09.16.19: Five things for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

NUMBER 1Going head-to-head as TV show against the Prime-Time Emmy Awards show in Los Angeles is always a risk. As that event happens on Fox this Sunday night, the Rams will go to Cleveland (5:20 p.m., Channel 4) for a really cool event in the NFL100 celebration. Remember, of course, this is the city that birthed the Rams franchise, in 1936, found by an Ohio attorney named Homer Marshman with a player-coach Damon Wetzel, a former Ohio State star. Wetzel named them the Rams after his favorite college football team, Fordham University (home of Vin Scully).
They joined the NFL in Feb., 1937, had the league MVP in rookie fullback Parker Hall in ’39, were bought up by Dan Reeves and Fred Levy in ‘44, who then brought on Bob Hope as a part-owner, suspended operations during WWII, but then landed UCLA rookie Bob Waterfield to run the show in ’45 and become league MVP while winning the NFL championship at Cleveland Municipal Stadium before 32,178.

1111s-l1600Then Reeves moved everything to L.A., to this glorious Coliseum stadium that needed someone other than USC to rule. They finally got horns painted onto their helmets in 1948, and made the NFL title game four times in six years. That included these L.A. Rams defeating the upstart Cleveland Browns in 1951 at the Coliseum, but then losing to Cleveland in the 1949, ’50 and ’55 championship. In that ’55 title game, NBC paid $100,000 to do the first televised league title game, on the day after Christmas, a Monday night, at the Coliseum between Norm Van Brocklin and the Rams against Otto Graham and the Cleveland Browns. On the call: The Rams’ Bob Kelley with Ken Coleman. Surely, NBC will cover all this history, right?
Also this week:
= Chargers vs. Houston, Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Sunday at 1:25 p.m., Channel 2
The rest of the Week 3 schedule:
Thursday:
= Tennessee at Jacksonville, 5:20 p.m., NFL Network
Sunday:
CBS early window (10 a.m.)
= Cincinnati at Buffalo, Atlanta at Indianapolis, Baltimore at Kansas City, N.Y. Jets at New England
Fox early window (10 a.m.)
= Miami at Dallas, Denver at Green Bay, Oakland at Minnesota, Detroit at Philadelphia
CBS late window (1:25 p.m., blacked out in L.A.)
= Pittsburgh at San Francisco, New Orleans at Seattle

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NUMBER 2The interesting aspect pointed out about the latest Associated Press college football poll going into Week 4 – again, it matters nothing in the grand scheme of things, just as about as effective as a rectal thermometer in trying to gauge a temperature of the sport – is half of the Pac 12 Conference has made it into the Top 25. Does that show a resurgence? The last time the Pac-12 had six ranked teams was Nov. 8, 2015. Hardly, because neither USC or UCLA are there now, and that’s missed marquee value. And they’re already posting stories about whether the Pac-12 has already missed its window for a College Football Playoff bid for the third straight season.
Is Pac-12 already out of the playoff race? The Trojans (2-1, 1-0) actually fell out of the AP poll with that tentative No. 24 spot by losing in overtime at BYU, otherwise there could be seven teams in. Utah (3-0), now finished with non-conference play,  barely gets into the Top 10, so that’s nothing to crow about, as the Utes come to L.A. to face USC in one of those odd Friday night affairs (6 p.m., FS1). Washington State, also 3-0 against all non-conference foes and in at No. 19, play host to UCLA (0-3) at the Paloose (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN).
Also this week in the Pac 12:
Conference games:
Oregon at Stanford, Saturday at 4 p.m., ESPN
Colorado at Arizona State, Saturday at 7 p.m., Pac 12 Net
Non-conference games:
Cal at Mississippi, Sunday at 9 a.m., ESPNU
Washington at BYU, Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Bye week: Arizona, Oregon State

Also of interest this week:
Friday:
Air Force at Boise State, 6 p.m., ESPN2
Saturday:
Southern Miss at Alabama, 9 a.m., ESPN2
Tennessee at Florida, 9 a.m., ESPN
Michigan at Wisconsin, 9 a.m., Channel 11
Auburn at Texas A&M, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
Charlotte at Clemson, 4:30 p.m., ACC Network
Oklahoma State at Texas, 4:30 p.m., Channel 7
Notre Dame at Georgia, 5 p.m., Channel 2

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NUMBER 3The Dodgers spread their final five games of the regular season at home over a seven-day week, leading into the annual Fan Appreciation Day, and including a couple more bobblehead nights along the way. Let’s just be safe trying to rack up that 100th win.
The Angels, meanwhile, can’t possibly suffer much more indignity.
How the week plays out for the Dodgers (97-54, dropping from No. 1 to No. 2 in the ESPN MLB Power Rankings behind Houston):
Vs. Tampa Bay at Dodger Stadium:
Tuesday at 7:10 p.m., YouTube (Blake Snell vs. Ross Stripling)
Wednesday at 5:10 p.m., SportsNet LA (Brendan McKay vs. Tony Gonsolin)
Vs. Colorado at Dodger Stadium:
Friday at 7:10 p.m., SNLA (Peter Lambert vs. Clayton Kershaw)
Saturday at 6:10 p.m., SNLA, Channel 5 (Chi Chi Gonzalez vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu)
Sunday at 1:10 p.m., SNLA (Antonio Senzatela vs. Walker Buehler)

How the week plays out for the Angels (68-82, losers in 10 of their last 13:
At New York Yankees:
Tuesday at 3:35 p.m., FSW (Jose Suarez vs. Luis Severino)
Wednesday at 3:35 p.m., FSW (Dillon Peters vs. CC Sabathia)
Thursday at 3:35 p.m., FSW (Andrew Heaney vs. J.A. Happ)
At Houston:
Friday at 5:10 p.m., FSW (Jaime Barria vs. Zack Greinke)
Saturday at 4:10 p.m., FSW (Patrick Sandoval vs. Wade Miley)
Sunday at 11:10 a.m., FSW (Jose Suarez vs. Justin Verlander)

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NUMBER 4The WNBA playoffs go to a best-of-five semifinal format, so the No. 3 seeded Sparks, having brushed aside Seattle in a one-or-done contest Sunday at Staples Center, start the next round at Connecticut, against a Suns team that took the No. 2 seed and watched the first two rounds of the playoffs breeze by them. In three regular-season meetings, the Sparks won two of them, both in L.A. The Sun finished 15-2 at home, including an 89-77 decision over the Sparks in June, but were just 8-9 on the road. As far as storylines go, it’s a reunion between the Sun and former forward Chiney Ogwumike, traded to the Sparks nearly a month before the 2019 season. Although her time in Connecticut was marred by injury, Ogwumike averaged 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in three seasons with the Sun. Since joining sister Nneka on the Sparks, Chiney has averaged 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds a game.
The series (with the winner advances to the best-of-five finals against Las Vegas or Washington starting Sept. 29):
= At Connecticut, Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., ESPN2
= At Connecticut, Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ESPN2
= At The Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State, Sunday at 4 p.m., ESPN2

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NUMBER 5Four games remain in the regular season for playoff-secure LAFC (19-4-7, best in the Western Conference with 64 points) and the playoff-insecure Galaxy (14-13-3, fifth in the West, one of seven teams fighting for the final six spots in the West and separated by just six points).
The next steps:
= LAFC vs. Toronto, Banc of California Stadium, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., YouTube TV
= Galaxy vs. Montreal, Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet

 

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