October 2, 2017
Wow, USC is involved in another corruption scandal. Who could have seen this coming? This is about as surprising as Donald Trump insulting somebody. Assistant basketball coach Tony Bland is the culprit this time. On the bright side, this makes him an excellent candidate to be the Dean of the medical school, which is facing a scandal of its own. The corruption at USC is still at comedic levels a decade after the Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo violations, even after installing new leadership. However, the NCAA either needs to abolish their archaic rules and start paying student-athletes, or make these violations punishable by criminal law. I’m in favor of the former.
Speaking of the Trojans, on the field their sloppy play finally caught up with them. You would have thought that USC had Jesus Christ playing quarterback, the way everyone was talking about Sam Darnold. The Trojans could not convert a 3rd down to save their lives, and their offense is highly dependent on one or two explosive plays. That’s not good enough against a quality Top 15 opponent like the Cougars. I’m sure the story will be how much the injuries have hurt the team with no bye weeks, but this team looked questionable prior to being banged up. I can easily see a couple of more losses with this erratic group.
Meanwhile, the Bruins earned an underwhelming victory at Colorado. UCLA football success has been reduced to victories over mediocre programs in which they avoid embarrassment. This game was more of the same, characterized by hero ball from Josh Rosen, and a running game that has disappeared like Hilary Clinton. What’s very telling is that UCLA recruits three and four star players, while San Diego State takes the leftovers. That San Diego State team held Stanford to 17 points, while UCLA gave up 58 to them. This is all about coaching and it’s becoming more and more obvious that Jim Mora is the problem.
Elsewhere around college football, Notre Dame beat fake Miami (Ohio) over the weekend, which isn’t much to get excited about. The Irish still can’t figure things out when they face anybody ranked in the top 10. Meawhile, here’s an updated look at the rest of the college footballs rankings: 1. Alabama 2. Alabama’s backups 3. Alabama’s cheerleaders 4. Alabama’s practice squad 5. Clemson.
To the NFL, where I completely expected the Rams to get crushed like a grape against the Cowboys yesterday, but they proved me wrong. I thought the Rams could only win when they played the 49ers on Thursday night with those pajamas they wore last week. Instead, Todd Gurley looks like one of the best running backs in the NFL, and Jared Goff is finally commanding respect from defenses. In fact, Gurley faced 6 or fewer defenders in the box on 16 of his 23 rushing attempts. Goff isn’t Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers, but he’s not turning the ball over and making sound decisions. The Cowboys are a great team and the Rams deserve credit, but they did start 3-1 last season. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they took down Seattle next week, but I’m not exactly ready to call them the class of the NFC yet.
If the Chargers lose at home, but no Charger fans were actually there to see it, did it actually happen? The Bolts are 0-4, and their five fans are obviously very disappointed with their start. As usual, Stubhub Center was filled with Eagles fans, and many of the best seats in the house were completely empty. The Bolts look like a team loaded with talent, but they consistently come up short on offense, and are terrible at finishing games. That was once again the case yesterday. It’s not all bad news for the Chargers though. First of all they get to play Eli Manning and the Giants next week, who are just as terrible. They can look forward to seeing Eli have that “somebody shot my dog” look on his face with a victory. There’s also the idea that if they keep losing, this is an excellent year to get a high draft pick and draft a successor to Philip Rivers.
As for the rest of week 4 in the NFL, the Saints and Dolphins game in London was so atrocious, England is considering declaring war on the United States after such an act of terror. The Jets won a game and since they are supposed to be tanking, Todd Bowles will likely be fired after collecting two wins. Only the Browns could make the Bengals look like a Super Bowl team. If you threw something in the trash yesterday, you probably racked up more passing yards than Joe Flacco. The Raiders suck again. The Bills are 3-1 and the Lions look like one of the best teams in the NFL, so hell must have frozen over. Matt Ryan should never ever play receiver again……
The Dodgers begin the playoffs on Friday, and Dave Roberts claims he’s not intending to use Clayton Kershaw on short rest. That’s like going to a strip club and claiming your intention isn’t to get a lap dance. The Dodgers claim they have pitching depth but we know they will use Kershaw on short rest, which hasn’t worked in the past. October also means we can expect guys like Pedro Baez to blow games in the 7th and 8th, and for Kenley Jansen to be forced into ridiculous six-out save situations because the Dodgers don’t have any competent middle relievers. These are the nightmares of recent postseasons that have haunted LA, and are sure to haunt them again.
Then there’s the Angels, who missed the playoffs again. This is a good time to look back at Albert Pujols saying that he’s not concerned with the standings in April, but rather in September. Maybe if Albert decided to show up in April and start earning his $240 million, the Halos might have enough wins to actually be in the postseason. Everyone knows a win in April is one less you need in September. Everyone except Albert and Mike Scioscia.
The Lakers started the preseason on Saturday against the Wolves, but they got some severely disappointing news on Friday. Russell Westbrook signed a 5-year extension with the Thunder. Westbrook will likely go on a massive shopping spree at Hot Topic with his $205 million but there’s greater repercussions than that. That not only eliminates him as a potential free agent acquisition, but also hurts the Lakers’ chances of signing Lebron James and Paul George. This is just another example of why free agency by itself is a horrible way to build a team. It’s also an example of why it isn’t the best idea to give away young productive players like D’Angelo Russell for half a can of Diet Coke.
Finally, Hugh Hefner passed away at 91 last week. Has there ever been anybody who has had more fun in life than Hef? Every man in America could only dream of living a life like that. It was so fun, when he gets to heaven, he will wonder why it’s such a downgrade.