Play It Forward Nov. 16-23: Destiny, and whether USC, UCLA can control any of it

The USC band mascot hands a sword to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to have him lead the band after the Trojans' win at Colorado on Friday night in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The USC band mascot hands a sword to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to have him lead the band after the Trojans’ win at Colorado on Friday night in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 12:
USC at OREGON
Details/TV: Saturday at 12:30 p.m., ESPN
UCLA at UTAH
Details/TV: Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 11:

UCLA head coach Jim Mora yells as he walks the sideline during the second half of Saturday's loss to Washington State at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

UCLA head coach Jim Mora yells as he walks the sideline during the second half of Saturday’s loss to Washington State at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

As for whether or not one can control their own destiny, that’s always been something ripe for debate. Destiny itself is a predetermined thing, right? But then there’s the quote from Jack Welch, the retired chairman CEO of General Electric: “Control your own destiny or someone else will.” The “destiny” discussion comes back into play as the next-to-last regular season Pac-12 Conference games are set for No. 22 USC (7-3 overall, 5-2 in conference, 4-1 under Clay Helton)  and UCLA (7-3, 4-3) — if either team wins this week, and next, they can lay claim to the South title and qualify for the Dec. 5 conference championship.
Of course, the “next” after this is UCLA at USC on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
The Trojans and Ducks each have pulled themselves together at an opportune time, as each has a four-game winning streak coming into this matchup. The Trojans’ task may be tougher without injured linebackers Cameron Smith and Lamar Dawson, while No. 23 Oregon (7-3, 5-2) has been sparked by the return of quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., who led the team to 436 yards on 48 plays in a win last week over Stanford.
USC’s last trip to Eugene was back in 2011, a 38-35 win that snapped the Ducks’ 21-game home win streak and knocked them out of the national championship race. A year later, Oregon posted a 61-54 win over USC at the Coliseum. They haven’t met since.
No. 18 Utah (8-2, 5-2) comes off a 37-30 double OT stumble against Arizona. The Utes claimed a 30-28 win over then UCLA last year in Salt Lake City when Andy Phillips kicked a 29-yard field goal with 34 seconds left, and UCLA’s Ka’imi Fairbairn missed two field goal tries, from 50 and 55 yards, with no time left.

ALSO THIS WEEK:

The MLB 2015 awards announce this week include the NL Cy Young (Wednesday, 3 p.m., MLB Network) and the AL MVP (Thursday, 3 p.m., MLB Network), which have some Southern California candidates …  The Clippers get another shot at Golden State, this time at Staples Center (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., TNT) … The NASCAR Sprint Cup season comes to a close at Homestead (Sunday, noon, Channel 4) … Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez have an appearance to make in Las Vegas (Saturday, 6 p.m., pay per view) … the Kings start a five-game road trip in Philadelphia (Tuesday, 4 p.m., FSW) … More at this link.

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Sunday media Q&A: Angelo Pizzo dives deeper into what went into making “My All American”

Freddie Steinmark, from 1969.

Freddie Steinmark, from 1969.

As an extension of the story we did in Sunday’s editions on the upcoming film “My All American,” here is more Q-and-A with director/screenwriter Angelo Pizzo about the project, which came in at No. 12 in the box office projections for the weekend with a limited number of screenings in its first week according to BoxOfficeMojo.com:

Q: Something about Jim Dent’s book had to resonate with you before you agreed to write the screenplay. Did you see another version of “Rudy” in Dent’s account of Freddie Steinmark?
51-B6WLMNSLA:
Before I write anything, I have to have a personal connection to it, and it has to have a great ending. Movies are all about the impact it has on you when you’re walking out of the theater, into the parking lot and into your car. I try to make a movie that won’t evaporate by the time you get to the parking lot. When an emotional experience is created, it’s for the audience. I thought there was a real possibility with this one. There were a number of reasons why I was drawn to it – One, is a tremendous admiration for Freddie. I fall in love with movies when the hero is like El Cid and Ben-Hur and Lawrence of Arabia and John Wayne, characters that had nobility, focus and courage and never gave away the power to let other people define what they could or couldn’t do. Ultimately, they were also selfless and humble. Freddie, to me, is a modern-day, authentic real hero, and I always missed that in movies. He was somebody I felt was a great role model as well. I found him a compelling character. I think the universal element here is that how he lived his life impacted so many other people to the point where, it’s 45 years later, and he lives on. They honor him before every Texas game. He lived 22 years and the impact he had on the people around him carries on and will for generations to come. If that’s not a hero, I don’t know what is?

Q: Is another reason to be involved because it’s been too long for this story to be told and you get to be the one to tell it to many who don’t even know about it?
Continue reading “Sunday media Q&A: Angelo Pizzo dives deeper into what went into making “My All American”” »

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It’s Out of the Question: Iger’s sanction for Carson not just some Goofy whim?

Illustration by Jim Thompson/www.sportsbronze.com

Illustration by Jim Thompson/www.sportsbronze.com

Bob Iger, you’re just been duped into becoming window dressing for a couple of flailing franchises who insist they’ll pal up and pool their resources to erect a stadium atop a Carson dump site for the privilege of printing NFL money in Los Angeles just like Disneyland does it in Anaheim.
What are you going to do next?
(C’mon, you know how this TV spot goes, right?)

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

== Who is Sachin Tendulkar, and why should we care that he’s in L.A.?
He’s perhaps the one and only reason why anyone pays an absorbent  amount of money for a ticket to see a cricket exhibition played at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night.
And he’s not even playing.
The 42-year-old from India retired from the pitch in 2013, amassing more runs (34,357) at the top level of the sport than any other player. And we don’t even know if that’s a good number of runs or not.
So now Dodger Stadium, which hardly provides the proper oval layout needed for a championship cricket match of all-star bowlers and batsmen from around the world, nonetheless welcomes Tendulkar in a version of the game called Twenty20.
With 20/20 hindsight, the Pittsburgh Pirates might now decide it wasn’t worth the trouble to sign a few young cricket players from India in the hopes of making them into big-league pitchers – even if the whole thing became a Disney movie with Jon Hamm hamming it up as the talent agent with this million-dollar idea.
So this could really be the Iger’s sanction — make sure the new Carson stadium is by-Jiminy cricket-friendly moving forward?

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who met UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in July at her Glendale gym, lost to Buster Douglas 25 years ago in arguably the biggest upset in sports history. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who met UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in July at her Glendale gym, lost to Buster Douglas 25 years ago in arguably the biggest upset in sports history. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

== Oddsmakers who require one to plunk down a $1,600 bet in order to win $100 must believe it’s a done deal — Ronda Rousey will go Crocodile Dundee on an Aussie ex-boxer with a name that sounds like a must-have Christmas doll in UFC 193 on Saturday somewhere way down under the radar.
Too easy?

Holly Holm talks about her upcoming UFC title match against Ronda Rousey in Melbourne, Australia on Friday. (AP Photo Neil Frankland)

Holly Holm talks about her upcoming UFC title match against Ronda Rousey in Melbourne, Australia on Friday. (AP Photo Neil Frankland)

The more this is held up to the pay-per-view spotlight, doesn’t a Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas encounter that took place 25 years ago kind of cast a bit of a foreshadowing?
There was Tyson, the undisputed, undefeated champ of the world, KO’ing opponents in seconds rather than rounds, agreeing to continue his victory tour, perhaps out of boredom, with a trip to Tokyo one night so the world could see him against a 42-to-1 longshot.
Douglas was four inches taller, 11 pounds heavier, six years older, and came out punching as if he had no other strategy.
And Douglas, bless his heart, somehow won in a fight that took place on a Sunday morning in Japan to accommodate the Saturday night TV audience in the U.S.
Here’s Holly Holm, taller, a longer reach and six years older than Rousey. The southpaw known as “The Preacher’s Daughter” hasn’t been taken down yet. And Rousey is the take-down artist.
If Holm is to somehow make good on a $59.95 asking-price for a fight that takes place early Sunday afternoon in Melbourne to accommodate the Saturday night TV audience in the U.S., it’s because a strategy can be put into place against Rousey, which rarely happens.

Ronda Rousey talks to reporters in Australia on Friday. (AP Photo Neil Frankland)

Ronda Rousey talks to reporters in Australia on Friday. (AP Photo Neil Frankland)

The website FiveThirtyEight.com has crunched some numbers in Holm’s favor. And then there’s this:
“None of Rousey’s opponents to this point have had the combination of size, length, foot speed and technical footwork necessary to keep Rousey at a distance,” writes the Bleacher Report. “Holm possesses those characteristics in spades. The most likely scenario for this fight is one in which the relentlessly aggressive Rousey charges after the challenger like a maddened bull for several rounds, eating clean straight lefts and front kicks while the former boxer plays matador.”
Starting to see the ghost of Tyson appear now?

== Rousey, who pulled everywhere in writing books and making movies and telling people who she’ll vote for in the 2016 election, just doesn’t sound like she’s all in for this.
She recently told Rolling Stone that after this, her third fight of the year, she’s taking a break until July, 2016 to focus on more movie roles.
“Believe me, there’s nothing I would like to do more than disappear for awhile,” she said.
That might not be entirely possible. She’s one of the finalists for Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. In explaining her credentials for this honor, SI says: “There may not be an athlete alive more dominant at his or her sport than Rousey.”
And we all know about the Sports Illustrated curse, right?

== Those all-red and all-green Nike PJs that the Bills and Jets were forced to wear on Thursday night is going to be a regular thing? And this is something you would pay to see in person in an L.A. stadium near you?

Kobe Bryant watches his team against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Kobe Bryant watches his team against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

== Nine games into the 1971-72 season, Elgin Baylor’s body gave up, and he retired at the age of 38. The Lakers went onto win 33 games in a row and took the NBA title.
Nine games into the 2015-16 season, Kobe Bryant’s body has all but given up on him at the age of 37, yet his will to continue may overcome any skill discrepancy.
If stays at this point, do the Lakers go on a 33-game losing streak?

== The Golden State Warriors could win 73 games this season? And Steph Curry will average 40 points a night?
Sure, if they never leave the Golden State and play the Lakers and Clippers every other night.

More questions to be answered at this link.

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Weekly sports media notes version 11.12.15 — An ‘All-American’ approach following up on ‘Hoosiers,’ ‘Rudy’ laurels

The plan for Sunday:

Grab another Kleenex and clear the weekend calendar.
Just weeks after the inspirational high-school football film “Woodland” had a marketable run in theaters nationwide — it’s the early 1970s, and there’s “Rudy” star Sean Astin in the role of a religious motivational speaker getting a high school team from Alabama to accept the Lord’s plan for segregation — another tear-jerker set in the late 1960s breaks the huddle.
my-all-american“My All American,” the story of University of Texas safety Freddie Steinmark, hits the cinema circuit Friday after testing well with screening around the country over the last few weeks.
We know there are unfortunately dozens of college football players over the years who’ve had their lives cut short due to many circumstances. What makes Steinmark’s story so remarkable that it’s now suitable for a Hollywood interpretation?
Angelo Pizzo, who did the screenplay for “Rudy” when it came out in 1993, as well as penning “Hoosiers” seven years earlier, says that in writing and directing “My All American,” it’s a story that family was hesitant to sign off on because they didn’t want Hollywood to sensationalize it.
Which is why, eventually, they banked on Pizzo, who based this title on the way the late Texas coach Darrell Royal referred to Steinmark on his 1969 national championship team. The movie stars Finn Wittrock as Steinmark and Aaron Eckhart as Royal.
Did Pizzo pull it off? Hard to say. Here’s one review against that notion already by our favorites at the Onion’s A.V. Club.
Pizzo, a former USC Film School student back in the day, tells us about how he approached telling this story in the context of his “Rudy” and “Hoosier” standards and how it may not be years before he gets a good gauge on how the public accepts this one.

What’s worth putting out there at this stage of the week:

== Before the Dodgers announced a new TV play-by-play man on Wednesday morning, our intention was to meet up with Vin Scully and catch up. While diverted to this new story, KCBS-Channel 2’s Jim Hill did get Vin and Sandi Scully as they were being honored by the Pepperdine Boone Center for the Family at the Beverly Hilton (video above).

CBSzTneQ== Our piece that ran Wednesday on the blog and in print Thursday on new Dodgers’ TV play-by-play man Joe Davis points out that he can be next seen on FS1’s coverage of Kansas-TCU (Saturday, 9 a.m.) and may be doing the USC-Oregon game next Saturday.

== What did “Back To The Future” predict about the Chicago Cubs finally getting their own TV network? Maybe someone has 2020 hindsight. But as Ed Sherman of ShermanReport.com points out: “As the Dodgers situation in LA has showed, a one-team TV network hardly is a sure thing.”

== The Friday tipoff of the college basketball season has UCLA-Monmouth (Friday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network L.A, Ted Robinson and Don McLean) coming on after USC-University of San Diego (Friday at 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network L.A., with Josh Lewin and Ros Gold-Onwude). Continue reading “Weekly sports media notes version 11.12.15 — An ‘All-American’ approach following up on ‘Hoosiers,’ ‘Rudy’ laurels” »

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Dodgers hiring Joe Davis as a third TV play-by-play man comes with ‘more layering’ that most jobs

Joe Davis isn’t the heir apparent to Vin Scully.

PHOTO-Joe-Davis-HS-727x727.dammresize.360.360.high.67“Nobody is the heir apparent to Vin Scully,” said Lon Rosen, the Dodgers’ executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer on Wednesday, after spending the last two years trying to find someone who could be added to the team’s SportsNet L.A. TV broadcast team.

“There is nobody in the entire universe – living, dead or born in the future — who can replace Vin Scully. He’s irreplaceable.”

That said, perhaps it’s a bit easier for someone like Davis, a somewhat under-the-radar 27-year-old who’s carved out a nice niche of doing Fox MLB and college football games, to even consider himself prepared for this next professional endeavor.

Because, simply, that’s how Davis looks at this situation, too.

“First, everybody acknowledges you don’t replace Vin, and you never will – the same as with any legend in any industry,” Davis, whose multi-year deal with the team was solidified Wednesday as the third TV voice on the Dodgers’ roster to do a 50-game schedule in 2016, said from his home in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“From my perspective, how do I embrace this? All I really worry about is doing the best I can on those 50 games next year. It’s a cliché to say that, but …

“Would I love to be here a long time? Sure. I have an incredible opportunity. I’m not planning on this being a short-term thing. That wouldn’t do anyone justice to the job. What role I have moving forward is really out of my hands and for a discussion down the road.

index“But just know: You’re crazy if you think you’re replacing Vin Scully. I’ve never been one who makes decisions based off fear. That’s not a way to live. This is an opportunity that is a little more layered, more context around it because of how amazing he stands in the all-time ranks.”

With this new arrangement that was all but completed months ago, Davis will work with SportsNet LA analysts Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra on a majority of the road games. Charley Steiner will do about 30 road games on TV with Hershiser and/or Garciaparra as well, and continue to be the radio play-by-play voice on the road with Rick Monday as the analyst when Davis is on TV.

Scully, the Baseball Hall of Famer who turns 88 the Sunday after Thanksgiving, says that in all likelihood the 2016 season will be his last and his likely schedule is doing as many home games as he chooses, with an occasional trip to Anaheim and San Francisco if desired.

There’s no one but him and his family closing the door to him coming back for as long as he’s ready, willing and able.

Continue reading “Dodgers hiring Joe Davis as a third TV play-by-play man comes with ‘more layering’ that most jobs” »

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