After UCLA's latest drubbing at the hands of Utah, Jim Mora cast much blame on injuries. The truth is that his defense has been one of the worst and poorly coached in the country since game one. He should either accept that and quickly correct it or recognize his shortcomings and turn the Bruins over to someone who can correct it. Perennial top-20 recruiting classes should be faring much better.
It's good timing for UCLA football that the team's latest blowout lost to Utah will receive less scrutiny due to the lingering hangover from the Dodgers' World Series loss to Houston. But some of us are still paying attention, and are dismayed at the team and program's lack of success and relevance ... in the division, in the conference, and nationally.
As an early supporter of coach Mora, I appreciated the energy, toughness and wins that came early on in his tenure. But that success came with players he inherited. Unwatchable games, mounting losses, recruits fleeing, attendance dwindling. Is there one piece of solid evidence that this program is headed in the right direction?
Accepting the status quo of the last two years reveals a tolerance for mediocrity and a glaring lack of expectations by the athletic department leadership. A university of UCLA's stature demands more and deserves better.
There are more bowl games than teams that win six games. So if UCLA should win one more game they could get a participation bowl invite. You know, try hard and have nice graduation rate and you can get invited to fill a meaningless bowl game so TV has something to show.
Wonder if UCLA wins one more game if they would participate in such a bowl? Wonder if fans would take time out of holiday planning to go to such a game? Wonder what bowl games mean anymore, other than the ability for a school to get more practices in? Wonder if a school that doesn't hang NIT championship banners, proclaims "Champions made here" would accept such a participation invite?
A lot of wondering for a season that is ending on a sad note after the exhilaration of the monster come-from-behind win to start the season, and filled fans with such hope that this could be a breakthrough season.
In less than seven days the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time Mora past recruits lost two games by 52 points and three of his current prized recruits decommited. Was not the announcing and then the opening of the heralded eight-figure Wasserman Center supposed to turn around the UCLA football recruiting? Of course in his first three years he beat USC. Oh wait; those were with Neuheisel recruits.
Finishing it off
Who would have thought the 2017 Rams would have a better chance to win the Super Bowl than the 2017 Dodgers the World Series?!
In 2017, the Dodgers lost (to injury) lefty phenom Urias, promising outfielder Toles and solid veteran Ethier. Forsythe had arguably his worst year. Ditto Pederson. Hernandez hit .215. Neither Utley nor Grandal hit much or played great defense. Gonzalez tapped out to Father Time.
The Astros? They had two Cy Young winners, a three-time batting champion and a few MVP candidates. Their leadoff man slugged 34 homers. Their No. 8 hitter batted .314.
So, which team was Goliath?
Kudos to Dave Roberts and the front office for piecing together a scrappy team that somehow made winning look easy, almost inevitable. For all the talk of analytics, chemistry is the science that took these Dodgers to the brink of a championship.
Of course, they are already favored to win the 2018 World Series. No pressure, right?
Dylan Hernandez's Nov. 3 article, "Eyeing a Title," has some interesting observations. However, the primary reason for the $8-billion TV deal had little to do with serving the public. It had little to do with rebuilding a team. And, it certainly had nothing to do with making the games more affordable and available to the public on TV.
The operative word here is greed, and let the public be damned.
When prices for tickets, parking, food, drink and any souvenirs are added up, I am continually amazed at how the crowds can afford it.
I guess, "If you inflate the charges, they will come."
A World Series Game 7 is as much a psychological challenge as a physical one. Some out-of-the-box thinking may have changed the outcome.
So, what if Kenley Jansen had started, shut the Astros down for one or two innings, then Brandon Morrow had come in and shut them down for one or two more. By then the Astros may have been intimidated and maybe the Dodgers had even put up a run or two; the momentum would have been with the Dodgers. Then Kershaw comes in and psychologically the Astros know it's over. Sure it's a backward rotation, but what if?
Palos Verdes Estates
A heartfelt thank you to our Dodgers for one of the greatest seasons in franchise history. I am not sure why The Times prints letters from people who were obviously the last person picked in their sandlot games.
I will put this Dodgers team up with any of the my beloved teams from the '60s, 70s and 80s. I cannot thank them enough for providing my children the opportunity to experience a season for the ages.
Enough with the pictures and articles on Lonzo Ball. It's like a second coming of Kobe Bryant, when there were no others on the team. How do you expect to build a "team" that way?
Robert C. Thompson
Marina Del Rey
If Lonzo keeps shooting like this, they'll have to start calling Staples Center "The Brickyard."
So the professional Ball is shooting 29% . The college Ball is under house arrest in Shanghai for shoplifting . The high school Ball is being home schooled in grammar by a father who described the Shanghai situation as "it ain't no big deal." I hope the shoes are selling .
I believe that with Lonzo Ball's poor start in his NBA career, he should be worried that his younger brother had more steals than him last week.
UCLA now stands for:
U Commit Larceny Abroad
As an alumnus I am appalled.
This UCLA story is very disappointing. They went all the way to China, people were detained, and none of them were Dan Guerrero or Steve Alford
So Luol Deng is upset and his feelings are hurt because he is not being used the way he thought he would when he signed a $72-million free-agent deal with the Lakers. Deng needs to shut up and thank his lucky stars he found someone dumb enough, Jim Buss of course, to pay him $71.99 million more than he was worth.
One and dones
How about having all incoming athletes sign an contract agreeing to, if they leave prior to the completion of their fourth year and who sign a professional contract, to reimburse the school for the cost of their scholarship for the remaining years? Then take that money and put it, not into the athletic program, but into academic scholarships for students who are there to actually get an education. UCLA cost for California residents for 2017 -2018 is set at $33,604 (on-campus residents); $61,618 for non-residents.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is right that scholarship penalties or freshman ineligibility proposals are not great ideas. Better to address the issue head-on and recognize college basketball and football for what they are, multi-billion dollar businesses. Let the professional leagues and colleges agree to pay college athletes, let the pros draft them whenever they want, let the drafted athletes stay in college until "called-up" by the pros.
Sure, that makes colleges real minor leagues. Sure, there will be problems having paid athletes playing alongside non-paid ones. But it would be honest and clean up the mess we have right now.
I believe that Jackie Robinson would side with Colin Kaepernick. I'm sorry that Vin Scully does not. I could give Mr. Scully scores of reasons not to watch the NFL, but a quarterback taking a knee would never be one of them.
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