As UCLA football fans have learned, the journey to becoming an elite college football program is not an easy one. If the Bruins wish to take that next step, winning today's game is a requirement. With USC coming off scholarship sanctions, any type of loss today puts the Bruins back behind the Trojans and undoes much of what has been done over the past three years. It's graduation day for the Bruins!
USC's play calling this season has been characterized by a dogmatic adherence to the philosophy that the running and passing games must be perfectly balanced (a la Lane Kiffin) versus taking what the defense gives you (a la Norm Chow).
USC's defensive strategy has been characterized by a dogmatic adherence to the philosophy of take-no-chances, bend-but-do-not-break (a la Monte Kiffin) versus an aggressive pursuit of applied pressure through blitzes and tight man-to-man coverage (a la Clancy Pendergast).
USC will not move to the elite level of college football, even with the recruitment of the best high school football players, with these philosophies in today's world of ultra-competitive college football.
What a shock, USC allows Josh Shaw back on the team days before UCLA game.
Sunday's article on Zenon Andrusyshn was one of the best in a long time, showing the contrast between what seems to be so important versus what really is important. The comments of two other Bruins says it all — John Wooden, who told him he was pulling for him and not to quit, and Gary Beban saying he had 10 minutes left and couldn't get the win.
Now, as he ministers to the less fortunate among us, I don't think they ask him about the missed kicks.
Chris Foster's article should be required reading for all young aspiring athletes as well as fans everywhere.
I never read the sports section, but Zenon Andrusyshyn's name caught my eye. Funny, I guess I'm a glass-full kind of gal, but I remember him for all the kicks he did make, not the one that made UCLA lose to USC. I do remember it as a painful loss by a squeak, just not that Zenon was blamed for it. I also don't remember him as being arrogant, but am happy to know he's found a rewarding life as a minister. My husband at the time, Gwen Cooper, was a fine receiver during those years when Gary Beban and Dennis Dummit were at quarterback for UCLA.
Let's go, Lakers
Is there anyone more excited by a Lakers win than the Phoenix Suns?
Brian K. Haueter
After being thrashed by Golden State, Kobe Bryant says: "It's on me. Things go good, it's us. Things go bad, it's me." Sounds like a pity party, and I for one don't sympathize. The Lakers are lousy because they have a team of castoffs thrown together willy-nilly by a front office that lacks the magic it possessed under Dr. Buss and Jerry West. Kobe is well compensated to be in the center ring of this circus (his choice), and as sports has become entertainment as much as competition, Lakers fans can either be amused watching this team chase the worst record of all time or find something better to do.
I've misplaced my Lakers pocket schedule. When do we play the 76ers?
I now eagerly await a public explanation from Steve Nash as to why the return of a phone call is more physically taxing than a golf swing.
Maury D. Benemie
Jim Buss' promise to his family and Lakers fans to fix the Lakers is as hollow as Charles Barkley's claim that he would not eat again until the Lakers won. I have more faith in Barkley starving than I have in Jim Buss succeeding.
Here's a question to all Lakers and Dodgers fans: Would you rather have a team that's individually good or collectively good?
Think San Francisco Giants or San Antonio Spurs.
Charles P. Martin
Bill Dwyre's praise of Gregg Popovich was spot on, but did not go far enough in explaining the Spurs' continued success. The point is that, unlike our beloved Lakers, the Spurs success is explained by the unselfishness and total commitment to the team concept of its three stars, the intelligence of the front office in not throwing away draft picks and making smart trades for youth (Kawhi Leonard), a desire for quality role players, and staying with a coach who has a demonstrated record of winning championships.
Alas, none of the above can be said of our Lakers, and therein lies the source of Kobe's acknowledged "Spurs Envy."
When I started visiting San Antonio in 2005, Spurs fans repeatedly told me of their great delight in the breakup of the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant does deserve much credit for the longevity of the Spurs success.
A very hot stove
Giancarlo Stanton, the player who finished second to Clayton Kershaw in MVP voting, just signed a $325-million contract. This means either:
A. Owners have lost their minds, and players' salaries have gotten ridiculous.
B. Kershaw is underpaid.
Arte Moreno is jumping for joy. He just realized he'll soon be able to trade for and sign Giancarlo Stanton for his last six or seven expensive and unproductive years.
The Marlins' signing of Giancarlo Stanton to a $325-million contract makes one wonder what the team was thinking. Ralph Kiner once asked Branch Rickey, then the Pirates' general manager, for a raise after leading the National League in home runs for the seventh straight season in 1952. Rickey responded, "I finished last with you, I can finish last without you."
Kevin H. Park
So the Dodgers' brain trust of Stan Kasten, senior advisors Gerry Hunsicker and Ned Colletti, head of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and new number-crunching GM Farhan Zaidi just put their heads together and traded live-armed 24-year-old Jose Dominguez, who can hit 103 mph on the gun, plus another 20-year-old pitcher, for a 38-year-old reliever with a 4.41 ERA last season and a 27-year-old career minor leaguer who was a 21st-round draft pick.
Reminds me of that old joke about 20 people screwing in a light bulb.
Are we really a better society now that employers such as the NFL are unilaterally denying work opportunity based on private matters of an individual? Let's hope the legal process declares the banishment of Adrian Peterson to be overreaching.
It is one thing to honorably speak out against violence such as child abuse. It is another thing, and far more dishonorable, to deny employment based on actions that have nothing to do with the job, but upon purely dictatorial value judgments.
Child abuse is scary. So is what the NFL is doing.
The NFL seems to be taking a lot of hits lately. I have a lot of respect for Bill Dwyre's opinion, but his article exaggerated the problems in the league. Nearly all the players in the NFL are good citizens. The Michael Vicks and Ray Rices of the game are few and far between. Conversely, there are plenty of "bad apples" in society and our prisons are loaded with them. But with the possible exception of O.J. Simpson, I don't believe any of them acquired their criminal behavior from playing on the gridiron.
Commissioner Roger Goodell might have acted with more resolve when these issues of domestic violence first surfaced. But it was a sin of omission and nothing more. There's a lot of bad things happening all over the world. People watch pro football to forget about them for a while.
It's time Bill Dwyre was called on a blatant double standard in his writing. He seems to seek out every opportunity to rip football for its violence, both on and off the field but waxes on and on about his beloved boxing.
Inappropriate behavior in the private lives of society's "heroes" is all too frequent in both football and boxing, as well as most other major sports. The columnist's job is to provoke thought, and I have no problem with them either criticizing or defending our sports culture, but when it becomes this hypocritical, it loses any credibility.
I am sure many readers were as impressed as I was with Bill Dwyre's perceptive and right-on column about NFL conduct issues, righteous indignation, and fading memories. By the way, it seems a bit ironic that Dwyre's fine column ended directly above The Times' blurb for "NFL tonight."
Indeed Bill, life goes on.
Dish Network and CBS are in a dispute. As a result, CBS stations may not be carried on the Dish Network. This means Dish Network subscribers in the Los Angeles area will be unable to watch Channel 2 force-feed the Chargers' games on them every week.
What better incentive could there be to subscribe to Dish Network?
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