Our Daily Dread: Undefeated, and unable to prove anything — that’s the Cincinnati we know and don’t care about

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The countdown is 696 hours — give or take a Colt McCoy miscalculation of the game clock — to when the top two undefeated teams in college football from the 2009 championship season show up at Rose Bowl to determine the NCAA’s top team.

With all is shredded and done up, either current No. 1 Alabama, by virtue of the fact that it defeated previous No. 1 Florida in the SEC championship, or current No. 2 Texas, by virtue of the fact a replay official decided there was one second left in its Big 12 Championship game against Nebraska and a face-saving field goal could be attempted, will have a wreath of roses placed around their necks by 9 p.m. January 7, 2010.

Yet, there could still be three undefeated teams left standing when all the bowls are finished.

Who ever said life, or the Bowl Championship Series, was fair?

The only really fair thing, sorta, is that after a couple of months of unproven promises, fumbled opportunities and a perfectly timed McCoy brain cramp, the current five undefeated major and pretty-major college football teams are ranked in the top six.

That’s unprecidented in the 12 years of BCS fiacso. See, the BCS can always surprise you with another historic blunder.

By the team Alabama (13-0) has a date with Texas (13-0), the Fiesta Bowl will have already determined a winner between long-forgotten No. 4 Texas Christian (12-0) and who really cares No. 6 Boise State (13-0) which will, for the sake of argument, keep the whining alive. That’s a matchup made in hell that they’re already saying could challenge the all-time BCS low TV rating of 5.4 set by last season’s Virginia Tech-Cincinnati meeting in the Orange Bowl.

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But then there’s No. 3 Cincinnati (12-0), where life sucks. You’ve made your bed, and are now told your pillows aren’t fluffed enough. You’ve survived your schedule, got invited to play with the big boys, but you’re not going to win the showcase showdown.

Your consolation prize is the BCS hoping that former No. 1 (and current No. 5, and only once-beaten team) Florida (12-1) mashes you up in the Sugar Bowl so it doesn’t have to think of you — or that Orange Bowl from a year ago — for another eight months.

“The system works better now than it’s ever worked,” Mitch Dorger, the soon-to-be-departing Rose Bowl chief executive officer, was recently quoted as saying.

Better than what?

At $275 a ticket for the BCS title game — that’s face value — it’s a morally flawed, money-generating system that works depending on who ends up with the No. 1 and No. 2 rankings.

In this case, Cincinnati lmost decidedly lost the beauty pageant to far-uglier, but more historically robust Texas squad.

Those who played for the Longhorns this season may agree that their record doesn’t reflect their performance, but the BCS can look at itself in the mirror and at least know that name brands sell, and Bearclaws, er, Bearcats just confuse people (is that a cross between a bear and a kitten? It just ain’t natural).

Not that computer data should be the final determinant on who goes where — but it does, so we do take it into account. The current BCS rankings has Cincinnati with an ACR (average computer ranking) of No. 2, one spot ahead of Texas. Cincinnati is ranked No. 2 by the Anderson & Hester poll, as well as by Peter Wolf poll. It’s no. 3 by three others, and No. 4 by another. Throwing out the highest and lowest score, as is proceedure, the four remaining polls are added and divided by 100 to produce a Computer Rankings Percentage that declares the Bearcats worthy of a trip to Pasadena.

Not so far, my human friends.

The problem for Cincinnati was that those with financial stake in all this don’t agree. The two people polls used here — Harris and the USA Today Coaches — have Cincinnati all the way back at No. 4. Since the two human polls are 2/3 thirds of the grade against 1/3 computer average, Cincinnati’s overall ranking stablized at No. 3.

Because a Texas team that was less-than-impressive in not beating anyone ranked above No. 20 in the final polls stayed at No. 2 in both human polls, mostly because that’s where it started the season and then really didn’t drop anywhere during the long haul — it edged ahead of the hard-charging Cincinnati, despite the fact that the Longhorns’ ranking was below the Bearcats in four of the six computers.

So the BCS title game was humanely prevented having a Alabama-Cincinnati matchup.

Thank goodness.

If Cincinnati defeats Florida in the Sugar, the best it can hope for, by virtue of the BCS system, is a No. 2 overall ranking, behind the Texas-Alabama winner. That doesn’t even factor in how TCU and Boise State will play out, with one of them left unblemished by the whole charade.

Yet, some contend this is all still a good thing.

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The headline on a Wall Street Journal posting (linked here) says the “BCS computers have actually made progress.”

The WSJ argument is that in 2004, when five teams were also undefeated before the bowls, the rankings didn’t reflect how tighly bunched they were. USC and Oklahoma made it to the Orange Bowl to play the national title. After the Trojans won, there were four unbeatens left. No. 3 Auburn and No. 6 Utah never got a sniff of the title shot, and No. 10 Boise State was left out of all the BCS bowls.

“In college football, this marks progress,” writes WJR’s Carl Bialik. “Every undefeated team appears to be ranked pretty fairly, and each one got a plum bowl-game matchup. There’s still no playoff, and therefore still the reality that some teams had no chance to win the national title when the season started. But two out of three ain’t bad.”

When we’re determining national championships in the most lucurative NCAA sport by a system that “ain’t bad” after all these years, it’s not a kind reflection on this system of higher education. This is the kind of progress they use in measuring how long it takes your freezer to defrost these days compared to the mid-’60s.

Those who obtained a degree from a major university have to look at this system and wonder: Are we missing something? How did this get so dumbed down? Where’s Billy Packer to at least show some outrage?

If I’m a graduate of the University of Cincinnati right now, considering booking a trip to New Orleans to celebrate the possibility of an unbeaten season but no realistic chance at a payoff for it, why bother?

The logic is just as flawed as everything else related to this BCS structure. You get caught up in paying $1,000 for a trip, ticket and hotel stay — and for what? For the chance to claim No. 2?

In this set, there are the saints. And the sinners. And then there’s Cincy.

Susie Cincinnati we thought you were a winner
Susie Cincinnati, city’s number one sinner

== The Beach Boys

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Gammons opts for free agency, inks multi-year deal MLB Network, according to Gammons’ sources close to the situation

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Peter Gammons, the Baseball Hall of Fame journalist, former Boston Globe writer and a fixture on ESPN’s baseball coverage for the last 20 years, signed on to join the MLB Network and MLB Advanced Media today.

On the TV side, he will report on breaking news, trades, winter meetings and the postseason. Online, he’ll start a new column and post stories.

As part of his departure from ESPN, which begins after the current winter meetings in Indianapolis, Gammons also signed a deal with NESN as a studio analyst and reporter.

On the MLB Network, Gammons will be seen in about 54 million cable and satellite homes — about half of what the ESPN reach.

So what, he says.

“My decision to leave ESPN and move on at this point in my life has been conflicted,” the 64-year-old Gammons said in an MLB release. “I owe a great deal of my professional life to ESPN, having spent more than half of my 40 years in journalism working for the network, and the choice to move on was made with nothing but the strongest feelings for the people with whom I worked. ESPN gave me a great deal more than I gave it, and will always be a huge part of who I am.

“I will forever be joined at the hip with John Walsh, who hired me as an ink-stained wretch, plunked me on TV and has always been a guiding spirit. Understand how the people who run ESPN treat people: when I was felled by a severe aneurysm in 2006, George Bodenheimer, John Skipper, Norby Williamson, my former Boston Globe boss Vince Doria and everyone made certain that my family and I had the best care and support, far, far beyond any reasonable expectation. My ESPN life has been lined with foxhole people whom I’ll never forget.

“I’ve been able to work with my closest and oldest friends, like Jayson Stark, Tim Kurkjian, Buster Olney, Peter Pascarelli, Jerry Crasnick and Charlie Moynihan. I spent three seasons doing games with a producer, Tom Archer, who is among the most revered leaders I’ve ever met. I told everyone last October that the team baseball coordinating producer Jay Levy put together with Mark Preisler and Marc Carman was the most creative in my 20 years on the show. I apologize to hundreds of people I owe for all these years for not mentioning their names.

“You would have had to be there for 20 years to know how hard so many good people sweated in anonymity to make all of us look as if we knew what we were doing.

“My friend Tom Rush – who taught James Taylor and me our first guitar chords – once wrote how strange it seems to walk away alone. With no regrets.”

John Walsh, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor, said Gammons “was the best and the brightest in making the transition from print to video. For ESPN, he contributed 21 Hall of Fame years as a journalist and, throughout, set the standard for others to reach for.”

Gammons began his journalism career as a reporter for the Boston Globe in 1969, also working at Sports Illustrated for two stints (1976-78, 1986-90).

“It’s hard to imagine a reporter who is more deeply associated with a sport than Peter is with Major League Baseball,” said Tony Petitti, President and Chief Executive Officer of MLB Network. “Having Peter associated with MLB Network is an incredible opportunity and another great step for MLB Network as we head into our second year on January 1.”

If there’s any question that the NESN gig has any influence in Gammons’ breaking away from the grips of ESPN, it’s evident in this other statement he gave in an NESN press release:

“I’m a New Englander who wanted to be Jackie Jensen,” said Peter Gammons. “I started out at the Boston Globe and wrote about Jerry Remy when he was at Somerset High School. I was lucky enough to be there for the Munson-Fisk fight in 1973 and The Sixth Game and the ’78 playoff, and when my local cable company wouldn’t put NESN on our system I signed the override petitions.”

“NESN has given me the opportunity to come back to my roots and once again be part of my neighborhood, and I am truly excited about it. During the 2007 World Series, Matt Holliday said that what differentiated Fenway Park from any other stadium is that fans don’t react, they anticipated, and that creates a tension unlike any other audience in sports. It is a great feeling to be back with that audience.”

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Your L.A. NFL Week 14 TV schedule: You got shopping to do? Go for it

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Especially, to a place like Costco. Or Best Buy. Or Fred’s Giant Screen TV Barn. Places where they have giant flat screens, where you can sit and watch while the rest of the family tries to figure out what you really need.

When you know all along, what you need is a giant flat screen TV. And a La-Z-Boy. And everyone else to just shut up. Especially those with the Tiger Woods Breaking News updates.

And it would be nice of the league’s two undefeated teams might be shown in L.A. … naw… not when Favre’s available …

THURSDAY

== 5:20 p.m., NFL Network: Pittsburgh at Cleveland, with Bob Papa and Matt Millen

SUNDAY:

== 10 a.m., Channel 11: New Orleans at Atlanta with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (instead of Carolina-New England, Detroit-Baltimore, Green Bay-Chicago or Seattle-Houston).

== 10 a.m., Channel 2: Cincinnati at Minnesota, with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf (instead of Denver-Indianapolis, Miami-Jacksonville, N.Y. Jets-Tampa Bay or Buffalo-Kansas City)

== 1:15 p.m., Channel 2: San Diego at Dallas with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms (as opposed to what Fox has: Washington-Oakland and St. Louis-Tennessee)

== 5:20 p.m., Channel 4: Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants with Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Andrea Kremer

MONDAY:

== 5:30 p.m., ESPN: Arizona at San Francisco with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski.

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The book (and movie) on John Daly … that, we’d buy

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By Dennis Passa
The Associated Press

COOLUM, Australia — Now that John Daly has his weight problem sorted out, he figures a movie about his up-and-down career — and life — might not be far behind.

Just before heading out to the revamped Hyatt Regency resort course for a practice round ahead of the Australian PGA, the slimmed-down Daly, who has lost 115 pounds, entertained an early morning news conference Tuesday with his cinematic plans based on a new book he would write himself.

He nominated “King of Queens” star Kevin James as the actor who might play him before his weight loss, and ahead of February’s lap-band surgery.

And who’d play the now-185 pound Daly?

“I just saw Matt Damon, how he swung a golf club, and I thought if I ever made a movie, I want him to be me,” Daly said. “The tough part is who would play me at 290 pounds. Now Kevin James, he’s my bud, but he’d be good.”

When asked what the main storyline might be, he said: “It would just be the life, it would be the whole thing. the guts of it all.”

“The problem is who is going to play all the ex-wives?” added Daly, who has four ex-wives.

The most recent book about his life, “John Daly, My Life in and Out of the Rough,” was published in 2006.

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Sorry about that fake Jordan running around Utah … made you look

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The Associated Press

OREM, Utah — An NBA Development League team owner is apologizing for misleading fans who thought Michael Jordan would play in a charity game at the Utah Flash’s home opener.

Flash owner Brandt Andersen acknowledged sending a Jordan lookalike around town Monday, when supposed “Jordan” sightings and an Internet video of the impostor eating at a local restaurant created buzz that Jordan really was in town. More than 7,500 fans showed up hoping to see Jordan play 1-on-1 against former Utah Jazz guard Bryon Russell at halftime.

The Flash had been pitching the Jordan-Russell rematch since September despite never hearing from Jordan after Andersen issued the first challenge.

Andersen maintained he held out hope that Jordan would agree to be part of Monday’s promotion.

“This was done in fun,” Andersen wrote on his blog after the game. “If you did not see it as fun or you feel we went over the top I am sorry.”

Andersen that he had always planned to send out a lookalike, complete with bodyguards, into the community.

“We wanted to test the strength and effectiveness of viral media by putting him out in Provo with bodyguards, and some hype,” he said. “I always assumed it would be uncovered very quickly that it was a hoax.”

Fans caught on when the impostor trotted on to the court at halftime and started booing, then leaving.

Andersen had offered a $100,000 to the charity of the winner’s choice if he could get Jordan and Russell to play a game of 21.

Jordan’s jumper over Russell in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA finals gave the Chicago Bulls a 4-2 series win over Utah. Jazz fans still insist Jordan pushed off Russell.

During Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech, he said he was motivated by Russell’s trash talk toward him during his first retirement.

As part of his apology, Andersen is offering tickets for a future Flash game for fans with tickets from Monday night’s game.

Thanks, but no thanks.

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Our Daily Dread: Tweetly, deetle dumb-it-down, right-on take on Twitter

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Our new favorite story: Eddie Matz writes in the latest issue of ESPN’s magazine about his assignment to be part of the top 100 stories of 2009.

Namely, he was given the task of writing about how Twitter has made athletes their personal mouthpiece.

If we could link to it, we would. Just not sure how much of this we can reproduce without getting ourselves or anyone else in trouble — you gotta buy the mag to see the whole thing — but coming in at Story No. 28, right after Mark Buehrle’s July 23 perfect game and right before that March 12 game at Madison Square Garden between Syracuse and UConn — six OTs during the Big East tournament — is the Twitter examination. For which Matz starts off with:

I hate Twitter. There, I said it. I hate Twitter because I fear one day it will render my job obsolete. I hate Twitter because everybody talks and nobody listens; there is little dialogue and a whole lot of monologue. … I hate Twitter because it breeds vanity, narcissism, geo-centrism and every other self-serving neurosis. I hate Twitter because it reaches the masses like Facebook on steroids. I hate Facebook. And steroids.

Matz goes on to deftly explain why, having said that, he hates having to write about it, but will anyway because, well, that’s his job. Funny, then, when he tries to contact those athletes who Twitter, to talk about the experience. He tried contacting them through their Twitter accounts. Very few of the 1,173 pro athletes listed on twitter-athletes.com responded.

You can actually see Matz’s attempt to contact them at http://twitter.com/ESPNeddiematz. Yes, you can watch a journalist at work. Getting worked over by the medium he’s supposed to be reporting on.

And that bothers me, because it feeds my deepest issue with Twitter: Everybody’s more than happy to talk at you but nobody wants to talk with you. Even Twitter execs follow this rule. Two e-mails to company headquarters requesting an interview go unanswered. … I’d pick up the telephone (call me old-fashion) but there is no working number to be found. … I tweet company creator Jack Dorsey and CEO Even Williams. Surely they’ll respond, I think. I am playing by their rules. But I never hear back.

Full disclosure: We recently hopped on with a Twitter account, just to see what happened (www.twitter.com/tomhoffarth). We’ve used it only to announce a recent blog or column posting that may be of interest to some. Right away, we were given a shout-out by SI’s Arash Markazi (who not only has http://twitter.com/Arashmarkazi but his own Wikipedia entry worth noting at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arash_Markazi) and SportsByBrooks.com creator Brooks Melchior (http://twitter.com/SPORTSbyBROOKS) and we started getting all kinds of emails saying people are following me.

Why? Why not. It’s how it works. I guess.

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Doesn’t this show already exist … something about the Kardashians ….

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The Associated Press

A reality series that promises an inside look at the lives of NBA players’ wives and girlfriends is set to air early next year.

VHI said Monday that “Basketball Wives” will debut March 15 and show the upside of the women’s lives — big homes, designer clothes and jewelry — and the drawbacks, including worries about whether their husbands are being faithful on roadtrips.

Shaquille O’Neal’s wife, Shaunie, will be featured and is an executive producer. Others taking part are Eric Williams’ wife, Jennifer, and Mesha O’Neal, married to Jermaine O’Neal.

That’s all well and good, but isn’t Shaunie and Shaq separated? Seems we read that again very recently (linked here). She actually flew to L.A., claimed to be a California resident, and the next day filed the paperwork so that she could get a better settlement? And this mess all started years ago when she got involved with the gardener? Yeah, wives worry about husbands cheaing all the time…

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Our Daily Dread: What media whores are trying to talk to Tiger? Uh, all of ‘em …

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HBO has already been snubbed in the “Get Tiger On Camera” pursuit, but ESPN and/or Golf Channel seem to be best positioned to land the first post-accident Tiger Woods Interview, according to those scrambling to find out such things.

A blog post on today’s Golf.com website (linked here) reports only on what USA Today is reporting (linked here), then adding its own four cents.

That dutifully reported, “60 Minutes” could be in the mix, “Oprah” is on the radar, since she was on the Tiger-Elin wedding guest list back in ’04, and … National Enquirer?

So let’s speculate more, because that’s what we happily do in the media these days without concern of repercussions, hoping to open a non-sensical dialogue that really means nothing in the grand scheme of the world’s rotation but fills five more seconds of dead time:

Our list of the best and worst Woods interview scenarios:

Best:
1. Bob Costas, for NBC: Makes the most sense, NBC does golf, although NBC also does “Saturday Night Live” (see a clip from last Saturday’s episode). If Costas could distance himself from that, maybe. Costas would also make this a bigger coup if he pulled it over the MLB Network.
2. Dan Patrick, for syndicated radio: He can use the velvet glove to get the story but also show some perspective.
3. Jim Rome, for Fox Sports Radio: He wouldn’t softpeddle anything.

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4. James Brown, for CBS: If Tiger’s first golf appearance in 2010 falls on a CBS broadcast, it could work. Also: Jim Nantz or David Feherty, but not likely.
5. Jeremy Schaap, for ESPN: He’d know how to handle it.

Worst:
1. Barbara Walters or Diane Sawyer: Seriously?
2. Jim Gray, Jimmy Roberts, Craig Sager, Jim Gray (yes, we know we already mentioned him), Matt Lauer, Whoopie Goldberg, Regis Philbin, Chris Myers, Roy Firestone, Scott Van Pelt, Chris Connelly, Chris Berman, Tom Rinaldi or Jim Gray: Individually, or collectively, like on a group pannel of “The View.” Just because. Because, because, because, because, because.
3. Katie Couric, Charles Gibson or Brian Williams, for CBS, ABC or NBC: Fire up the pretend hard questioning, soft lighting, and start the Emmy push for their biggest “get” of the year outside a woman with eight babies.
4. Oprah”: She’d likely have the couple on together, polished and with their stories straight, with a less-than-sympathetic audience ready to pound on him with their purses. Too controlled — which is probably how Tiger envisions things, but gets his message out.
5. Bryant Gumbel, for HBO: A “Real Sports” live event that would be more on Bryant and less on Tiger.

Most likely, if we were to get into his head:
1. Tiger does a live webcast on his website, picks his own interviewer (Rich Lerner, Feherty or Christiane Amanpour), draws millions of visitors, and the rights to the video have the TW watermark on them so when they’re rebroadcast on the networks, there’s the advertisement.

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Frankly, if we were Tiger, we’d do our first interview with a Japanese TV crew, and then claim we were misquoted.

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Stephen A., back on the radio … howeva …

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Fox Sports Radio, which just announced the signing of Stephen A. Smith as a host for its network lineup, has no place to put him. Yet.

The former ESPN Radio voice who has recently regained his spot as a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist will join the Fox Radio Net as a host starting Jan. 4. But there are no further details.

Smith is a regular fill-in for the nationally syndicated Steve Harvey Morning Show, but that probably won’t preclude Fox from putting him the very early AM slot (6 to 9 a.m.) to start things off. In L.A., it would not be heard — Dan Patrick’s show runs in the same time slot and has been well entrenched, as the lead-in to the Jim Rome Show (9 a.m. to noon) on KLAC-AM 570.

FSR has Steve Hartman and Chris Myers in the noon to 4 p.m. spot, and Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith in the 4-to-7 p.m. spot. That’s the jump into the night with with the recently re-established Tony Bruno Show (7 to 10 p.m.), which pushed J.T. The Brick (10 p.m. to 3 a.m.) even further into the darkness.

So where does Stephen A. fit?

Qute frankly, that noon to 4 p.m. spot will likely be his — with or without Hartman as his sidekick — when Chris Myers’ contract ends. That’s also where Smith did most of his radio work back in his ESPN days could use the biggest boost in the FSR lineup.

“I can’t begin to convey how excited I am to be with Fox Sports Radio,” Smith said in a release. “I’ve thoroughly missed being on the airwaves expressing myself, my thoughts and my passions. I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to the folks at Fox Sports Radio for this tremendous opportunity. I’m hyped, psyched and ready to go. Buckle up and let’s get this party started.”

Don Martin, the Fox Sports Radio VP/GM based in L.A., adds: “His broadcast experience and industry connections, combined with his tell-it-like-it-is style, will make a great addition to the top-quality, sports entertainment programming we deliver to our audience.”

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Play it forward: Dec. 7-13 on your L.A. sports calendar

MONDAY

According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, the emergence of “The Blind Side” to the No. 1 spot on the box office list this weekend, and having amassed $129.3 million in just 17 days, means it surpassed “Rocky IV” as the highest-grossing sports drama on record (although it is a far cry in terms of attendance). Among football-themed movies, only the Adam Sandler comedies “The Waterboy” and “The Longest Yard” made more, and “The Blind Side” will soon overtake them as well. It should also get more pub on tonight’s “Monday Night Football” — that’s Michael Oher, starting left guard, Baltimore Ravens. The story’s been told a few times in a few ways (see video above), but it never gets old.
NFL: Baltimore at Green Bay, 5:30 p.m., ESPN.

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Did you get your Luc bobblehead at Saturday afternoon’s game? Sorry. Maybe the concession stand has some leftovers, for 20 bucks a shot (get it …. that was Luc’s number). This is also the first of four games the Kings play this week, three at home, one quick trip to San Jose. They hope not to go down in flames against the … well, you know…
NHL: Kings vs. Calgary, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West, 1150-AM.

TUESDAY

There’s nothing magic about this.
NBA: Clippers vs. Orlando, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, 980-AM.

Compared to Nebraska, Texas and Georgia Tech, Sac State is a welcome sight to Trojan basketball fans.
College basketball: USC vs. Sacramento State, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m., 710-AM.

WEDNESDAY

The Jazz present a problem. Finally. The Lakers nine-game win streak looks to be finally challenged — oh, maybe with another Kobe 3-point bankshot at the buzzer.
NBA: Lakers vs. Utah, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West, 710-AM.

The Sharks always present a problem.Not like the shark over at the Monterey Aquarium that had to be let go because it was eating all his friends. At least it wasn’t as bad as this clip above.
NHL: Kings at San Jose, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, 1150-AM.

THURSDAY

Coyotes can bite, too, when you’re not paying attention.
NHL: Kings vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSN West, 1150-AM.

FRIDAY

No, Mr. Rambis, you need to go to that other locker room. Sorry. And take that big ring with you.
NBA: Lakers vs. Minnesota, Staples Center. 7:30 p.m., FSN West, 710-AM.

Idaho State might want to schedule a game against UCLA at Pauely as well, maybe earlier in the day, as the opener of a potential doubleheader sweep.
College basketball: USC vs. Idaho State, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m.

SATURDAY

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It’s where we hope, again, for another healthy sighting of John Wooden, and maybe his not-so-great great grandson will finally get some playing time.
College basketball: UCLA vs. Mississippi State at the Wooden Classic, Honda Center in Anaheim, 1:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, 570-AM.

But before the Bruins take the basketball court, their athletic program will be glued to this football game to see if they need to arrange for a trip to the East Coast for something called the EagleBank Bowl (didn’t they go under?) against Temple (they have a football team?). Go Navy. (A reminder: You can get some good holiday gift ideas at Old Navy. Or the Salvation Army.)
College football: Army vs. Navy, 11:30 a.m., Channel 2

The first of a five-game road trip (and seven of the next nine away from home) should be a nice test after so many pop quizzes over the last couple of weeks. And this could be an opportunity to clean up after their previous meeting earlier this week.
NBA: Lakers at Utah, 6 p.m., Channel 9, 710-AM.

At last, a Saturday night contest. Star quality.
NHL: Kings vs. Dallas, 7:30 p.m., Staples Center, FSN West, 1150-AM.

SUNDAY

Perhaps, the first Eva Longoria Parker sighting of the year, leading into another “Desperate Housewives” episode. And maybe she’ll touch your hand and ask you to please pass over a Heineken Light.
NBA: Clippers vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., 980-AM.

And some outtakes:

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