September 1st, 2014
It was ugly, but UCLA got it done. The Bruins escaped their matchup with Virginia on Saturday, to open the season 1-0, and avoid a complete disaster. I know what most of you are thinking: the Bruins are overrated, they shouldn’t be ranked the #7 team in the country, the offensive line stinks, and Brett Hundley isn’t a Heisman Trophy candidate. While it’s probably easy to be concerned after week 1, don’t become prisoner of the moment. UCLA was missing two starters on the offensive line, and without them, not even a condom could provide these lineman with adequate protection. The Bruins still have two weeks to go before facing Texas, and more than three weeks to prepare for their first Pac-12 game against ASU. Keep in mind, two years ago, Notre Dame went undefeated before the BCS Championship game, and played every game close. Sometimes, the sign of a good team is one that can win when they aren’t at their best, and UCLA showed us that on Saturday.
Meanwhile, at the Coliseum, the Trojans hammered Fresno State 52-13. This game had a nice warm and fuzzy feeling for USC fans, who had to feel like they were watching the Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart team pile up points. I’m not sure if that was really Cody Kessler at quarterback for the Trojans, or Joe Montana. Kessler threw for 394 yards and 4 touchdowns, while rushing for another. 10 different Trojans caught passes in Sark’s new offense, including freshman JuJu Smith, who had 4 receptions for 123 yards. Javorius Allen also had 133 yards rushing and a TD. Watching Sark’s uptempo offense was like playing Playstation against my 5 year old nephew. It’s only a few days from now when we’ll find out if this win actually means anything, because the Trojans will be visiting those corporately sponsored, Chardonnay drinking, Stanford Cardinal. USC is only going to go as far as their freshman take them.
As for all the off the field shenanigans that took place this week, this is the world of college football today. It’s so easy to forget that we are watching 19 and 20 year old kids learning to grow up. I’ve always said that college isn’t completely about getting an education (I’m sure the NCAA would agree with that statement), but also about learning about yourself. Nobody really knows what Josh Shaw was doing jumping off a balcony, and spraining both ankles in the process. However, it’s safe to say whatever he was doing, was idiotic because he needed to lie about it. Even more idiotic were the accusations made by senior running back Anthony Brown, who called coach Steve Sarkisian a racist before quitting the team. It seems highly improbable that a well respected man who has coached college football for the last 15 years could be a racist. Tough way for Sark to begin the job at USC, but being able to handle this nonsense is a huge part of the job, and he obviously handled it well this week. So did the person that made this sign…..
Elsewhere in week 1 on the college gridiron, Notre Dame looked very sharp in their win over Rice. Getting Everett Golson back as their starting quarterback already looks like it’s making a world of a difference. I expect another wild finish next week against Michigan. Kenny Hill looks like he’s going to be even better than Johnny “Middle Finger”, and Texas A&M should be a top 10 team. Alabama is going to lose some games this year, Florida State doesn’t look as good as last year, but their schedule is pretty easy.
On to baseball, where the Angels have caught fire. Did you Halo fans really think that on September 1st, you would have a 5 game lead in the AL West? After the Garrett Richards injury, it felt like the Angels were going to have a funeral for the rest of their season, but it’s been quite the opposite since. The Halos have won 5 in a row after a 4 game sweep over Oakland, in a series where they held the A’s to just 1 run in their last 31 innings. Matt Shoemaker came out of nowhere to win 14 games as a starter, and the Angels pitching has held up. All you need to know about the A’s and Angels right now is that prior to yesterday’s game, the Angels were preparing for their fantasy football draft, while the A’s were having a team meeting. I like how the A’s traded for Adam Dunn yesterday, because they are so desperate for offense. Apparently nobody listened to me weeks ago when I called them foolish for trading their cleanup hitter for Jon Lester, who would be a three month rental. Last I checked you can’t win if you don’t score. I believe you can tie though.
Speaking of inability to score, the Dodgers’ bats were nowhere to be found for much of the weekend in San Diego. Once again, the pitching and the bullpen were solid, but LA couldn’t get any offense going against the lowly Padres. Even more concerning is the fact the Dodgers lead in the NL West has been cut to 2.5 games with 25 left to play. I think the Dodgers are going to win the west, but come October, it’s going to come down to whether or not Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzales, and Yasiel Puig can produce. Speaking of Puig, does anybody know what happened to his power? He looked like a superstar for the first half of the season, but in the 2nd half he’s looked like nothing more than “just a guy” in the lineup. Puig and all his overpaid teammates need to get it together and start producing some offense.
Doc Rivers just pulled a fast one on Steve Ballmer. Somehow, he managed to get his new owner to pay him $10 million a year for the next 5 years. Look, I like Doc Rivers, and I think he’s a great coach, but he isn’t worth $4 million more than Greg Popovich. He also isn’t worth $6 million more than Rick Carlisle, Tom Thibodeau, and $7 million more than Erik Spoelstra. When you really think about it, the Clippers currently have the best team in the history of their franchise, the two best players currently playing in the history of the franchise, and the best coach in the history of the franchise, yet they haven’t been able to make it out of the 2nd round of the playoffs yet. Do you really expect them to be any better next year? That concept should be pretty scary for Clipper fans.
Are you ready…..for some football? We’re just three days away from the start of the NFL season, and that means it’s time for some predictions. In the AFC, my division winners are the Denver, New England, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati, while my wild card teams are San Diego and Pittsburgh. In the NFC, my division winners are Seattle, New Orleans, Green Bay, and Philadelphia, with my wild card teams being Chicago, and San Francisco. I will also take Seattle over Denver again in the Super Bowl. As long as the Seahawks have home field, they will not be beaten. If the Saints get home field, then it’s a different story. The Broncos are the first team in history to have clinched their division without actually playing a game. The Patriots will probably get back to the AFC title game, but Andrew Luck and the Colts will be tugging on Tom Brady’s cape. The Cowboys, Raiders, and Texans will all stink, and you can count on a handful of players in the AFC north getting arrested before December.
For those of you considering taking Adrian Peterson in your fantasy draft be careful! Clearly, Peterson is suffering from concussion like symptoms, since he said to Jerry Jones that he would be interested in playing for the Cowboys. Gotta love Roger Goodell changing the NFL’s disciplinary policy on domestic abuse after the public outrage over the Ray Rice situation. Even after increasing the suspension for domestic abuse incidents, it’s still nothing in comparison to the penalty for smoking pot. In other words, the NFL wants to remind you to hit your girlfriend, and not the bong. And poor Michael Sam. Where is he supposed to shower now?
And finally, I had the misfortune of being selected as a juror last week for a criminal trial here in Newport Beach. Like most people, I tried to make up ridiculous excuses to avoid being selected, but the judge just wasn’t buying it. However, after going through the miserable jury selection process, the case itself was somewhat interesting, and it’s good to see how our legal process works. What I really mean by that is, it’s good to see how your tax paying dollars are going to waste. I actually had to sit on a criminal case for three days because a few 16 year old kids decided to go play “ding-dong ditch” and urinate on a guys house in South Orange County. Oh, and it wasn’t the kids who were the defendants in the case either. It was the home owner, who chased the kids down with a gun(allegedly), and smacked a kid over the head. The district attorney actually thought this was a good case to waste our tax paying dollars on. A case in which the testimony of three 16 year old kids (whose idiotic stories weren’t even the same) was their primary argument. More importantly, did anybody actually play “ding-dong ditch” at 16 years old? I thought most of us guys were out hitting on girls then. Those kids must be the biggest losers in the history of high school.