Sports Beat, 9-14-08

--USC's 35-3 victory over Ohio State was obviously impressive and it positions the Trojans as the BCS front-runners right now. Mark Sanchez is also the early leader in the Heisman race. I think it's a bit too early though for Trojans fans to book their tickets to Miami.

Ohio State is clearly unable to handle a team with speed on offense. Yet it was a bit unnerving how they dominated time of possession in the first-half and seemed to throw the ball effectively before holding penalties derailed them. USC may look like the best team in the country right now. But even with a blowout win over Ohio State, I actually think they could have played better.

--UCLA's 59-0 loss to BYU was absolutely stunning. This is the third time in the last calendar year that these two teams have played, and Dewayne Walker was on the sidelines for all three of those games. He should have known exactly what BYU would do offensively. And while Kevin Craft is not the long-term answer at UCLA, BYU isn't exactly known for its defense.

I think UCLA was hurt by the absence of Khalil Bell and any semblance of a running game. But the Bruins were probably a bit overconfident after defeating Tennessee.

--I'd be more impressed with Francisco Rodriguez's 58 saves if he didn't also have 6 blown saves. Sure it's great that the saves record is held by a SoCal baseball player. But it's more a product of circumstance than anything else. K-Rod is a very good closer, but the Angels have an amazing pitching staff, an offense that doesn't generate a ton of runs, and a first-class middle-relief corps that's helped create tons of save opportunities.

K-Rod is better than Bobby Thigpen, who did absolutely nothing after his 57-save season, but any team would be nuts to give Rodriguez a $15 million a year contract.

--The Dodgers are the hottest team in the National League right now thanks Manny Ramirez, and I think they're well-positioned to win the NL. It looks like the Dodgers will be motivated to give Ramirez a big deal in the off-season, and then they'll have to find a trade partner for Juan Pierre... even if they have to pick up some salary.

September 14, 2008 1:55 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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