September 8th, 2014
It was an ugly game in Palo Alto on Saturday afternoon. It was uglier than a USC freshman getting initiated into a fraternity. It also took an ejection, and Pat Haden coming onto the field, but the Trojans got it done, beating Stanford in the Bay Area for the first time since 2008. Heading to one of the commercial breaks in the first half, ABC played the song “Turn Down For What”, which was quite fitting since neither team could get much offense going. The Trojan defense was resilient though. It felt like the Cardinal spent half the game in USC territory, but just when you thought Kevin Hogan was going to put the Trojans away, he began to look more like Brooke Hogan. Stanford was inside SC’s 30 yard line 9 times, yet they only scored twice. USC didn’t exactly set the world on fire either with their offensive production, but they did show enough character and toughness to make you believe they will be a serious contender in the Pac-12 South.
Ok Trojan fans, I get it, you’re pumped and you should be. But some USC fans are acting like we all thought their team was going to be some pile of crap this year. USC won 10 games last year, despite all the turmoil. They hammered Fresno State, and got by Stanford on the road, two teams that they happened to beat last season. In fact, up until the last two games of the season against UCLA and Notre Dame, the Trojans should be favored on paper. They haven’t done anything yet to shock us. If anything, I’d be concerned with the hot and cold offense we saw in the first two weeks of the season. As the Trojans continue their conference schedule, that could be an issue.
Speaking of issues, UCLA has a ton of them. They survived another scare against a crummy team, beating Memphis 42-35 at the Rose Bowl Saturday night. It looked like UCLA solved most of their problems on offense, only to start a whole set of new ones on the defensive side of the ball. Brett Hundley threw for 396 yards and 3 scores, Paul Perkins rushed for 98 yards and 2 scores, and the Bruins offensive line was much more effective. However, the defense looked like a bunch of high schoolers putting on the pads for the first time. The Bruins had to have missed more tackles over the weekend then total tackles they actually made. Memphis piled up 469 yards. The Bruins should have blown them off the field in the first quarter. The only good news is that UCLA is going to face a terrible Texas team that just took a beating from the Mormons. After that it’s going to get a lot tougher, and potentially much uglier. Here are the highlights and low lights from Saturday night……
I’d like to thank the Big 10 for participating in this years College Football Season, which is over for their conference after this weekend. What a failure. Notre Dame demolished Michigan 31-0, Oregon ripped Michigan State, and Ohio State got punked by Virginia Tech. This was the worst weekend in the state of Michigan since General Motors was bailed out by the government. Notre Dame looks great thus far, but their remaining schedule is brutal: half of their remaining games are against teams currently ranked in the top 25.
To baseball, where I think it’s safe to say the Angels have clinched the AL West, and shocked the baseball world after this weekend. The Halos completed a four game sweep of the Twins while the A’s continued to sink like the Titanic, by losing two of three to the Houston Astros. Even CJ Wilson deserves some credit, although most of you Halo fans would rather have him ejected from the universe right now. Wilson gave the Angels more than 6 strong innings, and despite a shaky stretch, still retired 13 out of 14. If the Halos offense is going to be even half as good as it was this weekend, the starting pitching can be as good as Wilson was yesterday. I know what some of you are thinking: “The Angels are peaking too early.” I disagree. By securing the division now, the Angels can ready their playoff rotation the way they want it, which will be critical for them since they no longer have the depth they once did with Garrett Richards.
As for the Dodgers, they continue to hold off the Giants in the NL West, after completing a 3 game sweep against the D’Backs. It feels like every time the Dodgers go into some losing streak or badly need a win, Arizona shows up on their schedule to save the day. LA finished the season series winning 15 of the 19 games between the two clubs. Adrian Gonzales and Matt Kemp are carrying the club offensively at this point, but these guys are going to need more support. Offensively the Dodgers have yet to click on all cylinders all season. Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez have yet to be hot when Kemp and Agon have it going, but that’s going to be critical down the stretch and into October. Not only do the Dodgers need to keep winning to hold off San Francisco and win the NL West, but they are in a race for home field advance in the NL Playoffs. Not having that last season was one of the deciding factors in losing the NLCS.
Andre Ethier must be losing his mind. At the beginning of the season, he was the Dodgers starting center fielder. Eventually, he lost his starting spot to Kemp, Puig, and Carl Crawford. Then, he lost his job as the Dodgers 4th outfielder to Scott Van Slyke. Over the weekend, Puig gets a stomach ailement, and rookie Joc Pederson, who couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat right now, gets the start in center field over Ethier. I realize that Ethier has had a disappointing season, but at some point the Dodgers are going to need this guy before the season is over. I’m not sure if Ethier slept with Don Mattingly’s wife, or insulted him in some other way, but it would be wise for Mattingly to find him some playing time and some at bats, so he doesn’t completely crush his confidence.
Finally, Week 1 of the NFL was a good one. Great shootout between the Falcons and Saints yesterday. Atlanta looks like they are back to a playoff team. I realize it’s a shock the Patriots lost in week 1, and that they are in last place in the AFC East, but the last time they lost in week 1 they won the Super Bowl. The Bills won, but I’ve been hearing “they’re back” for the last 10 years. I’m not sold after 1 road win in Chicago, or Minnesota after beating the Rams. The Chiefs look exactly how I thought they would. Brian Hoyer didn’t look that bad against the Steelers, which is unfortunate, because I was really hoping to see Johnny Football get his ass kicked in the next few weeks. At least we got to see Antonio Brown go Bruce Lee on the Browns…..
The Raiders still suck. Why do people think Tampa is going to bounce back this year? Josh McCown is awful. The Redskins don’t look too much improved from last year. The Texans did for a moment, until Jadeveon Clowney got hurt. I thought Chip Kelly was going to get fired at halftime of the Eagles vs Jaguars game, but good thing his boys rebounded in the 2nd half. And how could I forget the Cowboys and the 49ers. I thought Tony Romo was going to break Twitter from all the reactions after his awful play. This is where we all find out that Romo is really color blind right? The Cowboys look as bad as I thought they would be. Here’s Dez Bryant paying for Romo’s mistakes…..