THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS:
SUPER BOWL 50
Details/TV: At Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Sunday at 3:15 p.m., Channel 2
Yo, pizza man. How’s your delivery this Super Bowl Sunday? Peyton Manning supposedly told New England coach Bill Belichick after the recent AFC title game that “this might be my last rodeo.” The implication is that Manning’s Super Bowl appearance could also be the last time we see him in a Broncos uniform – kind of like what John Elway pulled on us years ago. Denver (14-4) didn’t really get this far because of the 39-year-old Manning, but almost in spite of him as he missed a batch of games with a foot injury before coming back in the last regular-season game, and then leading the team to a pair of playoff wins. Carolina (17-1), meanwhile, relied heavily on Cam Newton’s legs and arm – and swagger.
The Manning-Newton show will be the headline grabber. They are No. 1 overall NFL picks – the first time a Super Bowl has featured that — yet more than 13 years apart in age, and maybe more in perception. This isn’t just a preference of cardboard pizza over some healthy Greek yogurt. Newton has already taken ownership of the storyline that he’s not really embraced by national fans of the game, saying: “I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to.” Manning, who won Super Bowl XLI with Indianapolis nine year ago, can be compared his younger brother, Eli, who already has two Super Bowl rings. Their pocket-passing technique somehow survives. “It seems like every year they say the pocket passer is a dying breed,” he said when asked about it. “I kept saying, ‘I hope that’s not true. I will be out of a job and my brother will be pretty close behind me.’ ”
ALSO THIS WEEK:
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: UCLA at USC
Details/TV: At Galen Center, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
The Trojans’ impressive 89-75 triumph over the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion ended a six-game losing streak to their rivals and was highlighted by freshman Chimezie Metu (Lawndale High) going inside on Thomas Welsh and scoring 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting and taking eight rebounds. That was all coming off the bench. The Trojans also shot 45 percent from the arch (9 of 20) while UCLA was just 21 percent (4 of 19, including Bryce Alford’s 1-for-6 effort). UCLA only had Tony Parker (27 points and 12 rebounds) to brag about. But that could be different now. Parker came off the bench last Saturday when the Bruins (13-9, 4-5) tried a new look against Washington State, allowing sophomore Jonah Bolden to start instead. The Trojans (17-5, 6-3), who should be back in the Top 25 this week, are trying to build on their 13-0 Galen Center record so far this year.
THE REST OF THE WEEK
Wednesday is set aside for national signing day — when high school football players officially make their college choices … The Kings and Ducks meet at Staples Center for Round 2 of the season series on Thursday (7 p.m., NBCSN) … More at this link