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Sports Watching & Wondering

African American news from Pasadena - Sports Commentary - Sports Watching and Wondering - baseball, football and moreLane Kiffin and the Trojans were dreaming of Heisman Trophies and a BCS Championship. They overlooked the fact that they had to play against Stanford. They were upset, and they are having trouble dealing with the reality of that fact. I think that Kiffin is an elite Recruiter, but that he is not yet an elite Head Football Coach. The path they have for the team is a perilous one, since they will still have to play powerful teams from Notre Dame and Oregon.

Also, Kiffin is having trouble dealing with the new reality at USC. During the Pete Carroll years, everything was loosey-goosey, and the Athletic Department pretty well did as it pleased. However, USC has a new President, and he wants the school to be a mirror image of Stanford. He has set high standards of behavior for coaches and players, both on and off the field. Kiffin sometimes behaves as if he was still coaching the Raiders, and working for Al Davis. He thinks that USC will not fire him, if he does not tow the line. That is what he thinks, but he is wrong. If that does happen, he won't be unemployed for long, since there will always be a job for him in the NFL, or the SEC.

In my opinion, Rex Ryan is one of the worst head coaches in the history of the NFL. His team, the New York Jets, are now the laughing stock of the nation. His quarterback, Mark Sanchez, needs to get away from him, and then get some help from a dream team of psychiatrists.

If I was the Owner of the Angels, someone would have to give me some good explanations. The annual payroll for the Oakland Athletics is around $50 million, while the Angels are paying in the neighborhood of $250 million per year. Yet, somehow the Athletics won more games. How could that happen? Also, Vernon Wells and Albert Pujols were among the best hitters in baseball, until they were traded to the Angels.

I don't think that the Athletics have a single player who would be a Starter for the Angels. The Angels have two players with batting averages higher than .300, but the Athletics don't have any. Also, I do not think that any of the Athletics could be Starters for the Angels.

The Angels had a catcher whose name is Napoli, and they traded him, because he was not good enough to be on that team. He is now playing with the Texas Rangers, and he is one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball. As I say, I do not know what is wrong with that team, but someone would have to explain it to me.

This was a great week for the African-American head coaches in the NFL. The Cincinnati Bengals earned a victory for Marvin Lewis, the Vikings and the Bears did the same thing for Lesley Frazier and Lovie Smith, respectively. Regrettably, the Kansas City Chiefs were not able to do the same for Romeo Crennell.

Lovie Smith took his Bears down to Arlington, Texas, to provide entertainment for the Fans of Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. Apparently, Smith did not read the script. So, the Bears defeated the Cowboys rather easily, and the final score was 34-18. The fabulously wealthy Jones considers himself a football genius. Even this monumental defeat will not change his opinion of himself.

I wish that I could get excited about the prospects for the Lakers, but I have been unable to do so. Both Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant are enormously talented athletes. However, their talents are tiny, when compared to their humongous egos. Bryant says that the Lakers are, "His Team." He is mistaken, the team is owned by the Buss Family. What he is implying with that statement is that he is one of the Owners. He is demanding special privileges that will not be available to any other member of the team. He is ignoring the fact that he is already the Lakers highest-paid athlete.

Both Bryant and Howard came to the NBA directly from High School. In my opinion, each of them would have greatly benefited from spending at least one year in a real college. From their past behavior, each of them needs the spotlight to shine on him, almost all of the time. Since that is not possible, it is difficult to imagine this team being harmonious and successful.

This morning at the Gym, I met a gentleman whose name is Naim Shah. I learned that his son, Sharrief Shah, graduated from the University of Utah, and is now the Defensive Back Coach for their football team. He graduated from Dorsey High in 1994. The Trojans will be playing there this weekend, and this is another potential upset lurking in their path. They are still smarting over the upset by Stanford, but they would be wise to put that defeat in their rearview mirror, and to focus on the Utes.

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