Letters to Sports: The Rise of Troy still has a long way to go

USC quarterback Caleb Williams celebrates after a season-opening win over Rice at the Coliseum on Sept. 3.
USC quarterback Caleb Williams celebrates after a season-opening win over Rice at the Coliseum on Sept. 3. Are the Trojans one of the best teams in the country?
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Last year, I pleaded with Bill Plaschke to stop making predictions. Now he says that the Trojans might be the nation’s best team. Here are my predictions for him:

Sometime during the next month, he will predict that the Trojans will win the College Football Playoff.

After their first loss, he will declare that their season is effectively over.


At the end of the regular season, he will make a case that they should be in the CFP.

Alson Wong
Rancho Cucamonga


No, the Trojans are far from being the best team in the nation. I love the Trojans, but if you saw what I saw, (Trojans vs. Stanford) USC was lucky to have won that game.

Donald Peppars


So USC beats unrated Stanford by 13 points, and Bill Plaschke says the Trojans could be the best team in the nation; and the Times sub-head says “team dominates.” Just another issue of the Trojan Times.

Martin A. Brower
Corona Del Mar



Is USC the best offensive team in the nation? Possibly. But could it be the best team in the nation? Not yet. If one watched the game on Saturday, Stanford’s new offense pushed the Trojans defense around all night. If the Cardinal hadn’t made some early mistakes close to the Trojans goal line, the score might have been Stanford 42, the Trojans 41. Are the Trojans going to be an exciting team to watch? Definitely yes. But are they No. 1? Not as long as Bryce Young and his boys have anything to say about it.

Mark Walker
Yorba Linda

How the Kimbrel crumbles

Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel walks off the field after giving up a three-run home run.
Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel walks off the field after giving up a three-run home run to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 10th inning on Wednesday.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Even though the Dodgers have won the NL West, they are still in a dogfight with the Astros for the best record in baseball, which will secure home field advantage should they get to the World Series. Dave Roberts appears oblivious to this fact.

Wednesday night, he rested Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman and Justin Turner — the bulk of the team‘s offensive production. Even worse, Roberts brought in the erratic Craig Kimbrel to pitch the 10th inning despite Evan Phillips having only tossed seven pitches in the ninth. Predictably, Kimbrel surrendered a two-out, three-run homer to the weak-hitting Diamondbacks to lose the game.

When will Roberts open his eyes to what everyone already knows? Kimbrel is not the pitcher he once was and is no longer a viable option as closer.

Brian Gura
Redondo Beach


Julio Urías’ family gathers around a TV in Culiacán every time he pitches. They pray for the Dodgers ace who overcame eye surgeries to become a star.

Sept. 15, 2022

This year’s failed Kimbrel experiment brings back memories of others. Nearly 30 years ago the Dodgers acquired the great Cardinals closer Todd Worrell — at the end of his career. By May, I knew he was washed up, but it took the Dodger manager till the end of July to figure it out. Then in 2017 for some inexplicable reason, Brandon McCarthy was included on the playoff roster, despite having an absolutely horrid year. Roberts brought him in in the 11th inning of a tied Game 2 of the World Series. Instant defeat.

With his overall performance, there should be no way that Kimbrel can take the role of closer in the playoffs. Not sure he should even be on the roster.

Mike Schaller
Temple City


Why do the Dodgers have a wild celebration for winning a weak NL West division while most NBA teams barely acknowledge winning a conference championship after three rounds of playoffs?

Baseball players will claim they should be rewarded for every accomplishment because the season is such a long grind. But the NBA season is also six months and while they play only half the number of games, teams travel more and basketball players expend more energy in one quarter of a game than baseball players spending 95% of their games either sitting in the dugout or standing around in the field.

So let’s hope none of the Dodgers’ star players get injured patting themselves on the back before the playoffs even start so they might accomplish something really worth celebrating.

Bennett Beebe

Crimson slide

Great to see UCLA is finally playing a rigorous nonconference schedule. Alabama is a worthy opponent to measure Chip Kelly and the Bruins’ progress. Oh wait — they are playing South Alabama and Alabama State, not the Crimson Tide? In the words of Roseanne Roseannadanna — never mind!

Mark Roth
Los Angeles

UCLA overcame a heroic effort by South Alabama, relying on a Nicholas Barr-Mira 24-yard field goal as time expired to claim a 32-31 win Saturday.

Sept. 17, 2022

No golden moment for Silver

Dear Adam Silver,

Your suspension and fine of Robert Sarver is an embarrassment to your leadership. His $10 million fine based on his net worth of $800 million is the equivalent to fining someone who makes $100,000, $1,250. His suspension of one year is unexplainable. Donald Sterling was removed from the NBA for the same behavior, rightfully so. Sarver’s racist, misogynistic and bullying at any level in society should not be tolerated. By allowing Sarver to stay in the league screams that this behavior in the future is acceptable. Shame on you Silver.

George Sagadencky

99 (yard) problems

Seriously Justin Herbert? If you were trying to channel your inner Jean van de Velde then you seriously succeeded.

Marty Foster
San Francisco

Down shift

So MLB thinks baseball will become more exciting by eliminating the shift? Maybe, but how about instead players up their game and learn to hit to all fields like Freddie Freeman, Tony Gwynn, Ichiro Suzuki, and Rod Carew, just to name a few? Or become proficient at bunting for a guaranteed single to the open side of the infield like Max Muncy did a couple of nights ago?

Most of today’s baseball players appear to have atrophied into uni-dimensional hitters who swing for the fences and strike out at a rate that has risen 50% in the last 16 years. MLB wants more hits and more excitement? Don’t dumb the game down. Make hitters learn to hit it where they ain’t.

Roy Forbes
Los Angeles

Prime pain

It took me, an older but at least somewhat tech savvy person, almost an hour to get Amazon Prime for the Chargers game added to my older television. I can’t imagine how the average fan does it, much less having to add and pay for yet another subscription.

That and the fact that every commercial was a solicitation for free money to become a sports wagerer/gambler is very worrisome to a streaming world where 10 different subscriptions are required for what used to be just a nice afternoon of sports on local television.

Bob Goldstone
Corona del Mar

The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.