Sports Watching & Wondering

john randolph rogers 2010

Even though I predicted that UCLA would defeat USC in the Rose Bowl last week, I was hoping that I would be wrong. However, it just appears that I am too good at what I do. UCLA has gotten better, and USC has gotten worse. That is the sad reality of our time.

UCLA is not that good, and I do not expect them to beat Stanford at the Rose Bowl, at noon on Friday. The Bruins have Brett Hundley and Myles Jack, and both of them are outstanding players. Stanford on the other hand, is a well-coached, highly disciplined team. They do not have a lot of talent, but they do not make many mistakes. The teams are fairly evenly matched, and it should be an entertaining game to watch, on a beautiful sunny Southern California day. David Shaw is the head coach of the Cardinals, and his teams are always tough.

USC, fresh from it’s recent disaster with the UCLA, is actually favored to get a win over Notre Dame at the Coliseum, at noon on Saturday. Again, I do not expect the Trojans to win. What I do expect is that the Irish will pound them into the turf. It seems to me that the Trojan coaching staff is confused. Because of the NCAA sanctions, the Trojan football does not have a full complement of players. That being the case, it is difficult to understand why they would choose to go with a no huddle offense. This scheme, which was successfully introduced by the Oregon Ducks, relies upon a full roster of highly conditioned athletes.

If your team does not have enough players, then the usual strategy is to slow the game down. This is done by having as many running places possible, and passing the ball only when it is absolutely necessary. Oregon is a high-scoring machine, but their offense gets the job done in about 20 minutes, and their defense is on the field for the remaining 40. Using this scheme,

the Trojan defense was on the field, until it became exhausted. Then, UCLA pounded them that at will. It seems to me that the Trojans could have benefited from the inspiration and emotion that was generated on the sidelines last year by then head coach Ed Orgeron. Last year, they seemed eager to play. They were jumping around, and could hardly wait to get into the game. This year, some of the players on the sidelines seem to be listless, and uninspired. Coach O, please come back, we need you!

There are 32 teams in the NFL. Three of them have African-American head coaches. Two of them are facing each other, so one has to win, and the other has to lose. Good luck Marvin Lewis and Lovie Smith. Mike Tomlin will try to lead the Pittsburgh Steeler’s to a victory over the New Orleans Saints.

On the college front, Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns are underdogs to powerful TCU, and Kevin Hamlin is facing a very tough LSU. This was Charlie’s first year at Texas, and it has been a tough one. A win here would make a happy Thanksgiving Weekend for him.

My heartfelt Congratulations to the Pasadena Journal on their 25th Anniversary. This noble institution has served the community well.