THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 14
UCLA vs. STANFORD
Details/TV: Rose Bowl, Friday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7:
Prior to last Saturday’s UCLA-USC contest, FiveThirtyEight.com prediction master Nate Silver gave the Bruins a marginal 8.2 percent chance of making it into four-team NCAA playoff bracket selected on Dec. 7. By Sunday morning, the percentage inched up to 14. “That may undersell the Bruins’ chances, however,” Silver writes. “If they beat both Stanford and Oregon, their chances will be about 50 percent, according to the model.” Will you take those odds? First things, first. Win here, and the Bruins clinch the Pac-12 South – their third in four seasons – and a meeting on Dec. 5 in Santa Clara against the second-ranked Ducks (who Silver pegs at 75.7 percent to make the final four, 44.2 percent to make the title game and 24.5 to win it all). But a UCLA loss ends any Pac-12 title shot, a probable Top 10 finish and a respectable 9-3 record going into the bowl season. Stanford (6-5, 4-4 in the Pac-12 North) finally became bowl-eligible by knocking off rival Cal last week behind four rushing TDs from Remound Wright (above). All five Cardinal losses came, at the time, against ranked opponents, including USC (13-10 in Week 2) and Notre Dame (17-14 in Week 5). The only real squirrely thing here is that UCLA has lost six in a row to Stanford, including last year’s Pac-12 title game. So on this Black Friday, would it behoove the Bruins to pull out those black “L.A. Midnight” jerseys that created such the fashion buzz with last season (and not the dirty gray “L.A. Steel” ones they wore earlier this season against Arizona)? So on this Black Friday, would it behoove the Bruins to pull out those black “L.A. Midnight” jerseys that created such the fashion buzz with last season (and not the dirty gray “L.A. Steel” ones they wore earlier this season against Arizona)?
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 14
USC vs. NOTRE DAME
Details/TV: Coliseum, Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 11:
This battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh two years ago at the Coliseum was pretty bizarro – the top-ranked Irish’s 22-13 win completed a 12-0 regular season and secured a place in the BCS title game. The loss by unranked USC pushed the team to 7-5, a far cry from the program ranked No. 1 in the preseason AP poll. Sophomore quarterback Everett Golson threw for 217 yards and Mante Te’o had a key interception against freshman fill-in Max Wittek, as Matt Barkley was injured from the week before UCLA game. This Irish team may have had some national title aspirations when it started the season 6-0, winning by a combined score of 207-103 and climbing to No. 5 in the AP poll going into Week 8. Since then it has lost four of the last five — and even the win over Navy in that stretch wasn’t real impressive. The senior Golson has thrown for 27 TDs so far and is top 10 in the country with more than 3,000 yards passing, but he also has 12 interceptions. As for USC, previously suspended cornerback Josh Shaw plays in his last – and only – home game this season and will be introduced with the other seniors before the game. What’ll the response be?
MLS PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
GALAXY at SEATTLE
Details/TV: Leg 2, At CenturyLink Field, Sunday at 6 p.m., ESPN:
The Galaxy’s previous two trips to Seattle before their 60,000 fans this season produced a 3-0 Monday night win in late July (the Sounders were missing star center back Chad Marshall because of injury, and Clint Dempsey only got off two shots) and a 2-0 loss in the regular-season finale in late October (40 fouls were called and five yellow cards issued). If Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez remain the guardians of the Galaxy, already up with a 1-0 win in the first leg, we’ll see how they step it up, knowing the winner of this gets home field against either New England or New York in the Dec. 7 MLS Cup. The second leg of Revolution-Red Bull series takes place Saturday (noon, NBCSN).
THE BEST OF THE REST:
UCLA’s basketball team travels to Paradise Island near Nassau in the Bahamas to play in the “Battle 4 Atlantis” tournament, opening up against Oklahoma on Wednesday (11:30 a.m., ESPN), with a shot of playing North Carolina, Florida and/or Wisconsin when it ends on Friday … California Chrome makes his final appearance of the thoroughbred season in the $300,000 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar (Saturday at 4 p.m.) … The Kings and Chicago Blackhawks face off for the first time since last summer’s Western Conference finals (Staples Center, Saturday at 7 p.m.) … The Thanksgiving Day NFL slate includes Chicago-Detroit (Channel 2, 9:30 a.m.), Philadelphia-Dallas (Channel 11, 1:30 p.m.) and Seattle-San Francisco ( 5:30 p.m., Channel 4) … Week 14 of the college football season has Arizona State-Arizona (Friday, 1:30 p.m., Channel 11), Oregon-Oregon State (Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 7), Mississippi State at Ole Miss (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2), Auburn at Alabama (Saturday, 4:45 p.m., ESPN) and Michigan at Ohio State (Saturday, 9 a.m., Channel 7) … the Clippers end their seven-game road trip at Utah (Saturday, 6 p.m.) … a link to the rest of it here.