10.08.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

1oneBefore we get to the start of the NL Championship Series on Friday (5 p.m., FS1), we need two dance partners. Milwaukee has the luxury of waiting now, even if the odds remain in TV land’s favor for a Brewers-Dodgers meeting. If it means anything, back in that regular season – which seems like an eternity ago at this point – the Dodgers just picked up Manny Machado and won two of three in Milwaukee right out of the All-Star break, including an 11-2 decision behind two Matt Kemp homers and Alex Wood’s six shutout innings on July 22. The Brewers came to Dodger Stadium about a week later and split a four-game series, The Brewers with their SoCal contingency – former NL MVP Ryan Braun (Granada Hills High), Mike Moustakas (Chatsworth High) and probable NL MVP Christian Yelich (Westlake High), not to mention team owner Mark Attanasio – would embrace a homecoming of sorts. But first, Atlanta can tie up this NLDS (Game 4, Monday, 1:30 p.m., FS1) or even force a winner-take-all contest (Game 5, Wednesday at 5 p.m., Dodger Stadium). What do you say, Rich Hill?
The rest of the American League playoff schedule, with that league’s championship series starting Saturday on TBS:
* Houston at Cleveland, ALDS Game 3, Monday at 10:30 a.m., TBS; Game 4 if necessary at Cleveland, Tuesday at 1:35 p.m., TBS; Game 5 if necessary at Houston, Thursday at 1:07 p.m., TBS.
* Boston at New York, ALDS Game 3, Monday at 4:40 p.m., TBS; Game 4 at New York, Tuesday at 5:07 p.m., TBS; Game 5 if necessary at Boston, Thursday at 4:40 p.m., TBS.

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1twoThe Rams’ 5-0 start came down to an interesting fourth-and-short call at Seattle on Sunday, after they had already come out in punt formation, but then decided to let Jarred Goff push it over that imaginary yellow line on the Rams’ side of the 50 yard line. Their next trip takes them to Denver (Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Channel 11) just a touchdown favorite against a Broncos team that has lost three in a row and just gave up 34 points and 512 yards to the New York Jets. The Rams’ old friend Case Keenum is calling signals in Denver – for the moment.
The Chargers were 1-4 after the first five games of the 2017 season, but sport a 3-2 mark this time when they head out to visit a somewhat rejuvenated Cleveland (Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 2). But going up head-to-head with it: The Raiders’ trip to Wembley Stadium in London to face Seattle (Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 11).
To finish Week 5:
* Washington at New Orleans, Monday at 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Also in Week 6:
* Philadelphia at New York Giants, Thursday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 11, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
* Jacksonville at Dallas, Sunday at 1:25 p.m., Channel 2
* Kansas City at New England, Sunday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 4

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1threeWeek 7 of the college football season pretty much marks the mid-way point, and USC’s test after a bye week comes against 5-0 Colorado (Saturday at the Coliseum, 7:30 p.m., FS1. The Buffs just slid two spots up the AP rankings to No. 19 and remain one of 11 unbeatens left in FBS. During the Trojans’ 11-3 run last season, they handed the Buffaloes a 38-24 pounding in Boulder, Colo., improving their record to 12-0 all time against newest Pac-12 entrant and outscoring them, 419-169. Colorado QB Steven Montez completed 27 of 49 for 376 yards and two TDs, but also had two picks and was sacked three times. The junior from El Paso, Tex., rates 10th in the nation (and third in the Pac-12) with a 174.2 passing rating and tied for first with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailova in passing percentage at 75.2 (115 for 153, for 1,420 yards, 11 TDs and just two picks. By the way: Colorado has 40 players from Southern California on their roster; USC have none from Colorado and have had only 11 in their football history, including Tony Boselli and LenDale White. The Trojans are also amidst a 18-game home winning streak.
UCLA’s next attempt to post a victory comes at Cal (Saturday, 4 p.m., Pac 12 Network). The Bears (3-2, 0-2), losing at Oregon and at home against Arizona after landing a spot in the AP Top 25 with the 3-0 start. The Bruins (0-5, 0-2) have been outscored 182-92 overall, and 69-40 in conference. They beat the Bears four of the last five meetings, but Cal won last time in Berkeley by a 36-10 count in ’16.
Other key games in Week 7:
Friday
* Air Force at San Diego State, 6 p.m., CBSSN
* Arizona at Utah, 7 p.m., ESPN
Saturday
* Nebraska at Northwestern, 9 a.m., Channel 7
* Florida at Vanderbilt, 9 a.m., ESPN
* Minnesota at Ohio State, 9 a.m., FS1
* Pittsburgh at Notre Dame, 11:30 a.m., Channel 4
* Georgia at LSU, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
* Washington at Oregon, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
* Baylor at Texas, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
* Missouri at Alabama, 4 p.m., ESPN
* Miami at Virginia, 4 p.m., ESPN2
* Wisconsin at Michigan, 4:30 p.m., Channel 7

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1fourFour road games over the next seven days could mean some early-season trouble for the goalie-challenged Kings, who start this thing off in Winnipeg on Tuesday (5 p.m., Fox Sports West), before hitting Montreal (Thursday, 4:30 p.m., FSW) and Ottawa (Saturday, 11 a.m., FSW). Six of their next eight are away from Staples Center, for that matter.
The Ducks’ 2-0 start brings them to Honda Center for games against Detroit (Monday, 7 p.m., Prime Ticket) and Arizona (Wednesday, 7 p.m., Prime Ticket) before going to Dallas (Saturday, 5 p.m., Prime Ticket) and St. Louis (Sunday, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket).

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1fiveOne more week before the NBA season begins, so the Lakers’ final two practice moves against Golden State (Wednesday at T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas and Friday at SAP Center in San Jose, both at 7:30 p.m. on Spectrum SportsNet as well as ESPN and ESPN2 respectively) are again to get fans drooling over how LeBron James’ new running mates may fare against the defending NBA champs. But this is hardly a fair measurement, even if spectators might be paying upwards to $200 a ticket.
The Clippers wrap up with exhibitions against Denver (Tuesday, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket) and the Maccabi Haifa Basketball Club from the Israeli league (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.)

 

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