At the end of the first half of the Raiders-Chargers game, Sebastian Janikowski attempted a 76-yard field goal:

It was way short, as you might expect considering the NFL record is 63 yards. I wonder why they even tried it — has Janikowski ever made one this long in practice? That’s the only legitimate reason to try one.

It was fun to watch though.

UCLA lost to Fresno State. That was no surprise.

But UCLA put up 31 points. Considering how bad the Bruin offense looked against BYU and Arizona, that was a huge surprise. 

There is no such thing is a moral victory. A loss is a loss, and I’m disappointed that the Bruins lost. But I’m not nearly as down as I was after the BYU and Arizona games. I have hope now that this team might not be that bad the rest of the season and could win a few games. I didn’t have that hope before today.

It was the defense that blew the game, giving up 36 points and completely unable to stop Fresno State when it counted the most on the final never-ending drive. But that’s not a reason to be concerned yet. Usually, it’s UCLA’s good defense that bails out its bad offense, or at least keeps the game close. This is the first time I can think in recent years that it was the other way around, and the defense has a lot of young players. If they’re still this bad by the end of the season, there’s a problem, but one rare bad game when the offense does well will happen once in a while. It does to other teams at least.

UCLA plays Washington State next week, and I’m actually confident the Bruins can win. How about that for a change?

There’s a lot of potential crazy scenarios for how this baseball season can end, and that would be true even if rain weren’t involved.

NL EAST/WILD CARD:

Currently, the Brewers and Mets are tied for the wild card, with the Phillies 1.5 games ahead of the Mets in the NL East (1 game in loss column) and Houston still technically alive 3.5 back of the Brewers/Mets (3 in loss column).

Theoretically, there’s still a chance for a 3-way tie between the Phillies, Mets and Brewers for the wild card and division, and a 3-way tie between the Mets, Brewers and Astros for the wild card only. I can’t ever remember there being a 3-way tie for a playoff spot before (correct me if I’m wrong), so this would be fun to watch.

How it would work (assuming no rain):

Read the rest of this entry »

How bad it’s gotten for UCLA

September 25, 2008

Apparently, the UCLA athletic department is advertising in Fresno, encouraging Fresno State fans to come to the Rose Bowl for Saturday’s game. UCLA has bought ads in the Fresno Bee and in radio ads in Fresno, encouaging people to come see the game (hat-tip both times to Bruins Nation).

Yikes.

I can’t say I blame them for trying to make more money. But this just looks terrible. Could you imagine any other major program doing this?

Thoughts from Saturday

September 14, 2008

First things first — I was thrilled to see Francisco Rodriguez get his 58th save, breaking the MLB record. Read my full post about it at Bugs & Cranks.

I thought it was kind of funny to see Micah Owings get the game-winning, pinch-hit RBI double for the Reds against the Diamondbacks. He was acquired from Arizona earlier in the week to complete the Adam Dunn trade. Owings, as you’ll remember, is primarily a pitcher (but a great hitter for a pitcher) and was used only as a pinch-hitter tonight by the Reds, not a pitcher.

Must USC win every big game by a lot?

And UCLA … oy. I’m trying to avoid talking about them. We had to know this was going to be a tough season, and that opening win against Tennessee just gave us false hope. But 59-0? That was one of the worst UCLA games I’ve ever seen, if not the worst. Well, just like the message coach Rick Neuheisel gave to his players after the game, “Adversity Builds Character.” (Hat-tip to Bruins Nation) I’m giving UCLA and Neuheisel the benefit of the doubt this season, since they have little talent. I’m confident this team will be good in a couple of years. It’s just tough to watch right now.

AL West Champions!

September 11, 2008

The Angels have clinched the AL West title. They’re going to the playoffs.

Read my full post at Bugs & Cranks.

Self-promotion first: Check out my latest post at Bugs & Cranks.

The big story all week has been Tom Brady having a season-ending injury. I’m definitely not a Patriots fan, and was rooting for the Giants to beat them in the Super Bowl. Longtime readers of this blog know I’m a big fan of underdogs. The Patriots, who have been the best franchise in the NFL in recent years, aren’t exactly underdogs.

Yet I have gone crazy it seems — I actually kind of want the Patriots to win now.  I’m not a big NFL fan, but I have long held a few related beliefs about football:

1) Quarterbacks are overrated and given way too much attention and hype.
2) Tom Brady isn’t the only reason the Patriots won all those games and scored all those points.
3) Football is a team sport, most positions go relatively unnoticed (anyone on defense, the offensive line) and it’s those guys who make the quarterback, running back and wide receivers look good.

This is the perfect way to test what I’ve always thought was true. Not only is Brady out, he’s being replaced by a guy who hasn’t started a game since high school in Matt Cassel.

This is almost like a scientific experiment to me. I know, my views are far from radical, many of you out there agree with me. It just doesn’t always seem that way.

If Cassel guides the Patriots to a great season, what does it say about Brady? Or what does it say about how good the Patriots are about how important having a star quarterback really is?

I’m actually interested in watching the Patriots play the next few weeks — something I wouldn’t have said if Brady was still playing.

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