Sports Week, 10-7-07

Here's what happened this week in LA sports...

--USC's loss to Stanford was absolutely shocking. The Trojans are ridiculously talented, but it's very uncharacteristic of a Pete Carroll-team to play such a lackluster game two weeks in a row. I'm really surprised that this team hasn't gelled yet.

Some on campus are already calling for John David Booty to benched in favor of Mark Sanchez. I don't know if that's the answer. But I do know that it's awfully tough to throw a football accurately with a fractured finger.

And BTW... let's clear this up... USC does still have a chance for a national title. They have highly-ranked opponents ahead on their schedule, and it's no certainty that teams like Ohio State and Boston College will stay undefeated all season. That said, USC needs to focus on just playing good football right now. They can't look too far ahead.

If the Trojans want a trip to New Orleans in January, then they will need to win out, score major style points in all of their wins (especially against Cal and Oregon), and they need a little bit of help from the teams ranked ahead of them. It's possible, but it shouldn't be on their minds yet.

--I was at the Rose Bowl for UCLA's loss to Notre Dame. If someone could tell me why the Linda Vista and Orange Grove exits on the 134 were closed as well as the Arroyo exit on the 210, I'd love to know. It made for an adventurous drive on the way into the stadium.

As for the game, McLeod Bethel-Thompson seemed overwhelmed in relief of the injured Ben Olson, and his four interceptions killed the Bruins. Notre Dame didn't do a whole lot besides capitalizing off turnovers. UCLA became the first team to fail to score 30 points against the Irish this season, and it was also the first time Charlie Weis' struggling group managed 20 points in 2007. Now, it's possible that UCLA could turn to wide receiver Osaar Rasshan to play quarterback in their next game.

In other local college football news... I pointed this out a few weeks ago, but I'll point it out again. There were over 85,000 fans at the Coliseum for USC-Stanford at 4 PM, and over 78,000 fans at the Rose Bowl for UCLA-Notre Dame at 5 PM. Who says LA doesn't love football? Over 163,000 people in SoCal were attending a football game at the same time on Saturday.

--50 years ago today, the Los Angeles City Council voted to give Chavez Ravine to Walter O'Malley, paving the way for the Dodgers to move here. LA sports would be changed forever. The story of how the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn is fascinating, but it's filled with misconceptions. Steve Springer of the LA Times tells it accurately in the Sunday paper.

Springer also has a Q&A with Vin Scully, which is a must-read.

--The Angels were officially swept by the Boston Red Sox today, bringing their terrific season to a swift and disappointing end. There isn't a baseball team on the planet that could have hit Josh Beckett in Game 1. The Halos probably should have won Game 2, but let it slip into a tie, and then watched Manny Ramirez hit the longest walkoff homer I've ever seen. In Game 3, the Sox hitters flexed their muscles, and just like that, the season was over. Now, the big question is if the Angels (or the Dodgers) will make a run at Alex Rodriguez, should he be available.

--In light of the upcoming Colorado-Arizona NLCS, Jim Alexander of the Riverside Press-Enterprise wonders if the balance of power in the NL West has shifted from Southern California with the Dodgers and Padres to the Mountain Time Zone with the Rockies and D'Backs. In truth, all four teams are great, but it's worth noting that Arizona and Colorado have been successful because of their outstanding scouting and player development departments. Both teams have put significant trust in the phenomenal young players they've developed, and it's paying off now.

--The city of Oceanside backed out of a proposal to build a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers will now reportedly focus their efforts on getting a new stadium built in Chula Vista. Efforts for a stadium deal in National City failed earlier this year. The Chargers have long been on the short-list of teams that could possibly move to LA. If Chula Vista doesn't work out, then expect LA to make its way back into the conversation for the Bolts' future home.

--Finally, the Lakers are in Hawaii, and Kobe Bryant appears to be giving it his all for the Purple and Gold. This week, Lamar Odom said he wants to be a Laker for life, while legendary big man coach Pete Newell said he has been impressed with the development of Andrew Bynum. It's easy to forget that Bynum isn't even 20 years old yet, but Laker fans are expecting an awful lot of growth to happen very quickly.

October 7, 2007 9:54 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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