UCLA is now faced with the sad realization that Karl Dorrell did a better coaching job than Rick Neuheisel has done. However, Neuheisel is a much better snake oil salesman. When Dorrell's teams lost, he would often stand at the lectern like a sleepy deer caught in the headlights. Neuheisel points out the good things that the team did, even though they may have lost badly. He assures the listeners that the team is improving, and that they will win more games in the future. After his next loss, he simply repeats the speech. This has saved his job, so far.
The new Trojan football team gave a good account of themselves in their hard-fought loss up at Stanford. I do not think that their coaching staff served them well in the game.
While the team plays hard, they are still very prone to penalties, fumbles and other mistakes. This means that it is unlikely for them to drive the length of the field to score a touchdown. Therefore, it is my opinion, that the best strategy for them is to throw long passes straight down the field. Instead, what they do is to complete sideline passes, before the receiver has reached the line of scrimmage. I do not know when they started using these kinds of passes, but I have observed that they usually don't work. In addition, if one of them gets intercepted, it often results in a touchdown for the opposition. A better game strategy, again in my opinion, would have been for Matt Barkley to throw most of his passes for 20 yards or more, and to supplement that effort by giving the ball to Allen Bradford for at least 20 running plays. Also, when they scored with a little over a minute left in the game against Stanford, it probably would have been a better strategy for them to try an onside kick. They would have had a better chance of recovering it, than they had in stopping the powerful Stanford team.
Of the about 120 teams playing in Division 1 of the NCAA, the USC defensive team is rated at 100. There is the suggestion that there are 99 other schools with better players than USC. I hearby challenge that assertion. USC has that low ranking because the great athletes at that school are not being properly coached on defensive techniques. The responsibility for their lack of success in this area is Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin. I do not expect, or wish, that USC or any other team would go undefeated year after year. However, whether they win or lose, it is always interesting to note how well they played.
Monte was highly regarded as a Defensive Coordinator in the NFL. But what he was doing for the pros may not work at the collegiate level. Irrespective of what their won-loss is at the end of the season, if their defensive rating has not improved, then USC should get a new Defensive Coordinator.
Randy Moss is still one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL. However, he wore out his welcome with the Oakland Raiders, and later with the Boston Patriots. They have just traded him to the Minnesota Vikings. Moss has the reputation for not playing well, when he is unhappy or sulking. The Patriots valued his talent, but not his attitude. His present contract will end this year. He would like to have a new contract, with a three-year guarantee. Regrettably for him, and that is not likely to happen. Moss is a great talent, but he is approaching the time of his career, where the bad side of him outweighs the good.
It seems a little strange, but the Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum is the only real baseball star in the entire state. Help! Or, did I overlook someone who is playing for the Athletics, Dodgers, Angels, or Padres? The Giants finally disposed of the Braves, and they will play the powerful Phillies in the National League Championship Game. The Giants have had a Cinderella season, but unfortunately for them, midnight is rapidly approaching. The team has an outstanding pitching staff, but the quality of their hitters leaves much to be desired. The Phillies not only have an impressive pitching staff, they also have a fearsome array of outstanding hitters. There just is not any way that the Giants can defeat them. Or could they? There are always many surprises in sporting events. That is why hope springs eternal, and why they play the games.
If you can think of someone who was a major athletic star more than 10 years ago, but who has mostly been forgotten by the public. You are probably thinking of someone who has not only been forgotten, but who is also experiencing severe financial difficulties. From time to time, you hear about them. The good news is that they may be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The most common news is that they are in poor health, or facing foreclosure or bankruptcy. Some of them earned a lot of money, but most of them spent more than they made, and in the end they have had to face the consequences.
The Rose Bowl is going to spend about $150 million to modernize that facility. It will have all of the state-of-the-art gadgets, including an increased number of luxury suites.
UCLA will soon be playing their games in one of the most glamorous stadiums in the world. This means that USC will have to work with the Coliseum Commission to upgrade the Coliseum. That is not likely to happen soon. The Galen Center was finally built about 40 years after UCLA built Pauley Pavilion. So, even if there was no opposition to improving the decrepid old Coliseum, it will be difficult for the political nincompoops who run it to agree on a workable plan. An updated Coliseum could be a big income producer for the city. If it was marketed properly, they could probably be a huge event scheduled there for every week of the year. The weather here is beautiful, and it will soon be connected to the light rail grid. There are millions of reasons to do this, as soon as possible, but regrettably that will not be the case.