November 28, 2022
As a Notre Dame alum, I had both the pleasure and misfortune of attending the USC-Notre Dame game at the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. It was a pleasure because it’s always a pleasure to see these storied programs go at it. However, the misfortune for me since the Trojans came away with the victory. Caleb Williams went from maybe not even being invited to the Heisman Trophy, to suddenly looking like he’s going to win it, in a matter of just two weeks. He was a magician out there, creating play after play with the pocket breaking down. It’s remarkable how great your team can be if you can have elite quarterback. That quarterback came from the arrival of an elite coach in Lincoln Riley. Which begs the question: why the hell did USC allow Clay Helton to coach them for seven years? I’m still of the opinion that if USC beats Utah and gets to the playoff, they will probably take a street beating from Georgia or Michigan. The Trojan defense is not stopping elite offenses, and their offensive line looks questionable. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to admit that USC being good again is great for College Football.
As for UCLA, they narrowly avoided what could have been a big let down against Cal, by defeating the Golden Bears in the Bay. You could tell from what DTR said before the game that the Bruins were practically uninterested in playing football after losing to USC, and knowing they’ll have to settle for something less than the Rose Bowl. Had they just beaten Arizona though, they might have had a decent shot at the game, assuming USC goes to the CFP. It’s pretty hard to get excited about the Sun Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl for the Bruins, especially after we were talking about a potential CFP appearance just three weeks ago.
As we expected, the Rams got dismantled by the Chiefs yesterday in Kansas City. There were just too many injuries for this team to stay competitive, let alone against an elite team like Kansas City. Things are so bad, Sean McVay may have even suffered a concussion in yesterday’s game. Starting Bryce Perkins at Quarterback in a game against Patrick Mahomes, is like going into a gun fight with a water pistol. Apparently Allen Robinson is now out for the season with a foot injury. I thought dude was basically out for the season with the way he was playing anyway. In case there was any doubt, this team is toast in 2022. Here is the Rams season summarized in one moment.
Meanwhile, the Chargers played most of yesterday like they slammed too much Turkey over Thanksgiving. They were down 24-17 in the 4th quarter, before Justin Herbert delivered a late game miracle for the victory. How is a defensive coach like Brandon Staley, able to consistently deliver terrible results on the defensive side of the ball, while also making idiotic in-game decisions? Had the two-point conversion failed at the end of the game, we would be roasting the man even more than we already do. Sean Payton would probably love to coach Herbert, but that would require the Spanos family paying big money for Payton, giving him team control, and the Spanos family eating some of the Staley contract. If you’re a Charger fan you probably have a better chance of getting $1 million from Santa this year.
To the NBA, where I’m still not going to get too excited about what I’ve seen from the Lakers yet. After a rough start, the Lakers are now 7-6 in their last 13 games, and in the West, that doesn’t put them far from being back in the playoff mix. Unfortunately, the Lakers can’t play the Spurs every game, even if they probably would like to ask the league if that’s possible. It’s true that Anthony Davis is playing elite basketball, but his availability is always in question, and the same can be said about Lebron James, who is still great, but misses games. Given how bad this team is, they can’t afford to have them miss games. It’s also completely unfair to ask them to play at a ridiculous level every night just to drag them into the playoffs. That’s a Rob Pelinka problem that he needs to address, but I’m not so confident that’s ever going to happen.
As for the Clippers, they took down the Pacers yesterday afternoon, but now the injuries are piling up again. Both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are out with injuries, along with Luke Kennard. The Clips have been so cautious with Kawhi, next time he gets a paper cut they will hold him out of the lineup, and Ty Lue will say there is no timetable for his return. This is bar far the softest era of NBA basketball, in terms of holding players out of the lineup with the most minor of injuries. Kawhi is clearly the face of that approach. The good news for the Clips and a lot of Western Conference teams: nobody is running away with things in the standings.
In baseball, for a team that is up for sale, you can’t help but be impressed by the resourcefulness of the Angels so far this offseason. They’ve actually added about $33 million to their 2023 payroll by adding Tyler Anderson, Gido Urshela, and Hunter Renfroe. The difference from most other off-seasons though is that the Angels are adding depth, and they had very little in the past few years. When the pitching has been bad, the offense has been bad and vice versa. Not sure if that will change this season, but you have to at least respect Perry Minasian trying something different.