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Sports Watching & Wondering

African American news from Pasadena - Sports Commentary - USC and UCLA football and more on baseball...USC -14 – Stanford - 21 . . . Apparently the Trojans did not read my Upset Alert. They had visions of the Matt Barkley Heisman Trophy in dancing in their heads. They will also wondering where they would play in the BCS Championship Bowl. They thought that they were a much better team than they actually are. On the surface, Stanford appeared to be easy pickings. The great Andrew Lock was gone, and Josh Nunez is now their rookie quarterback. So, this game was already in the win column.

Barkley is a great college quarterback. However, he does have some limitations. When he is given enough time, he is a very accurate passer. His arm strength is just average, as is his foot speed and overall athleticism. USC was very grateful that he returned to play his senior year, rather than leaving for the NFL. His reason for returning to the school may not have been entirely altruistic. He already knew that Luck and Griffin III would be drafted ahead of him. So, he could not be certain that he would even be drafted in the first round. Looking back, the likelihood is that he probably would have been a second-round draft choice. That would have meant that he would not have been able to make the big bucks for at least four years. So, the strategy appears to be that he would return to USC, put up some sensational numbers, win the Heisman Trophy, and become a high first-round draft choice. Sometimes your best laid plans work out, and sometimes they don't.

Stanford gained 202 yards rushing, while USC managed to get a paltry 28. This is from an institution, whose nickname was Tailback University. This may not be their all time low, but it has to be close. This has to be an unbelievable statistic for Marcus Allen, Charles White, Ben Wilson, Mike Garrett, Reggie Bush and many others. The Trojans will be playing the California Bears at the Coliseum, on Saturday, September 22, 2012. If they do not gain at least 100 yards rushing, then they are likely to lose two games in a row. Good luck with that.

UCLA - 37 — Houston – 6 . . . Jonathan Franklin ground out 110 yards, and quarterback Brett Hundley threw for an additional 320. The Bruins may have just become the best college football team in town. Coach Jim Mora is a miracle worker, and he deserves the credit for UCLA having a record of 3-0. Maybe Athletic Director Dan Guerrero finally came up with a formula for getting a great head coach. He just hired a fired former NFL head coach. That is also what the Trojans did, when they hired Pete Carroll. We all know how that worked out, don't we? Just for the record, I would have hired Terry Bowden. He is now coaching at some small school in Akron, Ohio. He previously had great success coaching in the SEC. He got into trouble with a romantic encounter, but that was a long time ago. All Mannings are great quarterbacks. All Bowdens are great college football coaches.

David Shaw, an African American, is the head football coach at Stanford. He graduated from there in 1992. He was a varsity football player, prior to beginning his coaching career. Unlike USC, his teams feature a balanced passing and running attack, and a solid defense. He outcoached Lane Kiffin, as he led his team to victory. The rest of the coaches in the PAC-12 are now hoping that Shaw will soon become a head coach in the NFL. That is the path that was taken by Bill Walsh, Dennis Green, and Ty Willingham. Walsh, of course, was the most successful of all of them, but Green and Willingham also enjoyed some successful years.

Lane Kiffin is a hard-working and energetic head coach. However, recruiting talent is what he does best. It seems to me that he is the kind of alley fighter that should have been perfect for the Raiders. He has put together one of the most talented college football teams in the country. His problem, as I see it, is that he is unable to get the best results from them. Also, it seems to me, there are many times when he forgets that he is a Faculty member of a prestigious major University. The school seems a bit uncertain as to what he may do or say. A big part of Athletic Director Pat Haden's job is to keep Kiffin on the straight and narrow, and to keep USC from receiving any additional NCAA sanctions. So far, he has been able to do that, but just barely.

The Angels and Dodgers have both opened their wallets and added talented players to both teams. However, neither team is doing well, and it seems to me that at least the Angels. How on earth are the Athletics able to compete, while spending significantly less money than the rival Angels?

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