Just a little help staying ahead of the sports world learning curve heading back into the work week:
1. UCLA has a victory T-shirt already for sale at its student store. “Celebrate Good Times” it says, with the final score. For 18 bucks. If I want it standard flat ground rate – we’re guessing a few business days — that’s $6.95 added for shipping. But what if I want it before Thanksgiving? One-day shipping is $26.95. Two-day shipping: $16.95. But then, if I want it delivered to me at my Pauley Pavlion seat, it’s only a $100 charge. Even better since there’s not another game at Pauley until next Sunday. Gotta go with that option. It makes the most sense.
2. Not sure what we’re supposed to take away from Johnathan Franklin’s throat-slash gesture after he scored his game-clinching touchdown for UCLA against USC on Saturday. We’re inclined to go along with what Patrick O’Neal of Fox Sports tweeted out on Sunday: “Johnathan Franklin established himself as greatest running back in #UCLA history but hurt chances for mayor of LA w/ throat slash.” Considering he is serious about that mayoral campaign as some point, this could come back to an otherwise upstanding citizen, especially with the way things can be interpreted in Los Angeles.
We give him the benefit of the doubt in that the throat slash is the way those who play in the video game “Mortal Kombat” signal that their opponent is finished. Except there was a story last month about a Chicago fan who came into a Jacksonville bar to watch a Bears-Jags game and died after he had his throat slashed. About 10 years ago, the NFL issued an edict that it would start to fine and suspend players who did the throat slash. The league called it “an unacceptable act of violence.” The gesture had been used by, among others, the New York Jets’ Keyshawn Johnson. ”I like to come up with something new every week,” the USC grad said at the time after doing it during a “Monday Night Football” game. “I just try to be original.” Originally, we didn’t think much of it. But now we’re wondering if Franklin even know what he was doing. The only thing the officials could do Saturday was flag him for an unsportsman-like conduct penalty. We’ll leave the Pac-12 to see about any further reprimanding, and the voters of L.A. to see how short their memory can be.
3. Gotta hand it to the Galaxy — their return to the MLS Cup, clinched by Robbie Keane’s penalty kick goal that came as a result of a pass somehow catching the hand of Seattle defender Adam Johansson in the penalty box, makes David Stern-type conspiracy theories sound reasonable for the pro kickball circuit. The league’s glamour team has made it in after a season where it barely made the playoffs then somehow did its best imitation of the Kings to man up during the post Supporters Shield celebration. Their rematch with Houston, the No. 5 seed from the East – on Dec. 1 at Home Depot Center would hardly move the needle during the regular season. But now that the Galaxy have one more chance to win a title before David Beckham likely hangs up his boots (that’s the correct term, right?), AEG might as well start mapping out another parade route. Short, and sweet.
4. Eight Pac-12 teams are bowl eligible – neither of them are Utah nor Colorado — and there’s a spot for all of them if they’re not careful. Still, some more BCS befuddlement. Not only has USC fallen out of the BCS standings, but Kent State is in.
At No. 23. A notch higher than Arizona and two up on Washington. The 10-1 Golden Flashes, who clinched the MAC title, has one win against a ranked team — 35-23 against No. 15 Rutgers in late October. No. 10 Florida State, which is as high as No. 5 in the coaches’ poll, did not even rate a ranking spot in the Kenneth Massey computer, one of six used to factor into the BCS rankings.
5. Mike D’Antoni might not call it a knee-jerk reaction, but as long as his knee replacement continues to take time healing, no need to speed up the replacement process as long as Bernie Bickerstaff’s babysit produced wins four times out of every five contests.