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

NUMBER 1What we finally know and what’s still left to figure out heading into College Football Week 13:
== It took awhile – like, finding out how Week 12 would finish early Sunday morning – before we got the word that Channel 7 and 12:30 p.m. would be the network and kickoff time for UCLA-USC at the Coliseum on Saturday. Thanks for your patience? OK, you’re welcome? Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Todd McShay and Molly McGrath are on the TV call.
== Some USC-UCLA facts to keep in mind:
= USC (7-4, 6-2) can only win the Pac-12 South if it defeats UCLA and has Utah (9-1, 6-1) lose its last two, at Arizona on Saturday and home vs. Colorado on Nov. 30.
= UCLA (4-6, 4-3) could qualify for a bowl game if it defeats USC and then Cal on Nov. 30, which would then give the Bruins a 5-1 finish after a 1-5 start.
= The 89th edition of the rivalry that awards the Victory Bell will have both wearing their home jerseys again.
= USC has won 15 of the last 20 meetings, but lost last year, 34-27, when the Bruins’ Joshua Kelley ran for 289 yards and two TDs. Both USC and UCLA failed to make a bowl game last year. Wilton Speight was the starting UCLA quarterback in the game, against freshman JT Daniels.

= This is the last home game in the 50-year career of Trojan Marching Band director Dr. Art Bartner, as well as the 15-year career of Traveler rider Hector Aguilar. Yes, it could very well be the last game for USC head coach Clay Helton, but we’ve been to this edge of the cliff many times.

== When the College Football Playoff  voters release the third of their six polls (Tuesday, ESPN, 5 p.m.), we would expect LSU, Ohio State and Clemson to keep their undefeated top three spots, and the other 13 one-loss teams to arranged accordingly – again, until the Pac-12 is decided in its Dec. 6 championship game in Santa Clara. If no one-loss Pac-12 teams are left after that, then it’s fair game to start sniffing around other conferences. But there’s too many other variables in play between now and then in the SEC, Big Ten and even Big 12.
== In the latest ESPN bowl projection, USC faces either Baylor or Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 31.

Also this week in the Pac 12 (all games Saturday):
= Cal at Stanford, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= Oregon at Arizona State, 4:30 p.m., Channel 7
= Oregon State at Washington State, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= Utah at Arizona, 7 p.m. FS1
= Washington at Colorado, 7 p.m., ESPN
Also this week in Saturday’s games national interest:
Early window:
= Penn State at Ohio State, 9 a.m., Channel 11
= Western Carolina at Alabama, 9 a.m., ESPN
= Minnesota at Northwestern, 9 a.m., Channel 7
Afternoon window:
= Boston College at Notre Dame, 11:30 a.m., Channel 4
= Texas at Baylor, 12:30 p.m., FS1
= Texas A&M at Georgia, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
= Michigan at Indiana, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
= SMU at Navy, 12:30 p.m., CBSSN
= Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech, 12:30 p.m., ESPN2
= Memphis at South Florida, 1 p.m., ESPNU
Late afternoon window:
= Arkansas at LSU, 4 p.m., ESPN
= TCU at Oklahoma, 5 p.m., Channel 11
Night window:
= Boise State at Utah State, 7:30 p.m., CBSSN
= San Diego State at Hawaii, 8 p.m.

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NUMBER 2What we still don’t know yet heading into NFL Week 12:
== Week 11 isn’t over until the 4-6 Chargers, already 0-2 in the AFC West, connect with Kansas City in Mexico City – Monday, 5:15 p.m., ESPN. Then the Chargers get Week 12 off.
Flash back to Week 11, 2018. The Chiefs and the Rams were supposed to go to Mexico City, but the field was a mess. It was moved to the Coliseum, and the Rams pulled off a 54-51 victory, the first time in an NFL game both teams topped 50 points.
Can this top that?
== The 6-4 Rams, coming off the sluggish Sunday night game against Chicago, will get sufficient time to recover and finish up Week 12 with a Monday night game at the Coliseum against current league MVP favorite Lamar Jackson and 8-2 Baltimore on Nov. 25.
== It was pointed out by Al Michaels on Sunday’s Rams-Bears broadcast that the Rams and Cowboys have had a similar trajectory to their season – a 3-0 start, followed by a three-game losing skid, then three wins in their last four games. Yet the Cowboys lead the NFC East with a 4-0 record against their division; the Rams are third in the NFC West, 0-2 against their division. The teams face each other at Dallas in Week 15.
Going into Week 12:
Thursday
= Indianapolis at Houston, 5:20 p.m., Channel 11, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
Sunday
= In the Fox 10 a.m. window: Seattle at Philadelphia (also: Tampa Bay at Atlanta, N.Y. Giants at Chicago, Miami at Cleveland)
= In the CBS 10 a.m. window: Oakland at N.Y. Jets (also: Denver at Buffalo, Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, Carolina at New Orleans)
= In the CBS 1:05 p.m. window (not airing in LA): Jacksonville at Tennessee
= In the Fox 1:25 p.m. window: Dallas at New England
= Green Bay at San Francisco, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4 (flexed into this spot as of Nov. 12, replacing Seattle-Philadelphia)
Bye week: Chargers, Kansas City, Minnesota, Arizona

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NUMBER 3What we know, and what we think we know, and what the NBA season is already told us a month into it:
== If Kobe Bryant attends every Lakers home game the rest of the season, for whatever he’s promoting, the team will finish … hang on, we can do this math …
== LeBron James had a plus-minus of 41 in 18 minutes of the first half of the Lakers’ eventual 21-point win against Atlanta on Sunday, the best margin he’s ever posted in any half of his 17 year career, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
== The Lakers (11-2) retain their No. 1 spot in the ESPN power rankings. The Clippers (8-5) fell from No. 2 to No. 5, after Paul George has scored 70 points in 44 minutes of his first games this season.
== The Lakers and Clippers have five Staples Center dates this week. George and Kawhi Leonard have not played together yet. It likely comes this week with four Clippers games, none back-to-back, and Boston (No. 2 in the ESPN power rankings, 10-2 best record in the East) paying a visit:
How the week unfolds for the Lakers:
= Vs. Oklahoma City, at Staples Center, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
= At Oklahoma City, Friday at 5 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
= At Memphis, Saturday at 5 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
How the week unfolds for the Clippers:
= Vs. Oklahoma City, at Staples Center, Monday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
= Vs. Boston, Staples Center, Wednesday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket, ESPN
= Vs. Houston, Staples Center, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, ESPN
= Vs. New Orleans, Staples Center, Sunday at 6 p.m., Prime Ticket

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NUMBER 4What is still left to figure out two weeks into the college basketball season:
== Four Pac-12 teams are in the AP Top 25: Oregon (4-0) at No. 11, Arizona (4-0) at No. 14, Colorado (2-0) at No. 23 and Washington (2-1) at No. 25. Stanford (4-0), Cal (3-0), Utah (3-0) are the other unbeatens thus far aside from USC and UCLA.
== Duke’s 4-0 start has it No. 1 in the latest AP poll, thanks to Kentucky’s one measly loss last week. Cal is the only Pac-12 opponent on their schedule, and that matchup comes this week.
“Our sport is more prone to upset than any because there are just five people out there, so there’s age, athleticism, maturity, depth and a lot of things where people can make up differences,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “That’s why there are a lot of so-called upsets in our sport. A lot of people can win and you have to be ready to play all those people.”
How the week plays out for USC (4-0):
Vs. Pepperdine, Galen Center, Tuesday at 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Vs. Temple, Galen Center, Friday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network
How the week plays out for UCLA (3-0):
Vs. Southern Utah, Pauley Pavilion, Monday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Vs. Hofstra, Pauley Pavilion, Thursday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network

How the week plays out for Long Beach State (1-3):
Vs. Fresno Pacific, at the Walter Pyramid, Friday at 7 p.m.
At Arizona, Sunday at 5:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
How the week plays out for Cal State Northridge (0-5):
Vs. Colgate, at Green Bay, Wisc., Sunday at 6 p.m.

How the week plays out for Pepperdine (3-1):
At USC, Tuesday at 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Vs. Sacramento State, Firestone Fieldhouse, Saturday at 7 p.m.
How the week plays out for Loyola Marymount (1-2):
Vs. Air Force, at Bimini in the Bahamas, Thursday at 1 p.m.
Vs. Indiana State University, at Bimini in the Bahamas, Friday at 1 p.m.
Vs. Duquesne, at Bimini in the Bahamas, Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

Games of national interest this week include:
Monday:
Charleston Southern at Michigan State, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Utah Valley at Kentucky, 4 p.m., ESPN2
UC Irvine at Colorado, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Prairie View A&M at Cal, 7 p.m.
Tuesday:
Maine at Washington, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Maryland-Eastern Shore at Stanford, 7 p.m.
Wednesday
San Diego State at San Diego, 8 p.m.
BYU at Boise State, 7 p.m., CBSSN
UC Santa Barbara at Oregon State, 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Thursday:
Duke vs. Cal, at New York, 6 p.m., ESPN2
Texas vs. Georgetown, at New York, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Friday:
Montana at Washington, 8 p.m.
Houston at Oregon, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
LSU vs. Utah State at Montego Bay, 4 p.m., CBSSN
Mt. St. Mary’s at Kentucky, 4 p.m., SEC Network
Saturday:
Arizona State vs. St. John’s at Uncasville, CT, 11:30 a.m., ESPN3
Grambling vs. Oregon State, 11:30 a.m., Pac-12 Network
Sunday:
Lamar at Kentucky, 3 p.m., SEC Network
Akron at Louisville, 3 p.m., ACC Network
San Diego at Washington, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network

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NUMBER 5What we can’t figure out some 20 games into the NHL season:
== Kings GM Rob Blake might finally have to chuck Ilya Kovalchuk to another team this week. The 36-year old, with one goal and two assists in his last 10 games, would have a $6.2 million salary cap hit if the Kings buy him out.
“If Blake and (team president Luc) Robitaille couldn’t immediately realize the Kings needed a complete tear-down, can the rest of their decisions be trusted?” asks L.A. Times hockey writer Helene Elliott.

How this week shapes up for the Kings (8-11-1):
= At Arizona, Monday at 6 p.m., Fox Sports West
= Vs. Edmonton, Staples Center, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports West
= Vs. Arizona, Staples Center, Saturday at 1 p.m., Fox Sports West
How this week shapes up for the Ducks (10-9-2):
= At Washington, Monday at 4 p.m., Prime Ticket
= At Florida, Thursday at 4 p.m., Prime Ticket
= At Tampa Bay, Saturday at 4 p.m., Prime Ticket

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