UCLA's dreams of playing for a national title were just that: dreams. Against a so-called "average" Stanford team, the Bruins were outplayed from the start. Their defense couldn't defend against the pass against a hot quarterback and couldn't stop the Cardinal running game either. And the offense look predictably flat.
Stanford dominated UCLA and ate their lunch while they were at it.
Fact is, this team hasn't appreciably improved since the first game, when the Bruins struggled against an "average" Virginia team, barely eking out wins against Memphis, Cal and Colorado. Welcome back to the Terry Donahue era.
"In the discussion" for the national championship? Please!
It is widely recognized that one of the most important duties of a head football coach is to get his players to play to their maximum capabilities. If Coach Sark says "we're better than we played" in the ugly performance against UCLA, then he and his staff need to get their acts together. Or is "7-and-5 Steve" what the future holds for the post-Kiffin regime?
Lawrence M. Kates
You only need to look at one play from last weekend's mauling by UCLA to understand the dire predicament USC is in with this coaching staff. A USC player fields a kickoff five yards deep in his end zone and proceeds to run it out before getting stopped at the 12-yard line, thus giving up 13 yards and better field position. The reaction on the sideline as the player jogged off? High-fives and pats on the helmet. I doubt there would be similar a reaction from Jim Mora on the opposing sideline if a Bruin had been so selfish and stupid.
When the next head football coach is hired by USC, can they find a well-established, successful manager capable of both recruiting talented, academically qualified high school kids and helping them develop their athletic/academic prowess at the next level — instead of interns whose chief qualification appears to be excellent at job interviewing?
The last two interns have not worked out so well.
Howard P. Cohen
As season five of USC's sanctions comes to a close, what has UCLA accomplished in the years its main rival was on NCAA-mandated life support?
Have a 10-win season? Once, just like USC.
Finish with the best record in the Pac-12 South? Once, just like USC.
Win a bowl game? Once, just like USC.
Upset a top-10 team? Once, but USC did it twice.
Be ranked AP No. 1? Nope, but USC was.
Be ranked in the AP top 10? For four weeks, vs. USC's eight.
Win the conference championship? Nope.
Play in a BCS bowl? Nope.
Ban the USC drum major from stabbing the field in 2012? Yes!
Plant the UCLA flag midfield at the Coliseum in 2013? Yes!!
Deface the Arizona State logo in 2014? Yes!!!
Send an injured walk-on receiver to "protect the logo" last Saturday? Yes!!!!
Clearly, the standout accomplishment for UCLA football in the five seasons it had a chance to dominate the Pac-12 South was "protecting the logo."
When will the banner-raising ceremony for the "Undisputed Logo-Protecting National Champs 2012, 2013, 2014" be scheduled?
Taking a shot at Kobe
Kool-Aid stock is probably rising with Kobe Bryant being its most passionate salesman. In one breath he defends his $48.5-million contact, but in the next breath, after another horrible but routine shooting night (27.2%), he blames his poor game on being 36 ("It's just one of those 36-year old [hiccups]." The only consistency with Bryant is blaming his lousy play on his age.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but Kobe knew he'd be 36 this year and 37 next year when he signed the $48-million contract, right? Despite this, he continues to insist that his play and his contract are good for the Lakers. Rather than Kool-Aid, Kobe needs a dose of Sodium Pentothal.
I heard that the Lakers strongly support their coach. And why not? After all, they get paid, win or lose ... and their coach hardly ever gets mad at them.
James M. Ammann
The Sifford story
Great story by Bill Dwyre on golfer Charlie Sifford, whose courage and tenacity to succeed in an unfair racist environment to raise the dignity of black people is heroic. To think that the white overlords of golf back in the day could believe that African Americans were inferior and undeserving of equality is demeaning, disgusting and shameful. These overlords had their true reasons for doing so. I wonder what they were. The other shocking and sad truth is that there are still people out there who believe that way.
Paul L. Hovsepian
Whoever said that the L.A. press was easy to work with? Bill Shaikin frets that Andrew Friedman has been with the Dodgers for 42 days and hasn't signed a Hall of Famer. 42 days! The paint hasn't dried on Friedman's walls and Shaikin is telling him how to run his office. Ignore the huge fiscal handcuffs inherited from Ned Colletti, we want World Series rings?
Rather than bash the guy before he's read his mail, we should all hope that Friedman will be around for 20 years.
At first, I was shocked that the Dodgers let Hanley Ramirez go to the Red Sox. Then I realized that management was just making salary room to re-sign to Manny Ramirez and Don Stanhouse.
UCLA basketball player Thomas Welsh after the Bruins were stomped by North Carolina, 78-56: "The plan right now is just to forget about this game [and] learn what we can from it."
Is Yogi Berra in the house?
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