November 29, 2021
I don’t know how USC pulled it off. Their coaching search looked like it was sinking faster than the Titanic, yet they managed to lure Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma. Riley is easily a top 5 coach in College Football, and has already been high-jacking five star recruits for USC before I finished writing this paragraph. I asked myself immediately why he would leave Oklahoma, but then it made sense. He can make way more money in LA, and he won’t have to deal with a more difficult conference Oklahoma will be moving to in the SEC. Riley’s first two season at Oklahoma resulted in two CFP appearances and two Heisman Trophy Winners. In other words, I don’t think the turnaround at USC is going to take that long. More importantly though, whether you love USC or hate them, the Pac-12 needs USC to be elite again, because without them the conference is completely worthless, and seen and somewhat of a joke. In a matter of hours, all that has changed and USC might actually be back in no time.
To the NFL, where the Rams are suddenly a disaster. It’s officially time to panic. This team is top heavy, and it’s finally catching up with them. The defense has regressed, we were told the offense had to be fixed, but Matthew Stafford doesn’t seem to be the answer. Whether that’s because he’s hurt or because he’s really a Detroit Lion is hard to know, but it’s a problem. The Rams need Stafford to be the elite QB they thought he was going to be. Stafford might even be making the defense worse because he can’t possess the ball. Every TD is off a big play. They also don’t have as good of a running game as they used to with Cam Akers sidelines because of injury. The Packers played like an elite team yesterday, and the Rams looked totally lost. You can have all the stars you want but 3/4ths of the game is played by role players. Right now, it looks like many of those role players for the Rams just aren’t very good. That means the stars better be about 10x better than they have been if the Rams have any hope of turning things around.
Are the Chargers good? Because every time I watch them they aren’t good, yet everyone has been trying to tell me they are really good. I believe “most talented roster in the NFL” was how many of you described it. The most talented team in the NFL shouldn’t be losing to the Broncos. The entire team is Justin Herbert at this point. If he’s lights out they can hang with anybody. If he’s not, they just aren’t very good. That doesn’t sound like the best roster in the NFL. It’s not going to get any easier next Sunday when the Bolts visit the red hot Cincinnati Bengals. It already feels like the Chiefs have wrestled the division away from everybody else anyway.
The Lakers are playing like a team that is trying to get their coach fired. They may have beaten Detroit yesterday, but they still look terrible. This is not Frank Vogel’s fault at all, but when you lose to teams like Sacramento and Oklahoma City and blow massive leads, the head coach is sure to take the blame. I was told that Russell Westbrook was here to carry the Lakers when Lebron was out. Lebron was out, and Russ probably couldn’t carry a bag of groceries right now, let alone the Lakers. Since that is the case, I’m not sure what he’s doing here. This is poor roster construction on Rob Pelinka. The team is old, not very durable, poor defensively and has almost immovable parts. To make matters worse, the schedule is only going to get tougher. I don’t see how this team is going to improve at all, and the burden is only going to increase on Lebron and AD, which will make them even more susceptible to injury. We saw that last night where Lebron seemed to re-aggravate his abdominal injury, even though he claims he’s good. Can’t say I’m very optimistic about this team at the moment.
I don’t know how the Clippers could possibly be unhappy with their start to the season, even after losing to the Warriors. They were 4th in the West heading into Sunday, and over .500 on the season. They are clearly taking advantage of the fact that teams like the Lakers, Blazers, Nuggets, and Mavericks can’t seem to get out of their own way. I have my doubts that Kawhi will play this season, but you’ve gotta hand it to Paul George, who is putting up MVP numbers. He isn’t Steph Curry or Kevin Durant, but he would certainly get some MVP votes if the season ended today.
To baseball, where we are just a couple of days away from an MLB lockout. However, the Dodgers are vying for the services of Max Scherzer and Corey Seager before then. The noise surrounding Scherzer is that he might actually be going to the Mets, which would be a shocker. It’s hard to say what Seager will do, but considering that Scott Boras is the agent for both we know how this will go. Boras is such a tough negotiator, he probably wouldn’t even give his own mother a discount if he were selling her toilet paper. I’m all for bringing these two back, and I love the fact it sounds like Andrew Friedman is being aggressive. However, I’d hate to see a 3-year or 4-year deal for a 37-year old pitcher, or a 10 year deal for a dude like Seager. As great as these guys are, they won’t be durable for that long. What’s wrong with me? 5 years later it’s like I’ve become Andrew Friedman and Andrew Friedman has become me. Plus, a lockout and a shortened season might not be the worst thing in the world for the Dodgers, who benefit pretty well from it the last time we had a short season.
As for the Angels, they are also in on Scherzer, but I’m thinking Marcus Stroman seems like a good fit for them. Arte Moreno is the kind of guy who would try to stick it to Billy Eppler, and he knows he needs pitching, so I could see him telling Perry Minasian to overpay, just to stick it to Eppler. I’m sure the Angels are doing everything they can to make a splash, and they probably will. The real question is if that splash will lead to any real substance on the field. That remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, UCLA Football took down Cal over the weekend to finish 8-4. That’s it folks 8-4. Say what you will about it not being a bad season, but I’m not paying Chip Kelly $5 million a year to go 8-4 and make it to the Alamo Bowl once every 4 years. That is mediocrity at it’s best, and not what UCLA signed up for when they brought in Kelly. Even when Kelly was asked if he wanted a contract extension by Ben Bolch, he really sounded like he could care less if he got one or not. I’ve never really felt like his heart was in it from day one. Plus you can be sure that next year will be a rebuilding year for Chip Kelly, after he loses a bunch of seniors and starters. Sadly, Kelly will probably stay another year as a lame duck coach because starting your coaching search in January is like showing up to a New Years party after midnight.
That wasn’t the most ideal week for UCLA Basketball, after losing to Gonzaga in embarrassing fashion. However, things weren’t as bad as they seemed. If you take out the first 10 minutes of the game, the Bruins played the Bulldogs pretty evenly. That’s not bad considering the offense was totally out of rhythm, and the defense was never sharp. Mick Cronin nearly predicted this would happen though, after watching his team put together some sloppy victories in the days before the matchup with Gonzaga. I think come March the Bruins could fare much better, but they will definitely need to get Cody Riley back healthy again. There was a major size advantage that Gonzaga had, which will need to be neutralized. UCLA rebounded nicely on Saturday with a blowout win vs UNLV, so things aren’t as bad as they might have seemed.
Finally, The Bachelorette is down to four contestants after last week. We’re down to Nayte, Rodney, Brendan, and Joe. I thought Michelle should have kept Clayton, but he’ll probably end up as the next Bachelor. Is Michelle from Minnesota? I had no idea…..I mean the producers only mention this every two minutes on the show. I have to be honest, this season just doesn’t have enough drama to be interesting. Michelle is a nice, no-nonsense woman, who really hasn’t done much wrong. At this point we usually hate the bachelorette and all the contestants, say we’ll never watch again, and then come back the following season. This time it’s different. There’s just not enough drama, but also not enough drama to keep it interesting. Funny how that works doesn’t it?