Column

Just off the top of his head, there are a lot of sports nuggets

USC, UCLA, Kings and Angels fans: Fan of the House columnist Chris Erskine has holiday gift ideas for you

Random thoughts while waiting to go hiking with Reese Witherspoon:

Peyton Manning deserves better commercials.

• No game in the roasty Rose Bowl should ever start before 5 p.m.

• Hope the Dodgers are also trying to trade their awful TV contract.

• Three weeks later, Odell Beckham Jr.'s oil pan is probably still a little sore from that amazing catch against the Cowboys.

Southeastern Conference cheerleaders must buy their makeup at Home Depot (I've seen less lipstick on David Bowie).

• The U.S. soccer team should be coached by someone from America — maybe Landon Donovan.

• College football players should get lifetime medical coverage.

• Pat Haden should run the NCAA.

• Kobe should coach the Lakers. He does anyway.

• If offensive linemen get any thicker, they're going to start showing cleavage.

• The two most hopeful words in the sports lexicon — "incoming freshmen."

• Generally, Florida is a really bad sports market.

• Colin Cowherd is underused.

The Dodgers' trade spree seems more ego-driven than wise.

• You know it's December when teams are playing in the kind of icy squalls that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald.

• The Rose Bowl will feature the two best quarterbacks in college football. The Sugar Bowl will feature the two best college coaches.

• Spectators are subjected to far too many timeouts — media and otherwise. To speed up football games, teams should be allowed one in the first half and two in the second.

• By 2017, there will be two pro football teams in L.A., with a new joint-use stadium going up. Where? Near Chinatown.

• Santa would make a great nose guard. And be best at stuffing the run.

• The Packers this season will win their fifth Super Bowl, after which the city of Green Bay will drown in a steaming vat of cheese-curd fondue.

• The most resonant holiday? Santa Anita opening Dec. 26.

• Everyone should ice skate at least once.

• It takes longer to master the violin than it does a slap shot.

• Saturday's Army-Navy football game, a sign the season is nearly over, always makes me a little sad.

• I'd rather watch 10 Hail Mary attempts than 100 home runs.

• In the last two minutes, onside kicks should have to travel only five yards.

• Getting to the Coliseum for games is horrendous, though still better than driving through Westwood on a typical Tuesday.

• Two wrongs don't make a right. But two rights always get you to the 405.

• Sources say Dodgers are shopping Lasorda. And to think of all they have invested in the kid.

Holiday gift suggestions

All I want for Christmas is world peace and all TV standoffs to end.

In lieu of that, sportscaster Al Michaels' new book, "You Can't Make This Up," would be an excellent gift for any sports fan on your list ($28.99, William Morrow).

For UCLA fans, consider a personalized brick outside the main entrance to the Rose Bowl. From $100; http://www.rosebowlbricks.com, or (855) ROSEBWL.

For the fan cave, consider a painting or photo of his or her favorite player. Just in: signed pieces commemorating Clayton Kershaw's no-hitter; http://www.theArtoftheGame.com.

For USC fans, check out a Tommy Bahama USC shirt — pricey but very cool at $104. Cardinal or gold nail polish makes a good stocking stuffer, at $9.50; uscbookstore.com.

For Angels fans, $99 buys 10 tickets to use all at once or to separate games, plus a replica jersey; http://www.angels.com/ticketplans.

Kings fans can have Bailey drop by the house for a party ($250), or visit your seat during a game ($125); Kings.nhl.com, or (213) 763-5475.

For outdoors fans, go "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed, on her journey along the Pacific Crest Trail; $15.95, Vintage Books.

For indoors fans, "It Won't Always Be This Great," the entertaining first novel by "Seinfeld" writer and sports scribe Peter "Yada Yada" Mehlman ($25, Bancroft Press).

Missing Musburger

Guys just hate asking for directions, but here's a note to the geniuses who run ESPN: Put Brent Musburger back on your A team. Or at least the B team.

College fans deserve better than the vanilla-pudding pairing of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit, who have been tapped to do the Oregon-Florida State game Jan. 1 at the Rose Bowl and the national championship Jan. 12.

Demoted before the season, Musburger has been barely visible on second-tier Southeastern Conference games. He was also passed over for the other playoff game, the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.

Maybe Musburger isn't universally loved, but he brings moxie and a sense of history to telecasts. He certainly would have challenged Herbstreit during the Florida State-Notre Dame telecast, when Herbstreit said during a replay: Jameis Winston "is not necessarily known as a terrific athlete but he does enough there...."

Gee, I always thought the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner was pretty good.

chris.erskine@latimes.com

Twitter: @erskinetimes

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