With five minutes remaining in the second quarter in the Oregon-Stanford battle, it’s 28-24. The best part? Check out this snippet of the box score:
Well, Angelenos, one monopoly really is over. . .the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report has USC ahead of UCLA in their renowned University rankings for the first time ever.
Though the new rubric used to determine the rankings has much to do with this shift, but the budgetary mess strangling the State of California may really be putting a dent in public UCLA’s efforts to keep up financially with the privately funded Trojan coffers.
With all that’s happened with their Athletic Department recently, perhaps Southern Cal will now focus their efforts on being the premier academic institution in the Southland. . .okay, that’s a stretch but still – WOW. Fight on, BRUINS.
In one of the most asinine excuses ever known to man, Brian Cushing & the Texas asked the NFL to reduce or rescind the four-game suspension given to star linebacker Brian Cushing on Monday, saying he has a unique medical condition stemming from something called overtrained athlete syndrome.
He said the syndrome can trigger hormonal spikes after breaks in training, explaining why he would have tested positive for a fertility drug last September — a drug he said he never took.
Here’s the best part: “I think that’s the final diagnosis we came up with,” he said, “and a lot of doctors have supported why this has happened.”
The year was 1988. The date – November 19th. A prototypical day in Southern California – a 66 degree temperature with clear blue skies.
The Troy Aikman-led UCLA Bruins were set to meet the Rodney Peete-quarterbacked USC Trojans. Both teams were ranked in the Top 5 in the nation, and at a robust 10 years of age, I was finally old enough to understand the gravitas of such a matchup. Basking in the afterglow of consecutive L.A. Lakers titles as well as a Dodgers World Series victory, I was on top of the world as a sports fan.
This was my city – these were my teams! Even the Los Angeles Kings were in the news, as Wayne Gretzky was acquired by the franchise, setting the world of hockey on its proverbial ear, and for the first time in the history of the sport, shifting the media attention to the City of Angels. Everything in Los Angeles sports came up Roses. . .quite literally in this case, as the matchup at the RoseBowl would determine the Pac-10 representative in the de facto National Title game.
My parents – both ardent Los Angelenos – hosted a get-together at our house to watch the ballgame. About 15 adults showed up, as well as four of my friends. The house was divided into rooting sections; about half for the Trojans, and half for the Bruins. Though the Trojans were slightly favored, Rodney Peete came down with a nasty case of the measles prior to the game and was questionable, leaving Pat O’Hara as the potential QB for the biggest game in Pasadena in a decade. Terry Donahue and Larry Smith legends already, were set to meet to determine once and for all who really was the supreme team in Los Angeles.
As my parents’ guests arrived one-by-one, the news came straight from the ‘hood: Rodney Peete can play! His Heisman hopes – as well as the dreams of the Trojan faithful – are still alive, and gosh darn it, he’s going to lead them to victory. Well, it was at this moment that destiny smiled upon me. With 19 guests situated in their respective sections, the count (not to be confused with The Count) was 10 Bruins fans and nine Trojans supporters. For no other reason than my obsessive compulsive need for symmetry and balance, I sat in the USC section.
Lo and behold, the Sons of Tommy Trojan led a dramatic 31-22 victory and claimed the Victory Bell for another year.
Me? I was neither happy nor sad for the Trojans, per se, but being able to bask in the afterglow of more Los Angeles revelry etched a permanently positive memory in my subconscious, and since that day I can not root against my fellow Angelenos.
According to a Princeton Review survey of 9,132 college applicants and 3,042 parents of applicants, UCLA ranks No. 1 among public schools and in the Top Seven overall in the category of “Dream Schools” for both the applicants and the parents.
For the survey’s only fill-in-the-blank question, “What ‘dream college’ do you wish you (your child) could attend if acceptance or cost weren’t issues?” respondents wrote in the names of more than 600 institutions from Adrian College to Yale.
The schools most named by students as their “Dream Colleges” were:
1/ Stanford University
2/ Harvard College
3/ New York University
4/ Princeton University
5/ Brown University
6/ Yale University
7/ University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
8/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology
9/ University of Southern California
10/ Cornell University
The schools most named by parents as their “Dream Colleges” were:
1/ Stanford University
2/ Princeton University
3/ Harvard College
4/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5/ Yale University
6/ University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
7/ University of Notre Dame
8/ Brown University
9/ University of Southern California
10/ New York University
Duke vs. Butler last night: a Championship game of historical proportions.
That proportion being, of course, “most white guys on the court in a Championship Game since the Peach Baskets were removed.” This was a phenomenal ‘matchup,’ precisely the type of game that would form an intriguing Sweet 16 matchup in the years prior to ‘One and Done.’ Both teams have nice stories (wow – an underrated, gritty Duke team that Mike Krzyzewski deemed one of his lesser-talented squads vs. the ‘Hoosiers’ Butler squad), but the caliber of talent was not nearly what should be expected in a title game.
Those expecting Showtime or something similar were severely disappointed: Last’s night’s game, while certainly thrilling, was clumsy, awkward, graceless, and at times downright painful to watch. Butler’s offense seemed to revolve around one guy: 20-year old Gordon Hayward who lunged his rickety frame gamely into the paint over and over again only to be rebuffed by someone taller, more athletic, and more avidly-recruited.
And Duke? All I’m saying is when a guy named Kyle Singler is a runaway force on offense (also lunging his rickety frame into the paint over and over again, but with more success) it’s not Showtime.
It’s. . . . . . . . . . Slowtime.
The game itself was great, and I appreciate the ‘purity’ of College Hoops, but seriously – I yearn for the days of serious Final Fours with superstars galore, or at least a Carmelo Anthony. But this year? We’ll be lucky if Singler, Hawyard or even Jon Scheyer grow into the status of say a Kirk Hinrich.
2010 USC TROJANS SIGNING DAY CLASS
Total Signings:18 Top150 Signings: 10 Five-star commits:2 Four-star:13
|Robert Woods||87||WR #1||WR||6-1||180||Junipero Serra H.S. (CA)|
|Markeith Ambles||83||WR #4||WR||6-2||185||Henry County H.S. (GA)|
|Xavier Grimble||83||TE #1||TE||6-5||241||Bishop Gorman H.S. (NV)|
|D.J. Morgan||83||ATH #7||ATH||5-10||175||Woodland Hills-Taft H.S. (CA)|
|Kyle Prater||82||WR #9||WR||6-5||200||Proviso West H.S. (IL)|
|Jesse Scroggins||82||QB #2||QB||6-2||189||Lakewood H.S. (CA)|
|George Uko||81||DT #5||DT||6-4||299||Don Antonio Lugo H.S. (CA)|
|Demetrius Wright||81||CB #6||CB||6-1||185||Corona Senior H.S. (CA)|
|Patrick Hall||81||LQ||ATH||6-1||185||Saint Bonaventure H.S. (CA)|
|Dillon Baxter||81||ATH #12||ATH||5-11||190||Mission Bay H.S. (CA)|
|Nickell Robey||80||CB #13||CB||5-8||160||Frostproof H.S. (FL)|
|Christian Thomas||80||TE #8||TE||6-3||234||Highland H.S. (CA)|
|Randall Telfer||80||TE #10||TE||6-4||215||Rancho Cucamonga H.S. (CA)|
|Anthony Brown||80||ATH #21||ATH||5-10||176||Henry J. Kaiser H.S. (CA)|
|Giovanni Di Poalo||77||OG #38||OG||6-4||260||Saint Bonaventure H.S. (CA)|
|Glen Stanley||OLB||6-2||240||Ocala, FL||Eastern Arizona College|
2010 UCLA BRUINS SIGNING DAY CLASS
Total Signings:22 Top 150 Signings:6 Four-star commits:9 Three-star:13
|Owamagbe Odighizuwa||84||DE #2||DE||6-3||235||David Douglas H.S. (OR)|
|Jordon James||83||RB #5||RB||5-10||188||Corona Senior H.S. (CA)|
|Malcolm Jones||81||RB #8||RB||6-1||217||Oaks Christian H.S. (CA)|
|Anthony Barr||81||ATH #11||ATH||6-4||223||Loyola H.S. (CA)|
|Dietrich Riley||81||S #10||S||6-1||196||Saint Francis H.S. (CA)|
|Aramide Olaniyan||81||OLB #13||OLB||6-2||200||Woodberry Forest School (VA)|
|Kip Smith||80||K #2||K||6-0||200||Legacy H.S. (CO)|
|Josh Shirley||79||OLB #19||OLB||6-3||210||Henry J. Kaiser H.S. (CA)|
|Tevin McDonald||79||S #18||S||5-11||180||Edison H.S. (CA)|
|Chris Ward||79||OG #15||OG||6-4||285||Mater Dei H.S. (CA)|
|Cassius Marsh||79||DT #33||DT||6-4||290||Oaks Christian H.S. (CA)|
|Paul Richardson||78||WR #67||WR||6-1||180||Junipero Serra H.S. (CA)|
|Anthony Jefferson||77||S #48||S||6-1||172||Cathedral H.S. (CA)|
|Kody Innes||77||OT #43||OT||6-4||270||Saguaro H.S. (AZ)|
|Eric Kendrick||77||OLB #47||OLB||6-1||205||Hoover H.S. (CA)|
|Jordan Zumwalt||76||ILB #26||ILB||6-4||215||Edison H.S. (CA)|
|Sealii Epenesa||76||DT #79||DT||6-2||300||Iolani School (HI)|
|Derrick Bryant||76||DE #91||DE||6-4||230||Brookhaven H.S. (OH)|
|Shaquille Richardson||75||CB #73||CB||6-1||170||Los Alamitos H.S. (CA)|
|Wesley Flowers||75||DT #88||DT||6-4||250||Edison H.S. (CA)|
|John Young||73||TE #69||TE||6-3||252||Loyola H.S. (CA)|
|Wade Yandall||73||OT #137||OT||6-4||294||Carson H.S. (CA)|
USC made the biggest splash at the end — landing a 330-pound cannonball named Seantrel Henderson, to be exact — but the battle for LA proved to be the most interesting subplot on National Signing Day. Lane Kiffin closed strong at USC, but his crosstown rival, UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel, more than held his own.
Neuheisel got his own out-of-state blue-chipper in Portland, Ore., defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, and the Bruins won two head-to-head matchups with the Trojans. They signed Fontana, Calif., linebacker Josh Shirley and La Canada, Calif., safety Deitrich Riley, both of whom were USC targets. The Trojans struck back, though, signing Ventura, Calif., offensive lineman Giovanni Di Poalo, who was headed either to Troy or Westwood.
After Henderson signed with the Trojans, Rivals.com ranked USC’s class No. 2 in the nation and UCLA’s class No. 8. Though the Trojans won that round, the Bruins made up a ton of ground. Plus, thanks to the Twitter foibles of USC signee Markeith Ambles, some enterprising UCLA student is going to make a fortune selling “Fight On, Trogans” T-shirts.
More great work by Uncle Rick and the UCLA Coaching/Recruiting Staff:
Tevin McDonald, a defensive back from Fresno Edison, has signed a letter of intent with UCLA. McDonald’s dad, Tim, played at USC.
Fight On, Trojan fans. . .first Sanchez, then Pete, now the defections are coming from within the family?
Kudos to Ramona Shelbourne on her new gig for EspnLosAngles.com, espousing on the inconsisent, difficult-to-read play of both the USC and UCLA hoops squads.
That said, folks back in the Tri-Valley of Eastern Washington are disappointed reading about the upstart Bruins defeating the Cougars, 74-62. Again, the continued scrappy play of Mustafa Abdul-Hamid provided a constant spark. The Bruins are now one game out of first place – and two games out of last – in the Pac-10 conference standings. The conference Champion will get a bid, but will that champ be the only team from the Pac-10 to make the tourney?
I’m telling you, how can you not harken back to this guy during times such as these:
Oh yeah, that’s right.
I will tell you this, however, Kevin O’Neill is doing a helluva job in obscurity (and sanctionville) after the implosion of last year’s Trojan squad. I’ll bet even this guy is proud:
Bytheway Dodger fans – have you checked out Dylan Hernandez’s Twitter yet?
As far as the Angels are concerned, an unemotional goodbye is in order for strangely estranged Native Son Gary Matthews Jr., traded unceremoniously for Brian Stokes, another California kid. Matthews never really fit under Arte’s regime; always the fourth outfielder, sort of in a Juan Pierre-esque fashion – Matthews definitely is good enough to play centerfield wherever he wants, but his hitting just hasn’t been the same since the suspiciously successful 2006 year he had with the Rangers. The HGH accusations didn’t sit too well at home, nor with the Angels’ brass.
Also I keep saying it – don’t sleep on the Kings this year. NHL pundit Jason Sapir says they still may be too young, but with inspirational wins such as the 3-2 comeback over the Red Wings becoming commonplace, don’t be surprised if they ride young goalie Jonathan Quick to a deep run in the Playoffs. With five Olympians, the squad is immensely talented. And well coached. Even with the rift between negative18er Jack Johnson and stud GM Dean Lombardi, the Kings are playing well, and holding on to the seventh seed in the West.