The week ahead on your L.A. sports calendar and beyond:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
UCLA at NEBRASKA, 9 a.m. Saturday, Channel 7:
With the game tied at 27-27 and about nine minutes left in the final quarter, there went Bruins defensive end Datone Jones. Breaking through the Nebraska line and spiking Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez into the end zone turf for a safety in last year’s Rose Bowl meeting propelled UCLA to an eventual 36-30 win over the nation’s No. 16-ranked team, and put coach Jim Mora onto college football’s radar. So, too, was Brett Hundley, who completed 21 of 33 passing for 305 yards and four TDs in his first home game. “We were sitting in the sideline, just chilling, and then Datone sacks him, and it’s an explosion in the Rose Bowl,” Hundley said at the time. “That’s just what we needed.” Boom goes the Huskers. Martinez, meanwhile, had no TD tosses and one pick, but the Corona native will be back in his senior season to face the Bruins again, having guided Nebraska to a 2-0 mark so far after Saturday’s win over Southern Miss. Interesting fact: Nebraska doesn’t have a road game until near mid-October – it plays five in a row at home to start its season, with the Bruins coming in as the main course.
THE BEST OF THE REST:
MLB: DODGERS vs. ARIZONA, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:
The rest of the regular season – all 20 of ‘em – are against NL West opponents, with seven versus the Diamondbacks. Let’s say Arizona takes all seven over the next two weeks.The Dodgers still have enough wiggle room to continue calculating magic numbers and post-season pitching rotations, right? The Dodgers get no relief on the first night of the series, having to fly home from Cincinnati after a Sunday night game. The reward for Dodger fans: Another Hello Kitty bobble head giveaway.
The series continues:
Tuesday at 7 p.m., Channel 9
Wednesday at 7 p.m., Prime
TENNIS: U.S. OPEN, Men’s final, 2 p.m., Channel 2:
For reasons like Novak Djokovic needing more than four hours to get rid of Stanislas Wawarinka on Saturday, the men’s final will no longer be played the day after the semifinals, even if it means pushing it to a third Monday every year. Djokovic, in his fourth straight U.S. Open final, has his sixth Grand Slam championship match meeting against Rafa Nadal. Djokovic has won three of them, including the 2011 U.S. Open title, a year after Nadal speed past him for the 2010 championship.
NFL WEEK 1:
PHILADELPHIA at WASHINGTON, 4 p.m., ESPN
HOUSTON at SAN DIEGO, 7:15 p.m., ESPN:
How red would the NFL get if ESPN decided not to refer to Washington as the Redskins in this contest, following some recent media trends? Better yet, what if Robert Griffin III didn’t use it either? Redskins coach Mike Shanahan says that unless “there’s some crazy setback that we don’t anticipate,” RG3 is fit to play in the season opener, some eight months after tearing his ACL during the playoffs last season. Eagles rookie coach Chip Kelly, meanwhile, will try to translate the Oregon college game on an NFL gridiron with Michael Vick pushing things to the limit. After that’s over, we’ll see how much voltage the Texans’ J.J. Watt has available to shock the Chargers’ offense into retreat mode.
SOCCER: 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: U.S. vs. MEXICO, Columbus, Ohio, 5 p.m., ESPN:
If the Americans (4-2-1) win to clinch their seventh straight World Cup berth (coupled with a win or tie by Honduras against Panama), it’ll be without Jozy Altidore, benched for getting a second yellow card during the messy 3-1 loss to Costa Rica on Friday. Injured midfielder Michael Bradley could also be missing against Mexico (1-1-5), which just fired its coach and could resort to some unpredictable act of desperation here.
MLB: ANGELS at TORONTO, 4 p.m., FSW:
The Angels’ trip to Canada doesn’t translate well this late in the season as far as trying to make up ground in the AL West.
The series continues:
Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m., FSW
MLB: DODGERS vs. SAN FRANCISCO, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:
Does San Francisco now fear the beard? Maybe there’s a way for Brian Wilson to make his entrance into any of these games from the right-field bullpen, just to mess with the current Giants’ relievers who still thinks he’s a member of their roster. The Magic Johnson bobblehead giveaway tonight isn’t to be missed, especially if you’re into collecting statues of Lakers stars wearing Dodger gear.
The series continues:
Friday at 7 p.m., Prime
Saturday at 6 p.m., Prime
Sunday at 1 p.m., Prime
NFL WEEK 2:
N.Y. JETS at NEW ENGLAND, 5:25 p.m., NFL Network:
According to the Madden 25 simulator on NFL.com, the Patriots will roll to the Super Bowl, and the Jets will end up with the first pick of the 2014 draft … in other words, why subject themselves to this Thursday night exercise?
WNBA: SPARKS vs. MINNESOTA, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
It’s not likely the 22-10 Sparks will catch the 23-7 Lynx to possibly snag a share of the Western Conference title before the playoffs start next week, but the thing about this series is the home team has won 13 of the last 14 regular season meetings.
GOLF: PGA BMW CHAMPIONSHIP, Lake Forest, Ill., first round, noon, Golf Channel:
The burbs of Chicago provide the next-to-last event of the PGA season with the final Fed Ex Cup cut down from 70 to the top 30 for that non-major Tour Championship set for Sept. 19-22.
Channel 4 has the final two rounds Saturday and Sunday; Golf Channel also has the second round Friday.
GOLF: LPGA EVIAN CHAMPIONSHIP in France, first round, 4:30 a.m., Golf Channel:
A fifth LPGA major of the season? We’ll drink to that.
Golf Channel has coverage Friday-Sunday, Channel 4 has coverage Sunday at 9 a.m.
MLB: ANGELS at HOUSTON, 5 p.m., FSW:
At least we know which team will go home last in the division when this series ends.
The series continues:
Saturday at 4 p.m., FSW
Sunday at 11 a.m., FSW
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: USC vs. BOSTON COLLEGE, Coliseum, noon, Pac-12 Network:
The boos could come even earlier for Lane Kiffin this week – thanks to the early kickoff. The challenge for the Trojans’ defense should come from Eagles running back Andre Williams, who ran for 204 yards and touchdown on 35 carries during a 14-point win over Wake Forest last week. The challenge for the Trojans’ offense should be (fill in the blank . . . go ahead . . . need more paper?)
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: ALABAMA at TEXAS A&M, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2:
Johnny Manziel on the cover of Time magazine last week might signal it’s time for the discussion on paying college athletes. The Heisman winner seems to have some good timing as well, surviving any kind of possible suspension so he can play in this rematch of last year’s 29-14 A&M victory — the only dent in Alabama’s 13-1 national championship season. Still, why isn’t it in prime time?
BOXING: FLOYD MAYWEATHER vs. CANELO ALVAREZ, at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, 6 p.m., Showtime Pay-Per-View:
Want to see what $41.5 million guaranteed looks like in a boxing ring? That’s what Forbes reports Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) will receive for just taking this fight on against Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs) in the WBA/WBC junior middleweight unification title bout. And that’s not counting the extra millions he gets from the pay-per-view share. Cable and dish carriers are asking a ridiculous $74.95 for the high-def coverage.
MLS: GALAXY at DC UNITED, 1 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez and Jaime Penedo are supposed to be back from World Cup qualifying duty. By the way: Do the Galaxy get another trip to the White House as the defending MLS Cup champs, or is there some deal they have to wait for the Kings to win another Stanley Cup?
YACHTING: 34th AMERICA’S CUP from San Francisco: Races 9 and 10, 12:30 p.m., NBCSN:
With the Emirates Team New Zealand holding a 3-0 lead and needing six more wins to clean up on Oracle Team USA, this event could be over a week short of its possible Sept. 21 scheduled finale. Unless the Americans, penalized two races, can also win 10 more ASAP to make up for previous indiscretions.
This week’s schedule:
Races 5 and 6, Tuesday, 12:30 p.m., NBCSN
Races 7 and 8, Thursday, 12:30 p.m., NBCSN
If necessary: Races 11 and 12, Sunday 12:20 p.m., NBCSN
NFL WEEK 2:
SAN FRANCISCO at SEATTLE, 5:30 p.m., Channel 4
SAN DIEGO at PHILADELPHIA, 10 a.m., Channel 2
DENVER at N.Y. GIANTS, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2:
The Manning Bowl has its merits, but maybe just watch it on your phone — and then see who’ll man up to throw the first challenge flag in the opening 49ers-Seahawks tiff of ’13.
WNBA: SPARKS vs. PHOENIX, Staples Center, noon, TWC SportsNet:
The regular season finale should also be a first-round playoff matchup.
NASCAR: SPRINT CUP GEICKO 400, at Chicagoland Speedway, 11 a.m. ESPN:
Let the 10-race Chase begin, leading up to the Nov. 17 finale in Miami.