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Sports Watching & Wondering

African American news from Pasadena - Sports - Commentary on football, basketball and moreIs this the sports capital of the world, or what? So many games. So many great athletes. So much fun.

UCLA has made a big comeback. They are now ranked 25 In the AP Poll, and they will be playing number 24 ranked Arizona in the Rose Bowl on Saturday. This is the same Arizona Team that just defeated the Trojans. It will be up to the "gutty little" Bruins to keep the Wildcats from sweeping Southern California.

In addition, if UCLA's quarterback Brett Hundley continues to perform at his present pace, he will receive more votes for the Heisman Trophy than USC's Matt Barley. Neither of them is going to actually win it, but Hundley, who came from nowhere, already has better numbers. Barkley has thrown 25 touchdowns, while Hundley has passed only 18. However, Hundley has also rushed five touchdowns, and Barkley has not rushed for any.

Barkley has more experience, and at this point in his career, he is the more accurate passer. However, Hundley is a better athlete, runs much faster, and he has a much stronger throwing arm. As great as Barkley is, he is short and slow, and that is something that cannot be fixed. The entire nation will be watching the game between the Bruins and the Trojans later this year. The Bruins are coming fast, and the Trojans are trying to hold on to what they believe is theirs.African American news from Pasadena - Sports Commentary

USC is still smarting from their defeat against Arizona last weekend. Their loss was surprising, if not shocking. The Trojans have better personnel than the Arizonans, and they should have been able to eke out a win. Losing that game was not entirely Barkley's fault. Coach Kiffin deserves a share of the blame.

In their loss to the Wildcats, the Trojans were penalized a record 13 times for 117 yards. The Wildcats were penalized just once. This excessive number of penalties is simply an indication that the Trojans are not properly taught the fundamentals of football, and that they are also undisciplined. Coach Kiffin himself is so undisciplined that USC has assigned several babysitters to watch him. His approach to the penalty problem is to have his players watch a videotape of them, after the game is over. That approach does not sound very smart to me. USC and the Kiffin's are in a bad relationship. All of the parties involved know this, and against all odds, they are trying to make it work.

The Oregon Ducks are a scary team. They play faster than anyone else, and they score at will. It is not easy to understand how they do what they do, but they appear to be invincible. They are also the best dressed team in college football. It has been reported that they have 50 uniforms to choose from. They are gifts from Nike, whose president, graduated from Oregon. He has been very generous to the school, in terms of financial support, and other promotional efforts. There was a time, in the not too distant past, when Oregon and Oregon State University would lose to either UCLA or USC by scores of about 60-0. As far as local Fans are concerned, those were the good old days.

The Lakers have added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to their roster. This may give them a reasonable opportunity to win an NBA Championship. However, I look for the team to get off to a slow, frustrating start. It may take them as many as 25 games to find their Mojo. If they do get off to a slow start, their Fans will be upset, and they will do some serious complaining. There is also a strong possibility that there will be serious friction between Bryant and Howard, with Coach Brown caught in the middle.

The Clippers should get off to a fast start, since most of their pieces are in place from last year. Chris Paul, will simply not allow them to not play well. Lamar Odom needs to be ready to go when the bell rings. If he gets off to a slow start, they may cut him from the team. So, the Clippers may be his last chance to stay in the NBA. In the past, some teams were willing to overlook the fact that he did not play hard every game. He had a lot of potential, and there was always the hope that he would play consistently better. That ship has sailed, and he now needs to play every game as if it is his last, or he will likely not be allowed to finish this season.

A Note to the Angels, and the Dodgers. Both the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants made the MLB Playoffs. The Giants continued their winning ways, and they also won the World Series. Both of the Northern California Teams have very small payrolls, when compared to the local ones. How they get so much for so little is puzzling, and how we get so little for such large salaries is difficult to fathom. It appears that they get value for the money that they spend. At this point, I had better offer my congratulations to the Giants, or my daughter, Joan will punish me.

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