Five things we learned from the past weekend: Nov. 23-25


Notre Dame running back Theo Riddick, right, and wide receiver Luke Massa, left, celebrate after Notre Dame defeated USC on Saturday night at the Coliseum to remain unbeaten. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Just a little help staying ahead of the sports world learning curve heading back into the work week:

1. Notre Dame, 12-0, yet far from perfect. Just ask the folks at Stanford who won when the two schools met on the football field a short while. But do the Irish have a prayer in the world to capture the BCS title sometime early next year against either Alabama or Georgia – or whatever SEC team is thrown in there to keep the streak of six national championships for the conference in a row? Plenty of them, especially if every series ends in a goal-line stand. Because Notre Dame won’t stand for it, as USC reluctantly figured out  Saturday night in a 22-13 grind-it-out loss. From South Bend to South Beach, after that detour in South Central, Notre Dame’s luck isn’t going to run out any time soon. They’ll sell tons of school logo apparel during the Christmas season, ring in the new year in Miami, and ride this wave through the recruiting season. Lucky them? “Everyone calls it luck but I think we’re a very good team,” said Irish defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore after Saturday’s win. That’s good as gold.

2. If the Dodgers agree to a new deal to stay with Fox Sports’ Prime Ticket that would go as high as $7 billion, and last as long as 25 years, would Bud Selig approve it? He would probably demand a cut of it considering how he had to do all the heavy lifting to make sure it all came together as former owner Frank McCourt tried to under-sell the potential deal for his short-term profiteering. There’s one report trickling out that the parameters of a deal that would keep Time Warner Cable’s mitts off the Dodgers as their next great investment could come before the exclusive window of negotiation expires on Friday.

3. What are we supposed to make of a UCLA basketball team with Shabazz Muhammad getting playing time now, but the 1-2 week is capped with blowing an 18-point lead against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Not Of Los Angeles? You hit the sack Sunday night thinking everything is aligned, and all heck breaks loose in Westwood again. Before Shabazz’s arrival, the Bruins almost lost to UC Irvine in OT. This week, they’re hosting Cal State Northridge, then San Diego State. Is that part of the reason why Tyler Lamb has left the program.

4. Last season, there were 72 bowl-eligible teams for 70 spots in the 35 games. Somehow, that was after UCLA was allowed in at 6-7. Following Saturday’s games, there are another 72 who have at least six wins and a record of .500 or above, leaving the NCAA from the probable embarrassment of having to implement a backup plan that would have determined who needed to get a special invite despite their dispositions. This year, it hasn’t helped that Ohio State, Penn State, Miami and North Carolina qualified, but are ineligible for extenuating circumstances. If you’re looking at this as a measure of conference strength, nine of the 10 teams from the Big 12 qualified (yes, it makes no sense). Only seven of the 12 in the Big Ten can go (again … stupid). Just four of the eight left in the Big East can go, with one more maybe. The SEC has the most, with nine (of 14), but the Pac-12 ends up with a better percentage, getting eight eligible – except for  Utah or Colorado, who were added in 2011 to punch up the conference’s national profile. And last we checked, USC is eligible and is likely, according to those who lay out all the scenarios, to be headed to the Sun Bowl in El Paso against Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech. Bring your passports. UCLA, if it doesn’t knock off Stanford to make it to the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl, can count on either the Holiday Bowl in San Diego or the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, with a Big 12 foe like West Virginia, Texas Tech or Oklahoma State. Although, going to Las Vegas to face Boise State wouldn’t be all that terrible.

5. Those using either the men’s or women’s restrooms at the Coliseum during Saturday’s USC-Notre Dame game did not hear the Trojans’ radio call of the contest as they sought relief. The audio piped into Latrine Valley was the radio call of Lakers’ game in Dallas. Both USC and the Lakers share 710-AM, but the Trojans were moved to 690-AM. Apparently the stadium operators didn’t know.

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