The way it lays out for Thanksgiving week on the sports calendar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UCLA at USC, Coliseum, 5 p.m., Channel 7:
Some of this stuff just doesn’t add upl. There’s the 8-3 Bruins, a pre-season favorite to get back to the Pac-12 championship game but mathematically eliminated now. And there’s the 9-3 Trojans, seemingly mathematically eliminated from anything two months ago but on a run to an improbable post-season bowl game, albeit one not on New Year’s Day, but one more beyond Saturday for sure:
3.5: The point spread favoring the Trojans to win by most early prognosticators.
1997: The last time UCLA won a game at the Coliseum against USC (as the No. 7 Bruins prevailed, 31-24, for the seventh straight year behind conference player of the year Cade McNown. That vaulted the Bruins to a 10-2 finish under Bob Toledo after winning the Cotton Bowl – and starting the season 0-2).
6: Touchdowns in the last three games by Bruins freshman linebacker Myles Jack.
67: Tackles this season by Bruins freshman tailback Myles Jack.
155.6: QB efficiency by Bruins sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley, second best in the conference (22 TDs, 9 INTs).
145.3: QB efficiency by Trojans sophomore quarterback Cody Kessler, sixth best in the conference (15 TDs, 6 INTs).
2: TD receptions this year for USC All-American junior receiver Marqise Lee (third best on the team)
57: Tackles made this year by UCLA All-American senior linebacker Anthony Barr (sixth best on the team)
14 of 20: Field goals made, attempted, by UCLA freshman Ka’imi Fairbairn (missing two of his four last week).
14 of 21: Field goals made, attempted, by USC junior Andre Heidari (making his last three in a row)
46: USC victories in the series
29: UCLA victories in the series
7: Tie games
2: Vacated USC victories because of, well, stuff happening. In 2004 and ’05. We won’t get into it again.
10 years ago: AP’s No. 2 USC wins 47-22 at the Coliseum to advance to the Rose Bowl with Pete Carroll (and that win over Michigan in the Jan. 1 game gave the Trojans’ the AP national championship, not the BCS title).
20 years ago: AP No. 16 UCLA’s 27-21 win over No. 22 USC at the Coliseum sends the Bruins to the Rose Bowl with Terry Donahue.
25 years ago: AP No. 2 USC pulls out a 31-22 win over No. 4 UCLA at the Rose Bowl and advance to the Rose Bowl again on New Year’s Day.
50 years ago: USC, the preseason No. 1 team, salvages a 7-3 season with a 26-6 win in 1963 over the 2-8 Bruins.
93,607: Expected announced crowd in attendance (a sellout).
BEST OF THE REST
NHL: KINGS at VANCOUVER, 7 p.m., FSW:
The Kings have lost two in a row, both in OT, and with Ben Scrivens having played six games in a row — but giving up five goals total. The Canucks are first in the league in penalty killing (89.1 percent) with Roberto Luongo coming off a loss to the Blackhawks when he gave up two goals in a span of nine seconds.
NFL WEEK 12:
SAN FRANCISCO at WASHINGTON, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
This copacetic Kaepernick vs. running-ragged RG III seems to still have some appeal here, even if the team’s combined records are 9-11. The 49ers, who’ve lost two in a row by a total of four points after a five-game winning streak, seem to be content with being last in the league in passing yards per game (168.0). The Redskins lead the league in rushing (155.2 yards a game), with the 49ers fifth (141.0).
NBA: LAKERS at WASHINGTON, 4 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
We heard Dan Patrick say the other day on his radio show that Kobe Bryant, when he eventually gets back to playing with this Lakers team, will be a lot like how Michael Jordan was playing his final days with the Washington Wizards. Which means, it won’t be pretty. Charles Barkley agreed. We don’t see either Kobe or MJ showing up for this appearance. But just keep Stu Lantz bundled up.
NBA: CLIPPERS vs. NEW YORK, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he’s not bothered by the “Fire Woodson” chants at Madison Square Garden. Not that he’ll here them in L.A., but they’d likely get drowned out anyway by the cheers for Metta World Peace. Or any screaming fans leftover from the previous night’s Justin Timberlake concert.
NBA: LAKERS at BROOKLYN, 4:30 p.m., TWC Sports Net:
The Nets’ 3-10 start is actually buoyed by their 2-3 mark at their new home. Who are we Kidding here?
NHL: KINGS at SAN JOSE, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
The Sharks have the fewest losses so far in the Western Conference with a plus-27 goal differential. Nothing’s different – same old Sharks with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Antti Niemi. Also watch the antics of 20-year-old center Tomas Hertl, named the league’s rookie of the month for October.
NFL WEEK 13:
GREEN BAY at DETROIT, 9:30 a.m., Channel 11
OAKLAND at DALLAS, 1:30 p.m., Channel 2
PITTSBURGH at BALTIMORE, 5:30 p.m., Channel 4:
And let’s not forget Leon Lett’s famous Thanksgiving Day snow-induced mistake that cost the Cowboys a win on this holiday 20 years ago. It’s enough to get an “Oh, my” out of Dick Enberg. “We’ve ruined everybody’s nap this afternoon,” said analyst Bob Trumpy. Let us also recall that Dallas recovered to win the Super Bowl that year.
USC vs. VILLANOVA, at Nassau, Bahamas, 10 a.m., AXS TV:
Say what you may about new Trojans coach Andy Enfield, but a trip out of the country might be the right move about now after things he said about former USC coach Tim Floyd and current UCLA coach Steve Alford got in a piece about him in last week in Men’s Journal. The school says they were extracted from a booster club meeting that was supposed to be off the record. On the record, if the 3-1 Trojans win this tournament opener, they’ll likely face heralded freshman Andrew Wiggins and Kansas next on Friday with another game to finish the event on Saturday.
UCLA vs. NEVADA at Las Vegas Invitational, 4:30 p.m., ESPN3:
It’s Vegas, the place they’ll return to in March for the Pac-12 Tournament. Best to make a good impression on the hotel industry while you’re visiting. UCLA faces Northwestern in the second game of this event (Friday at 8:30 p.m., ESPN2) then comes home.
THE WOODEN LEGACY TOURNAMENT, opening rounds, Cal State Fullerton:
ESPN whipped up this event and had Cal State Fullerton act as the host school, with a win-and-advance format that includes San Diego State, Arizona State, Miami (Fla.), Marquette, Creighton, College of Charleston and George Washington. Four games on Thanksgiving, semifinals on Friday and the final on Saturday (ESPN2, 6:30 p.m.) at Honda Center.
NBA: CLIPPERS at SACRAMENTO, 7 p.m., Prime:
The Clippers have already dumped the Kings twice this season, but nearly let a 20-point evaporate in a one-point win last time last Saturday at Staples Center.
WASHINGTON STATE at WASHINGTON, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11
OREGON STATE at OREGON, 4 p.m., FS1:
The regular-season Pac-12 finales that’ll help determine who’s gets punished and sent to the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, the Fight Hunger Bowl or the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. That may include you, Ducks. They’re already printing sweatshirts up for the winners.
NHL: KINGS vs. CALGARY, Saturday at 7 p.m., FSW:
The Flames’ 3-2 win over the Kings on Oct. 21 was the result of T.J. Brodie beating Jonathan Quick on a power-play goal with just 29.7 seconds left in the game.
OHIO STATE at MICHIGAN, 9 a.m., Channel 7
ALABAMA at AUBURN, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
FLORIDA STATE at FLORIDA, 9 a.m., ESPN
NOTRE DAME at STANFORD, 4 p.m., Channel 11
ARIZONA STATE AT ARIZONA, 6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
The 11-0 Crimson Tide’s visit to Jordan-Hare Stadium to take on the 10-1 Tigers adds a lot of spice to the final game of the regular season.
NBA: CLIPPERS vs. INDIANA, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Prime;
NBA: LAKERS vs. PORTLAND, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., TWC:
For this Staples Center double header, you’ve got first the team that started off 12-1 to lead the Eastern Conference with the Pacers, and a Blazers team keeping pace with a 12-2 start and second in the Western Conference. The first one, maybe we get. But we can’t figure out yet why a team with LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez and Damian Lillard are off to such a beginning under coach Terry Stotts.
NFL WEEK 13:
N.Y. GIANTS at WASHINGTON, 5:30 p.m., Channel 4
CINCINNATI at SAN DIEGO or DENVER at KANSAS CITY, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2:
The Chiefs’ rematch against the Broncos won’t be seen on TV in L.A. if the Chargers sell out their home game against Cincinnati. Any way we can pay San Diegans to vacate the premises? Then again, after the way the Chargers handled the Chiefs on Sunday, what do the Broncos have to prove?