College football ’13 TV lineup for L.A. in Week 9: The Bruins stew in a Duck soup, with ESPN’s A-team stirring the pot (because, they are, after all, in Oregon, likely near a pot farm)

With initial BCS rankings and team records included for the first time here:

tumblr_mdcg2bfX6S1rzl29do1_1280OF LOCAL INTEREST:
== No. 12 UCLA (5-1, 2-1) at No. 3 Oregon (7-0, 4-0): Saturday,  4 p.m., ESPN (Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Heather Cox)
ESPN “College GameDay” will also show up on the Eugene, Ore., campus (6-to-9 a.m.) with Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack. It’s the eighth visit to Eugene and the first since Nov., 2012 when No. 2 Oregon lost to No. 13 Stanford. Corso has picked Oregon to win each of the seven times — so he’s just 5-2 with that exercise. Suggestion this time: Don’t decorate the Duck head with Indian warpaint.

== USC (4-3, 1-2) vs. Utah (4-3, 1-3), Coliseum: Saturday, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Kevin Calabro, Yogi Roth and Jill Savage)

PAC-12 WILLING PARTICIPANTS:
== Arizona (4-2, 1-2) at Colorado (3-3, 0-3): Saturday, 5 p.m., Pac-12 Net (Ted Robinson, Glenn Parker and Drea Avent)
== No. 6 Stanford (6-1, 4-1) at No. 25 Oregon State (6-1, 4-0): Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN (Mark Jones, Brock Huard and Jessica Mendoza)
== Cal (1-6, 0-4) at Washington (4-3, 1-3): Saturday, 8 p.m., Fox Sports 1 (Justin Kutcher, James Bates, Brady Poppinga)

Bye weeks: Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) and Washington State (4-4, 2-3), facing each other on Thursday, Oct. 31.

MARQUEE MATCHUPS:
== No. 10 Texas Tech (7-0) at No. 15 Oklahoma (6-1): Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11 (Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Kristina Pink).
== No. 21 South Carolina (5-2) at No. 5 Missouri (7-0): Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN2 (Joe Tessitore, Matt Millen and Maria Taylor)
== Penn State (4-2) at No. 4 Ohio State (7-0): Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 7 (Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe)
== Tennessee (4-3) at No. 1 Alabama (7-0): Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2 (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson)

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Play it Forward: Oct. 21-27 — UCLA might want to change its contact lenses for a eye-opening trip to Oregon

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

ncf_a_mariota_600COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
UCLA at OREGON,  4 p.m., ESPN:
The Bruins graciously slipped from No. 9 to No. 12 after that 24-10 setback at Stanford. They could make that ground back up – and more – by figuring out a way to fleece the No. 2 Ducks, 7-0 and BCS title-game bound as they continue to soar following its 62-38 thrashing of Washington State on Saturday.
Oregon-Ducks-Cheerleader-Instagram-Photo-045No matter what crazy color scheme it chooses, or creepy eye contact lenses worn, Oregon has been leading the nation in total offense at 4,502 yards, watching sophomore Marcus Mariota post 19 TDs without an interception in 197 passing attempts, extending his Pac-12 record to 265 attempt going back to last year. He’s thrown at least one TD pass in all 20 games of his career, he has a streak of passing and rushing for scores to nine straight games, his 10.4 yards per attempt is fifth in the nation, and so is his 181.7 QB rating. Oregon’s average of 57.6 points a game includes the fact that the fewest points it has scored in a victory so far is 45. “It doesn’t get any easier for us,” said UCLA coach Jim Mora. There’s not much to use here for past performance: The Bruins were able to steer clear of the Ducks the last two regular seasons – most recently facing them in the inaugural Pac-12 title game at Eugene, Ore., in Rick Neuheisel’s final game as head coach (prior to the 49-31 loss).

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It’s Out of the Question: Does Mattingly earn a repeat performance?

Would you bring Don Mattingly back to manage the Dodgers in 2014?
  
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Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is reflected in a window as he answers questions before Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against St. Louis on  Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is reflected in a window as he answers questions before Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against St. Louis on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Why give Don Mattingly one more year?

Why not.

Got a better resolution at this juncture in the game?

We’ve got our first glimpse of Donnie October Baseball, and a 5-5 postseason performance may be the most accurate measurement of what happened.

Don Mattingly watches during the sixth inning of Game 4 of the NLCS. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Don Mattingly watches during the sixth inning of Game 4 of the NLCS. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Did we see a capable pilot able to use all the navigational devices at his disposal during crunch time? Or did we get sense he could have easily steered this into a premature crash-and-burn mission, with the result of watching Clayton Kershaw drag his left arm off the mound keep our hands over our eyes because of the turbulence?

As a new ownership group trying to establish an organizational gameplan for the future, these Guggenheim Dodgers have already proven they’re aggressive in their desire to win. But at this point, they really have no choice but to retain Mattingly if they want to retain what credibility they’ve built.

Can Mattingly justifiably be canned after a season like this one? Only if Stan Kasten and Co. are trying to send a message that these Dodgers are run by quick-triggered, unrealistic hard-ball barons who don’t understand how this sport works.

Mattingly may not have reached a bar set pretty high in the first place, but he’s probably a just boost away from getting his chin above it. Keep pushing on, and he’ll likely get there.

In Mattingly’s three regular seasons, the Dodgers showed improvement by posting 82, then 86, then 92 wins, the last two with the benefit of front-office stability.

Don Mattingly talks to Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe during Game 1 of the NLCS in St. Louis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Don Mattingly talks to Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe during Game 1 of the NLCS in St. Louis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

From what we gather by those closer to the situation, Mattingly’s greatest asset has been his ability to measurably mesh a roster of massively-paid veterans, heralded rookies, valued bench players and one particular bearded wildman.

He’s not just player-friendly, but having kids old enough to be in this age-range, Mattingly has figured out how to establish boundaries when necessary. Some of that appeared to have been manufactured as a result of his job being in jeopardy in late May. But that all finally seemed to bring together a Dodger clubhouse that’s about as diverse as you’ll find, one that could easily splinter with someone else in charge.

Where Mattingly also scored points is that he never complained about the Ballpark Frank McCourt circus that swirled around him when he was first handed the reins after Joe Torre’s resignation.

Where could he improve? Continue reading

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St. Louis also crushed L.A. in NLCS ratings

The Los Angeles TV market had a 10.3 household ratings for the six National League Championship Series games between the Dodgers and Cardinals on TBS, up only 14 percent from a 9.4 rating it had for the networks’ last coverage of the NLCS in 2009.

St. Louis topped all markets for the just-concluded NLCS with a 28.5 rating. That market had a 34.4 rating for Friday’s Game 6, the greatest among all markets of any game in the 2013 postseason to date. The L.A. market had a 10.3 rating for Game 6.

Kansas City (5.8), Las Vegas (4.9) and Sacramento (4.6) rounded out the top five for an average rating for all six games.

TBS reported a 3.2 national rating for the series, up 10 percent over the six-game St. Louis-Milwaukee NLCS from ’11. The average of five million total viewers for this year’s series is up nine percent over 4.6 million in 2011, even though there were two afternoon telecasts this year compared with one during the last NLCS to air on the network.

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Puig and his ‘thoughtless’ throws: Was he just an easy media target?

Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford pause during a pitching change during the fifth inning of Game 6. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford pause during a pitching change during the fifth inning of Game 6. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Buster Olney, the ESPN senior baseball writer, was tweeting out Tom Emansky YouTube video clips that demonstrated how kids are taught to hit the cut-off man.

“Eighteen seconds into this,” Olney notes, the pupils are shown the right drill, “over and over and over.”

Gabe Kapler, the Fox Sports 1 baseball studio analyst, posted his thoughts on Twitter as well: “Sorry #Puig fans. We knew it would impact a game at some point, welcome to that game.”

“The wild horse spit the bit,” TBS play-by-play man Ernie Johnson said, a reference to the nickname created by Vin Scully.

But of all the Yasiel Puig instant analysis that came out of the Dodgers right-fielder’s performance that contributed to a Game 6 freefall in the NL Championship Series on Friday night in St. Louis, Scully may have delivered the most scalding blows.

Yasiel Puig has trouble handing a ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina during the fifth inning of Game 6.  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Yasiel Puig has trouble handing a ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals’ Yadier Molina during the fifth inning of Game 6. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

“Yasiel Puig is going to school and getting poor marks in the third inning,” Scully summed up as the Dodgers quickly fell behind in the four-run third, at the expense of some poor pitching by ace Clayton Kershaw as well as some tight calls at the plate by umpire Greg Gibson.

It started with a throw Puig made off balance toward home when picking up a single to right by Carlos Beltran in an attempt to get Matt Carpenter trying to score.

TBS replays show the throw may have started too high but it actually got to cut-off man Adrian Gonzalez in time for him to catch and perhaps make a play at second to try to get Beltran going to second. But Gonzalez dropped the ball.

Scully immediately called it “a bad, unwise throw” that went too high from Puig.

“Beltran would not have advanced if Puig made a decent throw to the infield . . . once again, they are burned by a poor throw . . . and it wasn’t just a bad throw, it was a thoughtless throw, too high to hit the cutoff man.”

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