UPDATED TUESDAY 11.15.11:
Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
Soccer: MLS Cup: Galaxy vs. Houston, Home Depot Center, Sunday at 6 p.m., ESPN:
Where in the world is the Phillip F. Anschutz MLS Cup Trophy? Not yet the Galaxy’s possession. Before the week’s over, it’ll have been dragged by former Galaxy stars Alexi Lalas and Mauricio Cienfuegos for display at the Santa Monica pier, over to a couple of tire stores in Long Beach and Norwalk, at a sporting goods store in El Segundo, and then dodging soccer moms at shopping malls in Woodland Hills, Century City, Arcadia and Santa Ana. It eventually parks itself in Carson, handed over to the team deemed to be the American Champions of Professional Kickball. For the fourth time in the last nine seasons, the award named after reclusive man from Denver will be handed out at the stadium he owns to one of the teams he owns. How’s that for an episode of “Modern Family?”
But even more of a DNA consequence: Will David Beckham’s family tell him this is his last game in L.A.? He’s been said to be interested in playing for the French club Paris St. Germain. Or some other English teams. Where are his loyalties? “Right now I don’t know what I am going to do at the end of the season because physically I need to see how I am,” he said. “Obviously there is a few things to look at. Is my family happy? Which they are. In the five years we have had great experiences as a family. Everyone has treated us so unbelievably well, but physically I still need to see where I am at the end of the season. Then I will decide.” He made more than $6 million a year here, so it couldn’t have been that painful. He also appeared in an MLS career-best 26 of the Galaxy’s 34 regular season games, scoring twice and adding 15 assists (seven of the game-winners). If anything, he’ll share the spotlight for this one with Landon Donovan, MLS defender of the year Omar Gonzalez and MLS Best IX pick Todd Dunivant as the Galaxy take on the Dynamos’ team led by midfielder Brad Davis. The Galaxy hasn’t lost a game all year at Home Depot Center, which includes a 1-0 win over Houston on May 25 (a penalty kick goal by Donovan; Beckham wasn’t there). Houston clinched second place in the East with a 3-1 win over the reserve-filled Galaxy in their season finale on Oct. 23, as Galaxy coach Bruce Arenas was resting players for the upcoming postseason.
College basketball: USC vs. Nebraska, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
Maurice Jones proved to be the go-to guy for USC in their opener against Cal State Northridge, scoring eight of the team’s final 12 points in a seven-point home win. USC lost to Nebraska last year by a basket having once led by 20 points.
NFL: Minnesota at Green Bay, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
The 8-0 Packers toppled the Vikings, 33-27, just two weeks ago in Minneapolis, which is right around their NFL-high 34.4 points per game average this season They’ve won 14 in a row going back to the postseason (and including the Super Bowl title) and 10 in a row at home. The Vikings (2-6) are actually coming off a victory over Carolina.
College basketball: UCLA vs. Middle Tennessee State, L.A. Sports Arena, 8 p.m., Prime:
Bring on the hula girls and the beach umbrellas: This is the opening game of the Maui Invitational before the Bruins actually fly off to the islands. Maybe they’ll ware down the Blue Raiders with the Ware twins better than what happened in their opening loss to Loyola Marymount — which lost to MTS on Sunday.
College basketball: Duke vs. Michigan State, 4 p.m., and Kansas vs. Kentucky, 6 p.m., ESPN:
The State Farm Champions Classic in New York brings in four marquee names, without forcing them to play on the deck of an aircraft carrier. This is actually part of the ESPN annual 24 hours of hoops live coverage, where 19 men’s and two women’s games are carried on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3. It starts at 9 p.m. Monday (Washington State at Gonzaga, ESPN) and ends with a NIT Season Tip-Off game from Stanford (tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPNU). Also included in this mess: Cal State Northridge at Hawaii, 1 a.m., ESPN; San Diego State at Baylor, 11 a.m., ESPN; and Long Beach State at Pitt, 4 p.m., ESPN3.
NHL: Kings vs. Ducks, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Fast facts about the first Freeway Face-off of the season: The Ducks have won the last three in a row, four of the six and hold a 46-45-11 edge since ’93-94. After this, they go to Anaheim on Thursday (7 p.m., FSW, Prime). Another fact of life: Current King and former Duck Dustin Penner will miss this with an injury.
Golf: President’s Cup, first day, 6 p.m., Golf Channel:
If Fred Couples did the right thing and invited Tiger Woods to be part of the U.S. team for this once-every-two-year event, we should find out early. Meaning, while it’s Thursday in Australia at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, it’ll still be Wednesday night here when the first day’s events take place.
Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee said the controversy around Woods’ selection is only a slice of what makes this feel like a heavyweight championship fight. “When you step back and look at this Presidents Cup — the controversy surrounding Tiger’s pick; (international captain Greg) Norman’s comments about that pick; Freddie’s rebuttal to Norman’s comments; the fact that Tiger Woods has stolen Dustin Johnson’s caddie and fired his or he defected to Adam Scott and then the terrible racist comments of Stevie Williams and the potential pairing and the site of the only U.S. loss …. it’s almost like Don King has been hired to promote this thing.” The U.S. Team retained the Cup during the last go-around in San Francisco in ’09, winning 19-1/2 to 14-1/2. The Americas hold a 6-1-1 dominance in the event — but the International Team’s lone victory came in 1998 when it was back at Royal Melbourne. Golf Channel goes live Thursday (4:30-to-11 p.m.), Friday (noon to 11 p.m.) and Saturday (3:30-to-9:30 p.m.), while NBC comes back with delayed coverage on the weekend (8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday; noon to 6 p.m., Sunday) as an alternative to football. aturday (3:30 to 9:30 p.m.). NBC jumps in with delayed coverage on the weekend
NFL: N.Y. Jets at Denver, 5:20 p.m., NFL Network:
An extremely short week for the Jets, coming off their Sunday nighter against New England and then having to head West on the Tebow Express. So expect the excuses to come early and frequent.
College basketball: USC at San Diego State, 7 p.m., Mountain West Sports Network:
These Aztecs probably have better post-season potential than these Trojans.
High school football: CIF Southern Section first-round game: Lakewood at San Clemente, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
The prep post-season starts. The FoxSportsWest.com website also will stream Huntington Beach vs. Loyola, St. John Bosco vs. Alemany, Yucaipa vs. J.W. North and Palmdale vs. Canyon at 7:30 p.m.
College football: Oklahoma State at Iowa State, 5 p.m., ESPN:
You roll up 66 points and win by 60 against Texas Tech, and the computers will give the advantage to the BCS No. 2 Cowboys.
College football: USC at Oregon, 5 p.m., Channel 7:
Who made the rule that USC can’t play in the Pac-12 title game? You mean if Oregon wins out in the Pac-12 North, and USC squeezes out the best record in the Pac-12 South, instead of a rematch of this game, it’s possible that a Utah team that finished .500 in conference will be the only one eligible to face the Ducks?
College football: UCLA vs. Colorado, Rose Bowl, 4:30 p.m., Versus:
No snow predicted for Pasadena in the extended weather forecast. It would probably favor the Buffaloes anyway, who finally won a conference game last week against Arizona. A team that the Bruins, of course, was once embarrassed against.
College football: Cal at Stanford, 5 p.m., Channel 7; 7:30 p.m., ESPN; Arizona at Arizona State, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona; Harvard at Yale, 9 a.m., Versus; Boston College at Notre Dame, 1 p.m., Channel 4; Boise State at San Diego State, 5 p.m., CBS Sports Network:
A weekend of games that rivals nothing else in the game.
NHL: Kings vs. Detroit, Staples Center, 1 p.m., FSW:
The Red Wings, fourth in the league in goals against average at 2.2 a game, won four in a row coming into this week, but they’re 2-3 on the road so far.
College basketball: USC vs. Cal Poly, Galen Center, 1 p.m.:
The opening game of the Las Vegas Invitational is here (as is the next one against Mongan State next week) until they actually go to Vegas to play Vegas.
NASCAR: Ford 400 Sprint Cup, Chase for the Cup: noon, ESPN
The finale at Homestead, Fla., outside Miami, officially marks the end of Jimmie Johnson’s five-year reign as the Sprint Cup champion. By the way, does Kyle Busch have a shot at the title? He should.
NFL: Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4; San Diego at Chicago, 1:15 p.m., Channel 2:
The Chargers can’t afford a repeat performance from their game last week against Oakland. Nor can the 3-6 Eagles. “Just because they have a bunch of Pro Bowlers doesn’t guarantee success,” NFL on Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson said before Sunday’s 21-17 loss to St. Louis. “You’ve got to have good players that don’t make mistakes. Philadelphia will probably win big today and they’ll probably win about eight games. However, Philadelphia for the playoffs, I’m sticking a fork in them! They’re not going to make the playoffs.” Heck, they didn’t even make Johnson’s prediction right.