors at one point, and got away after the Saviors killed all their men. The last five episodes have now created five different arcs in five different communities: The Kingdom, The Saviors, Alexandria, Hilltop, and Oceanside. That’s a lot of communities, but I fully expect the next two episodes, and potentially the rest of this season, to connect all of these different communities. I’m one that has said most people are unnecessarily complaining about the show, but for this episode the complaint is valid. Tara just isn’t interesting enough to make an entire episode about her and Oceanside. These stories should all be intertwined much earlier within each episode. This feels somewhat lazy on the part of the writers. Also, why is Tara so cool regarding Heath’s whereabouts? Doesn’t it seems like he was kidnapped? Despite this disappointing episode, I’m still looking forward to the final two episodes in 2016.