September 3, 2018
If you’re a Trojan fan, the big question is what stage of denial are you in? Stage 1 is where you think you just played down to a mediocre UNLV team, but you are still playoff contenders. Stage 2 is where you think you’ll have some work to do, but you’ll probably be ok and win the Pac-12. Stage 3 is where you know Clay Helton is way in over his head and this team is going nowhere fast. Most sensible people should be somewhere between stage 2 and 3, and if you were at 1, you’ve probably been drinking at a fraternity house since Thursday night. The Trojans just gave up over 300 yards rushing to a crummy team. Imagine what will happen when they visit Stanford next week. USC has talent and JT Daniels looks nice, but unless he turns into Sam Darnold over night, things could get ugly for the Trojans over the next couple of weeks.
Then there’s UCLA, which started off the Chip Kelly era with a brutal loss to Cincinnati. I can’t say watching this team looked any different than watching a team coached by Jim Mora Jr. Kelly’s offense looked a lot more like the ineffective displays we saw from him in San Francisco and his last year in Philadelphia during his time in the NFL. The defense may have looked better, but I saw nothing that resembled the Chip Kelly that coached College Football years ago. Of course suspending six players before the game didn’t help either. Those six players probably were suspended for skipping out on the bill at a Chinese restaurant.
Elsewhere around College Football, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame renewed their rivalry with Michigan and got a big win to start the season. I think it’s safe to say it’s been a rough couple of weeks for Catholicism, so that victory was much needed. As for Michigan, not sure what’s happened to Jim Harbaugh. I guess he didn’t want to “show too much” against the Irish. He must be saving it all for that big game against Western Michigan. Ohio State beat up Oregon State, but the Urban Meyer debacle continues to make headlines. Meyer covers up domestic violence and receives a 3 game suspension. Josh Gordon smokes weed and was suspended for 2 seasons. The only similarities between the NFL and Ohio State is that they both pay their players. Alabama crushed Louisville, but Nick Saban is still acting like a lunatic.
To the NFL, where the Rams finally got a deal done with Aaron Donald, who will be swimming in money after being guaranteed $87 million. As if that wasn’t enough good news, they also learned that John Gruden has no idea what he’s doing in Oakland, trading Khalil Mack to Chicago. That means the Rams won’t have to face Mack when they open the season next week in Oakland. Gruden is going to need to hire some body guards after Raider fans found out what he did. The Rams look amazing on paper, but that’s the scary thing, NFL games aren’t played on paper. The only thing that can go wrong is what’s gone wrong for teams that have had this much hype behind them to start the season. Only time will tell, however, not playing any starters in the preseason may not have been the smartest idea. The Rams weren’t all that effective in the playoffs when resting their starters in the final regular season game last year. We’ll see how effective the starters are come one week from today.
In baseball the Dodgers had a quite a dramatic series against the D’Backs over the weekend. Both teams along with the Rockies look like they are headed for a very close finish in the NL West. If there’s one thing we learned over the weekend it’s that the Dodger starters should be pitching a lot longer into games, regardless of what the analytics say. The bullpen has been so horrible, each reliever only has one pitch: the home run ball. Great idea however, by Elon Musk to create an underground mode of transportation to Dodger Stadium. That way the relievers can quickly exit the building when they embarrass themselves on a nightly basis. The solution for this team over the last month is to use two starters per night. They clearly have enough good starting pitching to do so, but not enough quality relievers. That should make it easier to get the ball to Kenley Jansen. I’m just not so sure the computer will approve of this move. Nevertheless, great heroics by Matt Kemp for two days in a row, and an even better update to Archie Bradley’s Wiki page!
The Angels season ended long ago, and they have been playing meaningless games for quite some time. However, I will never understand some of the things Mike Scioscia does. He says that Shohei Ohtani will get much better as he gets more at-bats against left handed pitching. Since these games mean nothing, why isn’t he giving him more of those at-bats? Instead, Scioscia has been committed to putting him back on the mound, which means potentially putting him back on the operating table. This franchise badly needs to move on from the Scioscia and Albert Pujols era. The latter seems harder to achieve given the years left on his deal. This offseason though, the Halos need to find a Manager that can co-exist with the modern day data drive front offices, and one who has achieved success. The guy that comes to mind would be Joe Girardi.
To the NBA where I’m very disappointed in the way the Lakers handled the Luol Deng situation. Finally, the Lakers elected to waive Deng on Saturday, meaning his enormous salary will remain on the books for the next four seasons. Yes, getting rid of Deng means the Lakers will be able to afford 1 max player next summer. However, they still would have had an opportunity to trade his entire salary off their books next summer, probably by giving up a single 1st round pick at that point. Doing that would mean not only adding a max player next summer, but also another quality player for $10 million. I’ve gotta think you could find some good ring chasers that want to play with Lebron at that price. I’m also not really sure why the Lakers have been treating Deng like he’s Smush Parker or Kwame Brown. Sure he’s aged, but it’s not like the man can’t play basketball.
Hockey season is just around the corner as NHL training camps open up in about a week. I had the privilege of attending the LA Kings State of The Franchise event last week. During that event the Kings had several broadcasters and alumni signing autographs. One of those alumni was Brandon Convery. I have been a Kings fan for 27 years. Why the hell haven’t I heard of this guy? That’s because he played a whole 3 games for the team back in the 1998-1999 season. The Kings really couldn’t get anybody else for this event? Sean Avery, Jeremy Roenick, Dan Cloutier, or some other useless alumni wasn’t available?
Finally, I got a great laugh out of all the morons that decided they are going to boycott In-N-Out Burgers, after it was revealed they donated to the Republic Party. You can absolutely hate Donald Trump, but the fact that anyone wouldn’t go eat somewhere because the restaurants political beliefs are different from their own is a new level of narrow mindedness. I guess some people have lost their damn minds and are ok with it. If that’s the case, they better be prepared to boycott plenty of other establishments and services that they frequent.