Sports Beat, 12-2-07

--USC defeated UCLA 24-7 yesterday in a game that neither team thought it played well. Most USC fans felt like the Trojans could have run up the score, while UCLA fans are wondering what happened to their offense. Give credit to Bruins defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker for keeping USC in check as best as they could. But the Bruins had absolutely nothing that resembled an adequate offense.

USC will now go to the Rose Bowl and play Illinois. The matchup preserves the Pac-10/Big 10 rivalry, and that will no doubt please some. However, with Ohio State ranked No. 1 in the BCS, the Rose Bowl had the first choice for a replacement and could have picked Georgia. If the Ohio State-LSU game is really ugly and won by LSU, then a USC-Georgia game might have led to an AP national title for the winner. And many think that the Pac-10 and SEC are the two best conferences in college football, and that USC and Georgia the NCAA's two hottest teams. But alas, there's something to be said for tradition. Expect USC to be heavily favored over No. 13 Illinois.

Some are disappointed that USC isn't in the BCS Title game against Ohio State. Fans of Oklahoma, Georgia, Virginia Tech, and other schools also think they have a case. The truth is that it's impossible to objectively compare teams that play radically different schedules. Later this week, I'll write a post on a proposed playoff system that would solve many of college football's problems.

--UCLA hasn't made any announcements regarding Karl Dorrell, but the Los Angeles Times reports three potential candidates have already been contacted. While Rick Neuheisel is reportedly interested, the Times says that he will not be a candidate. Instead, the early list includes Boise State Head Coach Chris Petersen, Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach, and former 49ers, Lions, and Cal Head Coach Steve Mariucci. Based on that list, it appears UCLA wants an experienced head coach who has an offensive background.

In the meantime, it's not clear who will coach UCLA when they play BYU in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl on December 22. The game is a rematch of UCLA's 27-17 victory over the Cougars earlier this season.

--Tough day for both USC and UCLA basketball, as they lost at home to Kansas and Texas, respectively. I missed the UCLA-Texas game, but USC couldn't match Kansas on the boards with Taj Gibson in foul trouble.

--In other local college sports news, Cal beat USC for the NCAA men's water polo championship. USC and UCLA will play each other in the Final Four for NCAA women's soccer tournament. The winner gets the winner of Notre Dame and Florida State. Both USC and UCLA are also in the Sweet 16 for the NCAA women's volleyball tournament. I broadcast USC's first round win over Pepperdine (as well as Long Beach State's thrilling victory over UNLV) on

--The Lakers continue to struggle, falling tonight 104-97 to the Orlando Magic. It has to be frustrating to lose to Orlando and New Jersey at home, and then go to Utah and get blown out when the Jazz are missing Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur. Phil Jackson may be signed for another two years, but Kobe Bryant can't be too happy with the organization right now.

--With the Clippers also struggling, Mark Heisler gives some advice to Donald Sterling.

--I was at STAPLES Center last night for the Kings-Avalanche game. The Kings were looking great early on, but eventually gave up three third period goals and lost 5-2 to Colorado. Head Coach Marc Crawford was so upset with his team's play that he scheduled an extra practice today, which would normally be an off-day.

December 2, 2007 8:37 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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