I was awestruck at the beauty of the Rose Parade. Did we ever have a more perfect day? The floats were spectacular, and the marching bands were sensational. There were large crowds of friendly people, who were enjoying their time in Pasadena.
Then it was time to play the game. Oregon versus Ohio State would be a game with intriguing matchups, and lively competition. So, let them begin. I was eager to watch the action, and I picked Oregon to win. They almost did but there was just too much Terrelle Pryor in the way. Still, there were enough thrills to make a very memorable day.
On Thursday night at the Rose Bowl, Alabama and Texas will meet in the BCS Championship Bowl. This game is more important to football purists, than the one that was played on New Year's Day. However, it seems to me that they are in danger of being football overkill. Neither of them are local teams, and while many of their fans will make the trip across country, I fear that the Rose Bowl will not have a sellout. I think that the national television ratings may be higher than those of the Oregon-Ohio State Game, but that the local fans are lukewarm about this game. Another local problem is that Thursday nights in this area are not traditional go to the football game nights. So, I think that this may be the last time that we will see two Bowl Games in this area within a week of each other.
USC has announced that the basketball program will forfeit wins and money, and they will not have any postseason play, and they will curtail recruiting. That will be a bitter pill for most of the basketball players to swallow. They agreed to attend USC, and they did not know that the sanctions would be put into place while they were there. Therefore, as I see it, their rights are being trampled. I do agree that someone needs to be punished, but not necessarily the players on the basketball team. They were not members of the USC basketball team when these infractions occurred. Therefore, in my opinion, they should not be punished at all. In a case like this, the players who want to transfer to another school should be allowed to do so.
I think that the families of the players should get themselves lawyered up, and then sue both the NCAA and USC. If, at this late date, USC decides to self sanction itself, then the players should be allowed to leave, and to immediately enroll at another school of their choice. Coaches are allowed to leave one team, even in the middle of the season to coach another one. However, players do not enjoy this right. I think that in such a lawsuit, the parents and students would prevail. I just don't think the way that the players are treated will stand up to good legal scrutiny. The current group of basketball players at USC, are in essence, being punished for something that happened before they started attending the school. In my opinion, this is not justice for them, and therefore it should be immediately and rigorously challenged.
Number me among those who were not surprised that Ron Artest suffered some injuries in his home. He has been in some kind of trouble with every NBA team that he has played for. I wonder why the Lakers thought he would be any different with them. If I had been running the Lakers, I would have kept the highly regarded Arizza, and then I would have tried to add Shane Battier and Grant Hill to the team. As long as Phil Jackson is the head coach, and Kobe Bryant is the star, I would not have any rookies on the team. For the most part, Jackson simply ignores the younger players. This leaves them to the tender mercy of ‘coach’ Kobe Bryant who feels free to criticize and yell at them whenever he feels like doing so. This leaves them confused, since they are afraid of Bryant, even if they don't agree with him. In addition, there aren't many people in Southern California who will call the talented Bryant a bully, but that is what he is. The entire Lakers Organization and most of the fans genuflect in his presence. This is now what he expects, and what he demands. He is now playing a game of cat and mouse with the Lakers, and indicating that he is at least considering not playing for them after his contract is over. I have some news for him, there is no other place else for him to go. He is playing in the beautiful Staples Center in front of adoring Hollywood stars. The entire organization is at his beck and call. He can make more money with the Lakers than with any other team. I think the reason that he has not already signed his new contract, is that he enjoys the attention and the drama. The team must be even more slavish in their devotion. He does make more winning shots than anyone else on the team, but he takes all of the shots at the end of the game, so no one else ever has the opportunity to make the winning basket. The good thing for the Lakers is that they have Kobe Bryant. The bad thing for the Lakers is that they have Kobe Bryant.
In retrospect, the team of Neuheisel and Chow have not done as well as Karl Dorrell did in his tenure as UCLA head football coach. A big part of Dorrell's problem was that he always seemed to be asleep at the switch. These guys seem to be working as hard as they can. Look for Alabama to win big.