Monday Morning Coffee

September 5, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsSeptember 7th, 2015

You’re trying not to overreact but you can’t help it.  You’re trying not to be prisoner of the moment but it’s too late.  You’re trying to keep it in your pants, but your pants are off.  True freshman quarterback Josh Rosen was that good in his debut for UCLA against Virginia on Saturday.  Rosen went 28-35 for 351 yards and 3 TD’s in the Bruins blowout win.  Rosen actually told teammates that the game felt slower than he thought it would be.  Look….the sample size is small, but that’s all we have to go on, so we might as well talk about it.  Rosen’s debut was equally as good as Brett Hundley’s, and he’s got the tools to be better than him.  In fact, he looks more like Cade McNown, who was an absolute stud in the 90’s.  The Bruins have some great talent on both sides of the ball, but at the end of the day, it’s going to depend on how this kid performs against the elite.  That’s something that Jim Mora and the Bruins have’t been able to do in recent years.  Maybe now they finally have the piece to get them over the hump.

As for the Trojans, they bombed Arkansas State 55-6 at the Coliseum on Saturday night.  I hope Arkansas State cashed the check they received from USC before they got off the plane, because they earned it for coming all the way out here for that beat down.  Cody Kessler’s accuracy wasn’t exactly as good as it’s been, and neither was the Trojan offensive line, but USC came up with some big plays throughout.  These early games are more about impressing the voters with big margins of victory and surviving injury.  USC was very luck with the latter, as sophomore standout Adoree Jackson suffered an abdominal strain early on and didn’t return.  The injury doesn’t appear to be serious, and Jackson can probably even sit out next week to recover before Stanford comes to town in two weeks.  USC might have a better chance than I thought of starting 4-0, except with Stanford and Arizona State laying eggs early, that might not hold that much weight with the voters.

Elsewhere in college football, My Fighting Irish of Notre Dame beat up on Texas 38-3, except they lost starting running back Tarean Folston to a season ending knee injury.  That means Josh Adams is going to have to do a lot more of what he did on Saturday.  For at least one week, it was nice to see the Irish not be their own worst enemy, turning the ball over time after time.  Malik Zaire was pretty accurate, and off to a good start as the new Irish quarterback.  It’s easy to forget that Notre Dame started 6-0 last year before imploding.  Other than UCLA, USC, and Oregon, the Pac-12 was a disaster.  Not only did ASU and Stanford blow it in their first game, Washington and Washington State laid eggs as well, while Arizona survived against UTSA.  Michigan is probably bad enough to lose to the 49ers.  The highlight of the weekend though was the ending to BYU-Nebraska.  The non-alcoholic beers were flowing in Utah after this…….

Speaking of football, we’re now just 4 days away from the start of the NFL season.  I’m sure Roger Goodell is now going to suspend Judge Berman’s NFL Red Zone channel for the first 4 weeks of the season, after he overturned Tom Brady’s suspension.  I wasn’t a fan of either side in this whole deflate gate debacle, but it’s amusing to see Goodell’s authority overruled.   I guess the Patriots had to release Reggie Wayne because he had trouble adjusting to catching deflated footballs.  This was actually the last weekend until February of 2016 that the Browns, Raiders, Jets, and Redskins will be in first place.  Trent Richardson was cut by the Raiders, potentially ending his NFL career.  Rumor has it that while cleaning out his locker, it took him 14 attempts to carry his stuff 20 yards to the parking lot.  Speaking of players getting cut,  Maybe Tim Tebow was cut for all of our sins? I actually thought he played well enough to be the Eagles #3 QB, but apparently Chip Kelly didn’t think so.  It’s too bad the media circus that surrounds the guy ultimately hurts him, because he seems like he can be a serviceable NFL player.  Now there’s rumors the Eagles are interested in Christian Ponder.  Obviously they feel that they just had the wrong “Christian”.

To baseball, where I’m actually going to be positive about the Dodgers for just a few moments.  They have basically wrapped up the NL West after winning 11 of their last 13, and thanks to some absolutely brilliant pitching by Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.  Look, if these two guys are absolutely flawless in the postseason, they could actually end up in the World Series.  The problem is the margin for error is just too small.  Once the bullpen gets involved aside from Kenley Jansen, it’s an automatic loss.   I also don’t buy for one second that Matt Harvey won’t pitch in the postseason against LA.  Speaking of Matt’s, Matt Latos is like the 2nd coming of Joe Blanton, and at this rate, shouldn’t even be allowed to watch the Dodgers on TV in the postseason, let alone be on the roster.  The Dodgers also need to find a way to get Chase Utley in the lineup regularly, even when Howie Kendrick returns from the DL.   I sure love what I’m seeing from Corey Seager so far.  If the Dodgers value Seager and Julio Urias so much, they should be called up now to give them a chance to make an impact when the team needs it most.

As for the Angels, they aren’t dead yet, but they are definitely on life support.  They’ve won 4 of their last 5, and are only 2.5 games out of the 2nd wild card spot in the AL.  The problem now is what lies ahead.  They are going to have to face Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke for the next two nights, while 17 of their last 26 games are against teams in contention.  They are also likely to face King Felix and the Mariners one or two more times.  In addition to that, there’s a 10 game road trip in there, and only Andrew Heaney has been a reliable road starter.  Every other starter on the team has an ERA over 4.00 or higher on the road.  In other words, you probably shouldn’t be planning on saving up for those Halos playoff tickets.

This has to be the worst misjudged fly ball in Major League History……….

I loved hearing the Shaq and Kobe podcast last week, in which they reminicsed about their 3 championships with the Lakers.  These guys were so different yet so similar in many ways.  They have a very different style of doing things, but together, they were incredibly successful.  I don’t think there’s any doubt that they left a championship or two on the table when they broke apart.  While Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan were the most successful duo in NBA history, Kobe and Shaq were by far the most dominant, since there never really were two alphas like that on the same squad.  It also goes to show you that you don’t actually have to like the person you are working with.  You simply have to have a good enough working relationship and respect them to be successful.  It’s a shame they couldn’t keep that relationship together for longer, but deep down, they both have some regrets about that.

Finally, some news on the LA Kings.  They are currently in the midst of trying to negotiate a contract extension with arguably their best player, center, Anze Kopitar.  Kopitar and the Kings are currently very far apart on a deal, and we’re talking at least a few million per season.  He’s due to become a free agent next summer, and says he won’t negotiate during the season, which starts in a month.  In other words, he may want close to the $10 million per season average that Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are making.  LA has to find a way to keep this guy, or else their days of Stanley Cup contention are over.  There are three cornerstone players on the Kings.  He is one of them, along with Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick.  His offensive numbers may be slipping, but much of that is due to the very defensive system that he plays in.  He is a very valuable two-way player, and still one of the more underrated in the league.  If the Kings don’t come up with a deal, someone will break the bank for him next summer.  This is one situation that should make Kings fans very nervous for the next few months.








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