Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
UPDATED MONDAY, 8 AM:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
If Randall Goforth had a real Twitter account, what would he really want to say about what’s going to happen in this year’s annual renewal of the Bruins-Trojans rivalry? The deflating tweets apparently sent from a fake account attributed to the UCLA freshman defensive back were enough to rile up a couple of star USC receivers, which leads us to believe that the next phony social media story line generated from this meeting will have to do with UCLA’s Tevin McDonald announcing that he’s had un-friended his brother, USC’s T.J. McDonald, on his Facebook page. Lexus Gauntlets and Victory Bells aside, this meeting has a Pac-12 South Division title in the balance, one that UCLA danced away with a year ago despite USC’s 50-0 spanking at the Rose Bowl in the last regular-season game for both teams. No doubt, USC has dominated things with wins in the last five in a row and 12 of the last 1, by an average score of 34-13.The only blip: UCLA’s 13-9 upset over No. 2 USC at the Rose Bowl in 2006, sparing the Trojans from a national title game appearance. Goforth was just a 12-year-old living in Long Beach at the time that happened, and like the rest of the world, had no idea what a Twitter would be.
NFL Week 11: Kansas City at Pittsburgh, 5:20 p.m., ESPN:
The 5-3 Steelers, 3-0 at Heinz Field, haven’t lost a home Monday night game in more than two decades. The 1-7 Chiefs haven’t held a regulation lead this season. Pick ’em?
NBA: Lakers vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
The new, permanent head coach is in place for the Lakers — the Italian import, Mike D’Antoni. Meanwhile, the Spurs still have some pop under coach Gregg Popovich, coming in at 6-1, having only lost once already at Staples Center to the Clippers last week. San Antonio knows how to share, though. They lead the league in assists (25.0 a game, lead by Tony Parker’s 7.7) Other key games this week at Staples Center: Friday vs. Phoenix (7:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet) and Sunday vs. Houston (6:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet).
College basketball: UCLA vs. UC Irvine, Pauley Pavilion, 8:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
The Bruins, who apparently have to forge ahead for awhile without freshman Shabazz Muhammad, showed off the depth of coach Ben Howland’s recruiting class with stellar performances by 6-5 Jordan Adams (21 points) and 6-9 guard Kyle Anderson (10 points, 10 rebounds) in the 27-point win over Indiana State in the opener. The Anteaters started the season running past Nevada by 14 points, sparked by guard Daman Starring (25 points). The start of this Legends Classic event gives UCLA two home games (including Thursday, 8 p.m., vs. James Madison) before a trip to Brooklyn to meet Georgetown and possibly No. 1 Indiana.
College basketball: USC vs. Long Beach State, Galen Center, 6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
The Trojans got to see how someone like Omar Oraby will change the chemistry of a team that lost a school-record 26 times a year ago. Oraby, the transfer from Rice granted eligibility after a hardship waiver petition, had 16 points, six rebound and three blocks in USC’s season-opening game gainst Coppin State. James Ennis, the only returning starter from the 49ers’ Big West Conference champions, scored 19 points in his team’s 10-point season opening win against North Alabama.
College basketball: Michigan State vs. Kansas, 4 p.m., Duke vs. Kentucky, 6 p.m., Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, ESPN:
The State Farm Champions Classic doubleheader pits the Blue Devils and Wildcats in a rare regular-season matchup. Their last meeting: 2001, when Duke won 95-92.
NBA: Clippers vs. Miami, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime, ESPN:
They just finished a mid-October tour together in China during the exhibition season, where they allowed each other to win one game. For real, the defending champion Heat bring their circus to town for the first of two visits (the other: Jan. 17 against the Lakers). Other key game this week: Saturday vs. Chicago (Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Prime).
College basketball: Cal State Northridge at University of San Diego, 7 p.m.:
Was CSUN’s season-opening win over Pepperdine a fluke? A 20-4 advantage in bench scoring provided to be the difference. The Matadors start this week with a home game against Eastern Washington (tonight, 7 p.m.) before heading to San Diego for four in a row at this National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation Challenge. After playing the host Toreros, they have a meeting with Siena (Friday, 4:30 p.m.), Tulsa (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.) and Northern Kentucky (Sunday, 3:30 p.m.)
Tennis: Davis Cup final: Spain vs. Czech Republic, in Prague, Czech Republic, first round, 7 a.m., Tennis Channel:
In the 100th Davis Cup final, Lukas Rosol, who upset Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon last summer, is joined by Ivo Minar and the doubles team of Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek as the Czech Republic looks to win its first Davis Cup title as an independent nation (in 1990, Czechoslovakia won it behind Ivan Lendl). Spain, which ousted the U.S. in the semifinals in September, goes with David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro and Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez on doubles as Nadal remains out with an injury. This is a repeat of the 2009 final, when Spain, behind Nadal and Ferrer won the first three matches. Doubles are Saturday with reverse singles Sunday.
The Trojans knocked off the Bruins, 4-3, in the first game of the Crosstown Cup series last week on USC’s home rink – in Anaheim. They’ll meet again three more times before the Pac-8 playoffs (Feb. 8-9). And, no, this isn’t an NCAA-sanctioned event. More info: uscicehockey.com and uclahockey.org
College football: Stanford at Oregon, 5 p.m., Channel 7:
The championship in the Pac-12 North is at stake. Right, Oregon State (hosting Cal at 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Net)?
MLS: Western Conference final: Galaxy at Seattle, 6 p.m., ESPN:
How could the fourth-place team from the West end up playing on its home turf again for a MLS Cup finale? By winning this second leg of the conference title, and drawing Houston instead of D.C. United in the title game – and recreating the match up from last year’s championship, also at Home Depot Center. Houston pulled off a 3-1 win in its first leg against D.C.
NASCAR: Ford EcoBoost 400, Homestead-Miami Speedway, 11 a.m., ESPN:
At last, the Chase ends, with Brad Keselowski in position to control his destiny toward his first Sprint Cup championship. It’s not over for Jimmie Johnson, who dropped to 20 points behind him in the standings after crashing in Phoenix on Sunday. But it won’t be so easy. Keselowski’s dance card reads: The title is his with a 15th place finish or better, a 16th place finish with a lap led, or a 17th place finish or better with the most laps led in Miami. His worst finish in the previous nine Chase races is 11th. “Does he now go on defense?” asked ESPN NASCAR studio analyst Ricky Craven. “What’s gotten him this far is going on offense. It’s almost that he’s immune to the circumstances involved. But he’s never had (this big a lead) with one race to go. I’m curious to see how he manages traffic. This is a tricky track in Miami. And I can assure you Jimmie Johnson will throw everything out the window.”
Auto racing: Formula One U.S. Grand Prix, Austin, Tex., 10:30 a.m., Speed Channel:
F1 returns to the U.S. for the first time in five years, and the first major event at the newly built 3.41 mile, 20-turn, counter-clockwise track is the next-to-last event of the season. Seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher, one of the richest athletes in sports history who says he’s retiring again at the end of the season, is just 15th in the standings, lead to date by fellow countryman Sebastian Vettel.
NFL Week 12: San Diego at Denver, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2:
With the Chargers locked into the L.A. market, CBS has to show that one instead of Indianapolis at New England going on at the same time. Cleveland-Dallas is the lead-in at 10 a.m. Best of the rest: Baltimore at Pittsburgh (5:20 p.m., Channel 4), Green Bay at Detroit (10 a.m., Channel 2).