Crazy how life can change week to week. There’s a group packing passports for a Margarita-filled trip to Mexico City to join in the NFL experience South of any border walls that attempt to separate us all. Next, we’re trying to see if there are any first responders, fire fighters or displaces residents from pretty much anywhere in the San Fernando Valley heading toward Malibu in need of a ticket to a Rams game that may not seem as important as it once was trumpeted to be. Before we finalize Week 11 with a Rams-Chiefs game that’s been moved back to the Coliseum (Monday, 5:15 p.m., ESPN), featuring a pair of 9-1 teams that may not, at this point, even be playing the best ball in their respective conferences but are still expected by some to exceed the record-setting over-under of 65, we take a deep breath. Too much is happening around us. The earth is still moving below us. As someone pointed out, look how different Southern California has become since the Dodgers’ won an 18-inning World Series game about three weeks ago now. Happy Thanksgiving week.
For Week 12:
Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day games:
* Chicago at Detroit, 9:30 a.m., Channel 2
* Washington at Dallas, 1:30 p.m., Channel 11
* Atlanta at New Orleans, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
* Chargers vs. Arizona, at StubHub Center, 1:05 p.m., Channel 11
* New England at N.Y. Jets, 10 a.m., Channel 2
* Pittsburgh at Denver, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2
* Green Bay at Minnesota, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
Note: Rams have a Week 12 bye.
Remember the time USC ended Lou Holtz’ coaching career at Notre Dame with a resounding loss? Last game of the 1996 season, at the Coliseum. Holtz’ Irish was 8-2, and he had just announced his retirement before the final home game, a 62-0 win over Rutgers. USC didn’t let him escape that easily. The Trojans’ 27-20 overtime win ending a 13-game unbeaten streak against their rivals, and knocked Holtz’s team out of a Jan. 1 bowl game. “I feel like somebody reached into my stomach and pulled out my guts,” Holtz said. “I never felt this low.” So low, the Irish declined an Independence Bowl consolation prize. It’s not like 6-6 USC had any postgame bowl awaiting them either. Both teams saw the end that day.
Now we are 22 years later, a prime-time Notre Dame-USC game at the Coliseum (Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 7). The Irish need a win to guarantee a College Football Playoff semifinal berth. The Trojans need a win to finish 6-6 and perhaps qualify for something called the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix. If they lose this one, it could likely be the end for head coach Clay Helton.
For the record, Notre Dame leads the all-time series 47-37-5, and won last year in South Bend, Ind., by a 49-14 count when it was ranked No. 13 and USC was No. 11. Notre Dame has won five of the last eight, but USC has won the last two played at the Coliseum, posting 49 and 45 points.
As for anniversary games:
* 20 years ago: A 7-4 USC posted a 10-0 win in Paul Hackett’s first year over a 9-1 Irish team trying to secure a major bowl game.
* 30 years ago: No. 1 vs. No. 2, both undefeated, Lou Holtz benches Ricky Watters and Tony Brooks, and the Irish pull off a 27-10 win over Rodney Peete’s team and go on to win the national championship. There were 93,829 at that Coliseum game.
* 40 years ago: No. 8 Notre Dame erased a 24-6 deficit behind Joe Montana and took a 25-24 lead with 45 seconds left, then failed on a two-point conversions. Next series: No. 3 USC survives a potential fumble by quarterback Paul McDonald (ruled an incomplete pass), and with four seconds left Frank Jordan’s 37-yard field goal decides it, 27-25.
* 50 years ago: USC is No. 1 and undefeated with O.J. Simpson. Notre Dame is 7-2 with Joe Theismann in for Terry Hanratty. The game did a 22.9 TV rating, about as huge a contest as one could have in that era. A 21-21 tie did no one really any good. Simpson had just 55 yards rushing. USC lost the national title to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
The rest of Week 13
Thursday Thanksgiving Day:
Colorado State at Air Force, 12:30 p.m., CBSSN
Mississippi State at Mississippi, 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Washington at Washington State, 5:30 p.m., Channel 11
Oklahoma at West Virginia, 5 p.m., ESPN
Oregon at Oregon State, 1 p.m., FS1
Virginia at Virginia Tech, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Texas at Kansas, 9 a.m., FS1
Central Florida at South Florida
Stanford at UCLA, noon, Pac 12 Network
BYU at Utah
Illinois at Northwestern
Arizona State at Arizona
Michigan at Ohio State, 9 a.m., Channel 11
Georgia Tech at Georgia, 9 a.m., SEC Network
Syracuse at Boston College, 9 a.m., ESPN
Florida at Florida State, 9 a.m., Channel 7
Auburn at Alabama, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
Maryland at Penn State, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
South Carolina at Clemson, 4 p.m., ESPN
Kentucky at Louisville, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Utah State at Boise State, 7:15 p.m.
Hawaii at San Diego State, 7:30 p.m.
LSU at Texas A&M, 4:30 p.m., SEC Network
Try not to cry – or cry with laughter – at the ESPN commercials promoting the Lakers’ visit to Cleveland on pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday (5 p.m., also on SportsNet LA). They’re playing the Barbra Streisand song “The Way We Were” over black-and-white misty memory photos of LeBron James during his days with the Cavs. Can it be that it was all so simple then? In 11 seasons for his home-town team – split up with seven between his ages of 19 and 25, then four more between 30 and 33 – he went to five NBA Finals, including the last four in a row. Thanks for the memories and pass a drum stick. Between those five, there were four more NBA Finals with Miami – the place the Lakers visited on Sunday and got a little misty. Maybe after all this is over, he’ll have something to be thankful for knowing there’s no chance in heck this Lakers team will extend his streak – and the wear-and-tear on his body.
Also this week for the Lakers:
* Vs. Utah, Staples Center, Friday at 7:30p.m., SSN
* Vs. Orlando, Staples Center, Sunday at 12:309 p.m., SSN
Also this week for the Clippers:
* At Atlanta, Monday at 4:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
* At Washington, Tuesday at 4 p.m., Prime Ticket
* Vs. Memphis, Staples Center, Friday at 12:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
* At Portland, Sunday at 6 p.m., Prime Ticket
Did you know: Loyola Marymount has hooked up with the Santa Monica Brew Works to provide students (21-and-older of course) a chance to get two free beers per home game. Season ticket holders also can get in on this. Those without season seats can also get in on this by upgrading their seats. LMU has never served beer at home games. Why now? “We want to have the best home court advantage in college basketball,” said LMU athletic director Craig Pintens, “and that beings with our students and season ticket holders. We will also place a premium on any benefits can provide for our most loyal fans. We appreciate Santa Monica Brew Works for their partnership.” So there you go… Easy pour. This already started with LMU’s win over Cal State Northridge last week. It continues after the team comes back from a trip to Jamaica with this week’s home games at Gersten Pavilion against Central Connecticut State (Wednesday, 7 p.m.) and Florida A&M (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)
More of this week’s games in Southern California:
* UCLA vs. Presbyterian, at Pauley Pavilion, Monday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network
* UCLA vs. Michigan State at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Thursday at 7 p.m., FS1; UCLA vs. North Carolina or Texas at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Friday TBD, Channel 11
* USC vs. Texas Tech in NABC Hall of Fame Classic at Kansas City, Mo., Monday at 6:30 p.m., ESPN2; USC vs. Missouri State or Nebraska, Tuesday at 6 or 8:30 p.m., ESPN3 or ESPN2
* Long Beach State vs. Iona at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Monday at 2 p.m.; Long Beach State vs. Hartford or Utah Valley at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Tuesday TBA; Long Beach State vs. Oregon State at Walter Pyramid, Sunday at 2 p.m.
* Cal State Northridge vs. Tennessee State at the Matadome, Tuesday at 7 p.m.
* Wooden Legacy Tournament at Cal State Fullerton:
Thursday: La Salle vs. Miami (11:30 a.m., ESPNU), Northwestern vs. Fresno State (1:30 p.m., ESPNU), Seton Hall vs. Grand Canyon (6 p.m. ESPN3) and Hawaii vs. Utah, (8:30 p.m., ESPN2)
Friday: Games at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.
Sunday: Games at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (championship), ESPN2
Games of national interest:
* Monday: Duke vs. San Diego State in Maui, 1:30 p.m., ESPN2; Gonzaga vs. Illinois in Maui, 8:30 p.m., ESPN2; St. John’s vs. Cal at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, 4 p.m., ESPN2;
Tuesday: Four more games from Maui Tournament, 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., ESPN
* Wednesday: Four more games from Maui Tournament: 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 8:30 p.m., ESPNU and ESPN2; Marquette vs. Kansas at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, 4 p.m., ESPN2
The CIF Southern Section has 13 finals to stage on Friday, plus a couple more for the eight-man divisions.
We suggest you have a look at:
Division I: St. John Bosco vs. Mater Dei at Cerritos College, Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Braves are the nation’s top-ranked team. The Monarchs (11-2) are the defending national champions. In last year’s title game, Mater Dei beat St. John Bosco 49-24. Earlier this season, Bosco knocked off Mater Dei 41-18 as D.J. Ulagalelei threw five touchowns passes, four in the first half, and ended Mater Dei’s 22-game win streak.
Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson, one-on-one, for someone’s $9 million, in Las Vegas, pay-per-view, $19.99, Friday at high noon. Who’s in?