What to look forward to this week:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS:
UCLA vs. WASHINGTON, Rose Bowl, Friday at 6 p.m., ESPN2
USC vs. STANFORD, Coliseum, Saturday at 5 p.m., Channel 7:
Prime-time on back-to-back nights, the Bruins and Trojans are put into similar statement-making positions here. But does winning fashion come before winning form? UCLA (7-2, 4-2) finally breaks out its “L.A. Midnight” black-and-blue jersey combo, to mixed responses that have already been registered in cyberspace commentary. “Pretty sick unis and I don’t even like ucla,” said one comment on BleacherReport.com. “They’re marketing to 16 & 17 year old high school kids not fans. Smart recruiting tool even if they’re ugly,” read one response on SI.com. Want a No. 17 jersey of your own (that Brett Hundley will receive no financial compensation for)?
Want your own black-and-blue No. 17 jersey of your own (that Brett Hundley will receive no financial compensation for)? They’re running for $300 on the adidas.com website.
It’s already going to be a high-tech tight fit to get fans to this game considering the usual Friday night rush-hour traffic on the Pasadena autobahn. This is where you need a jack-of-all-trades like Bruins freshman Myles Jack to run interference on the 110 transition to the 5 in hopes the 210 back entrance allows for enough running room. The visiting Huskies (6-3, 3-3) are finally bowl-eligible with their win over Colorado on Saturday, but the three-game losing streak they had between Oct. 5-19 against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State took a lot of wind out of their Union Bay sails.
On the other side of town, prime-time begins at 6 a.m. with ESPN “College GameDay” coming by for the first time in years. What’s their deal? The Trojans (7-3, 4-2), edging closer to a Top 25 ranking, find Stanford (8-1, 6-1) grinding out wins against ranked opponents the last three weeks, including that inspired 26-20 gut-buster against Oregon last Thursday.
After the underdog Trojans overcame Oregon State two weeks ago, Ed Orgeron treated the team to the In-N-Out dining experience. Pull that little stunt again against this smarty pants Cardinal team and Orgeron may have to up the reward to a two-night’s stay at Pink’s hot dog stand.
Would the Trojans look pretty in pink? That’s another fashion statement question we’re not sure we want to pursue.
BEST OF THE REST:
NBA: CLIPPERS vs. MINNESOTA, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
The T-Wolves hang around in town to play the second of a back-to-back at Staples Center. Sorry, the Sparks are finished.
ATP WORLD TOUR FINAL, at London, championship match, noon, ESPN2:
Defending champ Novak Djokovic has won 21 matches in a row since losing to Rafael Nadal in the U.S. Open. They meet again one last time for this season-ending title match. Also, Bob and Mike Bryan are in the doubles final, having already clinched the No. 1 ranking for a fifth straight season. Their match against Spain’s David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco is live on Tennis Channel (10 a.m.)
NBA: LAKERS vs. NEW ORLEANS, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
Someone explain yet how the Lakers lost by 11 last week in the Un-Easy? Because they let Anthony Davis score a career-best 32 points with eight blocks, and Jrue Holiday hand out 13 assists.
UCLA vs. OAKLAND, Pauley Pavilion, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE at USC, Galen Center, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
A made-for-TV doubleheader in L.A. If your TV has the right channel.
No. 1 KENTUCKY vs. No. 2 MICHIGAN ST., 4:30 p.m., ESPN
No. 4 DUKE vs. No. 5 KANSAS, 6:30 p.m., ESPN:
A made-for-TV doubleheader from Chicago. Get it?
NHL: KINGS at BUFFALO, 4 p.m., FSW:
Jonathan Quick needed 19 saves to record his first shutout of the season, and 26th of his career, 2-0 against the Sabres last week.
NBA: LAKERS at DENVER, 6 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
What makes this interesting: It’s the only road game of the week, on the wrong end of back-to-back nights for Steve Nash’s best interests. Yet the Nuggets, under coach Brian Shaw, are spinning their wheels at 1-4.
NBA: CLIPPERS vs. OKLAHOMA CITY, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime, ESPN:
Kevin Durant’s average so far of about 30 points a game is three better than his career mark, but it’s a short sample. Still …
NL CY YOUNG AWARD, announcement, 3 p.m., MLB Network:
Clayton Kershaw shouldn’t have to bite his nails waiting to hear the results of this Baseball Writers Association of America voting. It’ll just be a matter by how wide a margin Dodgers’ 25-year-old left-hander wins his second Cy in three seasons, and parlays that into a multi-multi-million-dollar, long-term contract.
Also: Yasiel Puig is up for NL Rookie of the Year (announced Monday), Don Mattingly is a finalist for NL Manager of the Year (Tuesday) and Mike Trout is in the mix for AL MVP (Thursday).
NHL: KINGS at N.Y. ISLANDERS, 4 p.m., FSW:
So this is what the average team in the Metropolitan Division looks like?
NFL WEEK 11:
INDIANAPOLIS at TENNESSEE, 5:25 p.m., NFL Network:
How do the Titans explain to their fans that they’ve come off a loss to Jacksonville? Maybe the same way the Colts are trying to figure out why they lost by 30 in their last game, at home, against St. Louis trying to survive with a backup QB.
NBA: LAKERS vs. MEMPHIS, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
They tried to connect the dots on ESPN’s “Sports Nation” the other day and deduct that since Kobe Bryant had a tweet about his comeback that included #blackout and #bearhunt, it meant his first game of the season after the Achilles’ injury would be here against the Grizzlies. We only report news here.
NHL: KINGS at NEW JERSEY, 4 p.m., FSW:
Because of the lockout-shortened 48-game schedule last season, the Kings and Devils didn’t face each other, so they haven’t run into each other since their 2012 Stanley Cup final encounter. New Jersey has had a ticklish start in the new Metropolitan Division, coming off a .500 record in 2013. But Martin Brodeur posted his 122nd career shutout in the Devils’ 3-0 win over the Flyers last week.
NBA: CLIPPERS vs. BROOKLYN, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
Clippers coach Doc Rivers wasn’t the only main defection from Boston this offseason. Nets stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett bolted as well. Time for a small ex-family reunion.
USC vs. NORTHERN ARIZONA, Galen Center, 8 p.m, Pac-12 Net:
Two freshmen on the visiting Lumberjacks’ roster: 6-foot-4 Kris Yanku, who had 24 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists per game in guiding Taft to back-to-back L.A. City titles, and 6-foot-7 Ako Kaluna, who average 18 points and 12 rebounds for West Ranch in Stevenson Ranch.
ANDRE WARD vs. EDWIN RODRIGUEZ, WBA super middleweight title fight, Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, 10 p.m. (delayed), HBO:
Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) has his first right since Sept. 2012 after shoulder surgery following a knockout of light heavyweight title holder Chad Dawson.
NFL WEEK 11:
KANSAS CITY at DENVER, 5:30 p.m., Channel 4:
In its first week of the flex-scheduling, NBC wisely subbed out the previously planned Green Bay-N.Y. Giants game, giving it back to Fox and stealing this one from CBS a couple of weeks ago. The record show: KC is 56-49 against Denver in their history. The AFC West rivals play again at Kansas City on Dec. 1.
NBA: LAKERS vs. DETROIT, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
Brandon Jennings has been everything that the Pistons expected him to be when they brought him over from the Bucks. The rest of the squad …
KINGS at N.Y. RANGERS, 4 p.m., FSW:
In the Rangers’ 3-1 win against the Kings at Staples Center last month, Jonathan Quick made that crazy misplay of Ryan McDonagh’s clearing pass and banked it into his own net. Henrik Lundqvist may be required to return the favor.
NASCAR SPRINT CUP FORD ECOBOOST 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, noon, ESPN:
The Chase has come down to how much of the 28-point lead that Jimmie Johnson holds over Matt Kenseth will wrap up the title? “I’ve been watching a lot of MMA fighting lately, and you’ll fall into a rhythm and think that somebody’s got a fight won, and it doesn’t end that way,” Johnson said after winning recently in Texas. “It’s how this is going to be. … This thing is going to the last lap at Homestead. It’s going to come down to mistakes.”
FORMULA 1 U.S GRAND PRIX, at Austin, Tex., 11 a.m., Channel 4:
Get us up to speed again — Who is Sebastian Vettel and how has he won the last seven F1 races, eight of the last nine, nine of the last 11, and 11 of the 17 races this season? And secured the driver championship for the fourth season in a row? The German with Red Bull Racing-Renault had the pole in this first race at the Circuit of the Americas track a year ago but finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton. Qualifying airs Saturday on NBCSN at 3:30 p.m.
SERIES: “EASTBOUND AND DOWN”, series finale, 10 p.m., HBO:
Close the book on Kenny Powers — Chapter 29 has arrived. The synopsis: At his boss’ insistence, Kenny returns a favor. Stevie offers revisions to Kenny’s life story. April weighs a big decision.