Five things we learned this weekend: Sept. 7-9

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Where does comedian Rob Riggle go for his material? The Daily News sports section, apparently. In his debut as the funny-man prognosticator for the “NFL on Fox” pregame show Sunday, Riggle’s sketch included him scanning the Tuesday, Sept. 4 edition of the newspaper for updates as to what was going on in the NFL from his “master bedroom” … which turned out to be David Beckham’s house. Note: Riggle wasn’t using a laptop and searching for the Daily News website. He’s still a print guy.

Helping you stay ahead of the sports world learning curve:

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(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
UCLA tight end Joseph Fauria, left, celebrates with guard Jeff Baca, right, after scoring a touchdown during the first half Saturday against Nebraska at the Rose Bowl.

1. Caution: Despite objections, teams at No. 2 and No. 22 in the latest AP poll are closer than they appear. There’s 2-0 USC hanging onto its second-best ranking after the not-so-electrifying 13-point win against Syracuse, and 2-0 UCLA poll vaulting into the Top 25 after its stunner against Nebraska in what they’re calling a “signature win” for coach Jim Mora. Put the two on a neutral field, and which one would be the field-goal favorite? Probably neither, since they each seem to lack a kicker.

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2. The Dodgers, in almost all calculable scenarios, needed to sweep the Giants, and do so convincingly. Instead, they left the heart of their lineup in San Francisco, and ripped the hearts out of their fans by watching them drop two of three, including a shutout in the finale after ace Clayton Kershaw couldn’t convince Don Mattingly to let him pitch. Sitting 5 back in the NL West is one thing, but 2 back in the NL wildcard is more disheartening. That’s what happens when the heart of the lineup goes 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position. Kershaw says he’s been told he’ll get five starts left this season, likely the next one Tuesday in Arizona (where Matt Kemp is also expected to rejoin the party). If things fall right, Kershaw will throw the opener of the final three-game series against the Giants on Oct. 1. At that point, will it matter? No, because Joe Blanton will likely get at least four more starts over the last 21 games as well.

3. We’re not sticking a surgically repaired neck out here on this one: Peyton Manning has Denver already misremembering everything it ever knew about Tim Tebow. His no-huddle offensive manuvers gave the Broncos 10 minutes less in that critical time-of-possession category than what Ben Roethlisberger had with running the Pittsburgh offense, but it mattered nothing at all in Denver’s 31-19 victory. “It’s just one game,” he said afterward. “I try to keep it in perspective.” If only he got a cut of all the new orange and blue No. 18 jerseys that’ll be selling at the Rocky Mountain Pro Bass Shops this week.

Robert Hingle/US Presswire

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4. The value of Robert Griffin III’s rookie card just went up by the power of III. As Andrew Luck would have it, RG3′s debut came at the expense of the $100 million man, Drew Brees, in the Superdome, with a 320-yard passing performance, and two TDs, during a 40-32 win over the Bounty-Gated Saints. Even classier, Griffin stayed loyal to his Adidas endorsement deal by trying to black out the Nike swoosh on his Redskins’ warmup shirt.

5. So, the Vikings nail a field goal in overtime, but don’t get to celebrate the win until the Jags … don’t do anything afterward? Guess we’re still not sure how games are decided beyond the regulation 60 minutes. Tie goes to the runner?

Photo of the weekend:

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AP Photo/Chris Carlson
Angels center fielder Mike Trout robs Detroit’s Prince Fielder of a home run in the final out of Saturday’s 6-1 win at Angel Stadium. The Angels’ sweep of the Tigers this weekend gives them six wins in a row and 11 of their last 12 heading into a four-game series against Oakland. Trout also hit lead-off homers in back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday.

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