The big question at the cocktail hour on ESPN today will be whether one of the nation’s better rushing attacks can be stopped. . . .
The surprise is that it belongs to UCLA, not San Diego State. The Bruins are rushing for 198 yards per game to only 119 for Marshall Faulk and company. . . .
UCLA’s toughest assignment might be cutting off the Aztecs at the pass. Tim Gutierrez has thrown for 592 yards in the last five quarters against Minnesota and Air Force. . . .
USC quarterback Rob Johnson might beat Arizona again Saturday night in Tucson, but not like last year. He pitched the ball to tailback Deon Strother, who threw a three-yard pass to a leaping Johnson in the end zone in the fourth quarter to help give the Trojans a 14-7 victory at the Coliseum. . . .
If Jody Reed wants a three-year contract, the Dodgers should give him a three-year contract. . . .
The San Francisco Giants or Atlanta Braves will become the eighth major league team to win at least 100 games and not finish first. The Baltimore Orioles did it the last time in 1980 when their 100 victories left them three back of the New York Yankees in the American League East. . . .
The schedule has favored the Giants recently, but Atlanta will play its final three games at home against Colorado. The Rockies are 0-10 against the Braves and in danger of becoming the first National League team to go winless in a season series. . . .
Ron Gant and David Justice could become the first two players on the same team to finish 1-2 in RBIs in the National League since George Foster and Joe Morgan of the Big Red Machine in 1976. . . .
The Giants wouldn’t be in the NL West race if they hadn’t traded Charlie Corbell to the Oakland Athletics for Rod Beck in 1988. . . .
Few tears are being shed about the Cleveland Indians playing their final series at Municipal Stadium this weekend. . . .
Skip Caray was more fun to listen to when the Braves were a last-place team. . . .
Most Chicago Cubs want to see Manager Jim Lefebvre rehired. . . .
Houston Astro pitcher Pete Harnisch needs a new tailor. . . .
Jose Rijo would have been in the thick of the Cy Young race if Cincinnati Red relievers hadn’t blown five leads for him in the ninth inning. . . .
Pedro Guerrero, who played for the Sioux Falls Canaries in the Northern League this season, is contemplating buying the Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks of the same league. . . .
A switch to first base might save Tony Gwynn from his annual arthroscopic knee surgery next September. . . .
There will be plenty of interest in Florida Marlin shortstop Walt Weiss if he becomes a free agent. . . .
Division realignment will separate the Philadelphia Phillies from the Pittsburgh Pirates for the first time in 104 years. . . .
The announcement that the new stadium in Arlington, Tex., will be called the Ballpark drew boos at a Ranger game. . . .
If you plan to watch HBO’s telecast of the Lennox Lewis-Frank Bruno fight at 7:30 Friday night, don’t watch or listen to any sports news before then. The World Boxing Council heavyweight title bout is being shown on a three-hour tape delay from Wales. . . .
Riddick Bowe will conduct an hourlong workout, including a sparring session, today at 12:15 p.m. at the ABC Entertainment Center at Century City in preparation for his Nov. 6 rematch against Evander Holyfield at Caesars Palace. . . .
Bill Caplan wants to promote a charity boxing match between old pros Mickey Rourke and Tony Danza. . . .
All three Mighty Duck-King games at Anaheim Arena are sold out. . . .
Even with the loss of Sarunas Marciulionis, the Golden State Warriors still figure to be the most improved team in the Pacific Division this season. . . .
Spotted in a pickup game at Pauley Pavilion: Big John Williams guarding Magic Johnson. . . . Is there any significance to Michael Jordan not being pictured on the cover of either the NBA Guide or NBA Register? . . .
How refreshing that Jamal Mashburn of the Dallas Mavericks is donating $500,000 to the University of Kentucky scholarship fund and Pooh Richardson of the Indiana Pacers is donating $100,000 to a basketball endowment fund in his name at UCLA.