Play It Forward: Sept. 16-22 — Could USC or UCLA ignite their running game with a viewing of “Rush”?

The week ahead on the sports calendar:

Rush_13BEST BET:

MOVIE: “RUSH,” opens in L.A. and N.Y. theaters:
Formula 1 racing may not provide the perfect formula for a Hollywood blockbuster, but if Oscar-winner Ron Howard is allowed to direct the story of the relationship and rivalry between English playboy James Hunt (played by Chris Hemsworth) and Australian crash-and-burn survivor Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) during the 1976 season, we’ll give it the green light.

Niki Lauda and Steve Hunt as they were in 1977.

Niki Lauda and Steve Hunt as they were in 1977.

Hunt died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1993; Lauda, now 64, could have easily died from his fiery crash during the ’76 season, but he’s around to promote this, scars and all. “When after the accident I came out into the world and people looked at me, they were shocked,” Lauda recently told the UK Telegraph. “It upset me. I thought they were impolite not to hide their negative emotions about my look. When I saw the movie it let me see the story from the other side, from the point of view of other people looking at me. It helped me understand why people were shocked.”
rush00 Universal Studios passed on this film pitched Howard, so he produced it independently for $45 million – and Universal will be the ones releasing it after all, first in L.A. and New York, and next week nationwide. “The challenge was to combine things that I had experienced in a way — the need to get the technical authenticity of ‘Apollo 13,’ or the danger of  ‘Backdraft,’ or the personal connection with ‘Cinderella Man’ or the character stuff of ‘A Beautiful Mind’ or ‘Frost/Nixon,’ but all in the same movie,” Howard said during a triumphant presentation at the Toronto Film Festival last week, not to namedrop other top-notch films he’s produced (and somehow leaving out “DaVinci Code,” “The Paper,” “Parenthood,” “Willow,” “Coccoon” and, a personal favorite, “Grand Theft Auto.”)  “I knew intuitively I had confidence I could do it because the challenge was similar to others I had faced but never with this kind of density and it sort of made the degree of difficulty bar drift higher than I have ever done before.”



MLB: DODGERS at ARIZONA, 6:30 p.m., Prime:
Everyone in the right-field pool, filled to the filters with some of Phoenix’s finest championship-campaign champagne. Sure, some of the stuff that the D’backs have left over from 2001 is just fine.
The series continues:
Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., Channel 9
Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., Prime
Thursday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 9

Screen-shot-2013-05-02-at-3.32.13-PMSo this is what a grade-A’s playoff team looks like. Meanwhile, Angels starter C.J. Wilson (16-6) and his great-smelling hair hasn’t lost a game since July 5, but only lowered his ERA from 3.49 to 3.44 during that 10-week period.
The series continues:
Tuesday at 7 p.m., FSW
Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., FSW

“DANCING WITH THE STARS,” 17 season premiere, 8 p.m., Channel 7:
The key to Keyshawn Johnson winning this whole damn thing seems to be a) tied to how former NFL players like Emmitt Smith, Hines Ward and Donald Driver have already won this thing and b) how much Disney people take care of their own and. The former USC star receiver and current ESPN analyst has to go over the middle against a competition that includes Valerie Harper, Elizabeth Berkley, Leah Remini, Snooki, Jack Osbourne, Bill Engvall and Billy Nye the Science Guy. Sounds explosive.



YACHTING: 34th AMERICA’S CUP FINAL in San Francisco, Races 11 and 12, 12:30 p.m., NBCSN:
With the Emirates Team New Zealand all but ready to clinch victory – barring some capsizing — Oracle Team USA is trying to postpone the inevitable. Or have one of the greatest sailing comebacks since Christopher Columbus. Otherwise, they’ll be renting out their boat for Alcatraz sight-seeing cruises to recoup money spent on getting this dual-hulled thing built.
This week’s schedule:
If necessary:
Races 13 and 14, Wednesday, 12:30 p.m., NBCSN
Races 15 and 16, Thursday  12:30 p.m., NBCSN
Race 17, S
aturday, 12:30 p.m., NBCSN


Game 1: SPARKS vs. PHOENIX, Staples Center, 7 p.m., ESPN2:
Pay no attention to how the teams fared in the regular-season finale on Sunday. The best-of-three elimination process officially begins now.
The rest of the series:
Game 2: Sparks at Phoenix, Saturday, 7 p.m, NBA TV
(If necessary: Sparks vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, Sept. 23, 7 p.m., ESPN2)

AndyReidLarge-660x330NFL WEEK 3:
KANSAS CITY at PHILADELPHIA, 5:30 p.m., NFL Network:
Get a read on this one quickly: Andy Reid’s name should be tossed around quite frequently in this one.


MLB: DODGERS at SAN DIEGO, 7 p.m., Prime:
MLB: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers really don’t want to rub it in that they’ve accomplished all this  with former Padres star Adrian Gonzalez at first base, and having picked up San Diego-discard Edinson Volquez to fill in a starting rotation spot. Is Padres first base coach Dave Roberts available to be added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster as a pinch-runner?
The series continues:
Saturday at 5:30 p.m., Channel 9
Sunday at 1 p.m., Prime

MLB: ANGELS vs. SEATTLE, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
Fan Appreciation Day on the final home Sunday of the year is sponsored by Jersey Mike’s, Yard House, House of Blue Anaheim, Live Nation Concerts, Cleveland Golf, Metro PCS, Farmer John, AAA, Big 5, Pop Chips, Hooters, Stanley Tools, Pepsi, Toshiba, Seiki, Pizza Hut, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Apple Vacations, Welk Resorts, Medieval Times and Yokohama. Why can’t every fan just be handed some game-used Trout gear and go home happy?
The series continues:
Saturday at 6 p.m., FSW
Sunday as 12:30 p.m., FSW


USC vs. UTAH STATE, Coliseum, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7/ESPN:
The Trojans might just have to start each game with a long incompletion to Marquis Lee in order to find favor with their fans, and then keep running the ball twice as many times as they pass it. Mountain West Conference contender Utah State (2-1) got 249 yards passing and 5 TDs from junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton in last week’s 70-6 win over Weber State. Keeton threw for 3,373 yards a year ago.

UCLA vs. NEW MEXICO STATE, Rose Bowl, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
Emotions carried the Bruins to victory last Saturday. We’ll see how that carries over into Week 4 against a western state school gladly looking for some national exposure. New Mexico State, 0-3 as an independent school, has had senior Andrew McDonald at quarterback — the son of former USC QB Paul McDonald. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder was 7 for 11 for 156 yards and 2 TDs in the first half of a 42-21 loss to UTEP a week ago.

8b3747f997b04bd2a095a3c09c3a500b.ashxMLS: GALAXY vs. SEATTLE, Stub Hub Center, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Net:
It’s Hispanic Heritage Night on the Galaxy’s promo calendar. Or, if you’re more interested in seeing the guy who captains the U.S. National team but this time is wearing the lime green Xbox jersey, it’s Clint Dempsey Night.


GOLF: PGA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP, in Atlanta, final round, 10 a.m., Channel 4:
Somehow, the focus isn’t so much on whether Brandt Snedeker will repeat, or Henrik Stenson will somehow win out. It’s how high up the standings can Tiger Woods finish, especially in regard to Phil Mickelson. Competition from the tour’s Last 30 Standing at East Lake Golf Club will help decide their fates.
The rest of the tournament:
Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m., Golf Channel
Saturday, 9 a.m., Channel 4

SAN DIEGO at TENNESSEE, 10 a.m., Channel 2
CHICAGO at PITTSBURGH, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
GREEN BAY at CINCINNATI, 10 a.m., Channel 11
ST. LOUIS at DALLAS, 10 a.m.:
The Wall Street Journal recent sought to find out if Cowboys Stadium (officially known as AT&T Stadium), as one of the largest air-conditioned rooms in the world, consumes more electricity than the West African country of Liberia, a nation of 3.7 million people. An energy analyst at Bernstein Research noted that at peak demand, the 80,000-seat facility can consume 10 megawatts of electricity. Liberia has the capacity to pump less than a third as much power into its national grid. So if Fox isn’t interested in televising this one to the rest of the free world on this afternoon, is the Jerry Jones Palace just wasting a lot of time and energy?

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