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

The damage has been done.
The 114th World Series may resulted in a Red Sox October, leaving the Dodgers a bit bluer, but there is no more baseball until the spring, we turn the clocks back on Saturday night, and dig in after this equinox thing has passed us by.
And by the way, World Series Games 6 and 7 at Fenway Park, Tuesday and Wednesday … not necessary.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming …


1oneWhich of you wise guys seriously expected to see the Rams land at 8-0 at this point in the NFL’s annual exercise to see who might possibly challenge the 1972 Miami Dolphins for undefeated greatness? Bovoda.lv just posted odds improving the Rams from 9/2 on Sept. 26 to 10/3 to win Super Bowl 53, and from 5/2 to 7/4 to win the NFC. (Odds to win the NFC West? They just improved to 1/25, from 1/16 … isn’t that easy money?) Bovoda also released this prop bet: What will be the total number of championships won by the ’18 Dodgers, ’19 Lakers, ’19 Rams, ’19 Chargers and ’19 Kings? Zero is the 5/7 favorite, with one next at 7/4. The Dodgers have already blown their shot. The Rams have the best chance, of course, of making one the loneliest number.

For NFL Week 9, the Rams travel to New Orleans (Sunday at 1:25 p.m., Channel 11 as the national game) while the Chargers shoot up to Seattle (Sunday at 1:05 p.m., Channel 2).
To finish Week 8:
* New England at Buffalo, Monday at 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Also in Week 9:
* Oakland at San Francisco, Thursday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 11, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
* Detroit at Minnesota, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 11 (or Atlanta-Washington or Tampa Bay-Carolina in this window)
* Green Bay at New England, Sunday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 4


1twoGoing into Week 10, the first of six straight College Playoff Rankings come out Tuesday (ESPN, 4:30 p.m.), with updates each week through Nov. 27, then the final poll on Sunday, Dec. 2 that determines not just the final four but also who else is slotted in the bowl games.
You should know the drill. USC and UCLA, unfortunately, can’t have much to look forward here.
Coming into this, the Pac 12 might also find itself disappointed. The practice of each team playing a nine-game conference schedule may have done the conference in again.
The last AP poll for October has the Pac-12 teams somewhat generously bunched whatever’s left into Nos. 10-20 range – No. 10 Washington State and No. 16 Utah is all to be found, with Washington, Oregon and Stanford falling out of the AP Top 25.
The SEC has teams ranked No. 1, 4, 6, 11, 13, 21 and 25.
The locals:
* USC (4-4, 3-3) at Oregon State (2-6, 1-4), Saturday at 7 p.m., FS1
* UCLA (2-6, 2-3) at Oregon (5-3, 2-3), Saturday at 4:30 p.m., Channel 11
Other key games in Week 10:
Temple at Central Florida, 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Colorado at Arizona, 7:30 p.m., FS1
Alabama at LSU, 5 p.m., Channel 2
Georgia at Kentucky, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
Louisville at Clemson, 9 a.m., Channel 7
West Virginia at Texas, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11
Penn State at Michigan, 12:45 p.m., ESPN
Utah at Arizona State, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Notre Dame at Northwestern, 4:15 p.m., ESPN
Oklahoma at Texas Tech, 5 p.m., Channel 7
Stanford at Washington, 6 p.m., Channel 11
Cal at Washington State, 7:45 p.m., ESPN
San Diego State at New Mexico, 7:15 p.m., ESPNU


1threeHow cool was it seeing Magic Johnson and Larry Bird have that back-and-forth on camera before Game 5 of the World Series? That had to make everyone smile. Thanks, again, for the memories.
And we move forward:
The Lakers didn’t get enough of Portland on opening night, so they go back to the Rose City for a 7 p.m., Saturday contest to highlight their four-game work week. Is Rondo back yet? Yeah, like it matters. …
Also for the Lakers:
at Minnesota, Monday at 5 p.m.; at Staples Center vs. Dallas, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and vs. Toronto, Sunday at 5:30 p.m. All on Spectrum SportsNet.
Also this week for the Clippers:
at Oklahoma City, Tuesday at 5 p.m. (Prime Ticket); at Philadelphia, Thursday at 4 p.m. (Fox Sports West); at Orlando, Friday at 4 p.m. (Prime Ticket)


1fourThe MLS playoffs are finally the real deal for rookie phenom LAFC, as it finished third in the Western Conference and is awarded a home game against sixth-seed Real Salt Lake (Banc of California Stadium, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN2) in this Knockout Round phase. A win puts them into the conference semifinals (Nov. 4 and 11), which feeds into the conference championships (Nov. 25 and 29) and leads up to The MLS Cup (Dec. 8). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Galaxy may have, and look at what happened. Had the Galaxy won their last regular season game instead of blowing a 2-0 lead, they’d be facing LAFC. Twice in the regular season, LAFC handled RSL, including a 5-1 rout back in March, then 2-0 in L.A. in mid-August.


1fiveWhen the annual Breeder’s Cup isn’t at Santa Anita, we get a little down. But it’s back at Churchill Downs in Louisville (for the ninth time), so on the last day before we push the clocks back, we’ll try to justify a reason to push forward and tune in. First, unbeaten Triple Crown winner Justify isn’t here. Trainer Bob Baffert retired him with an ankle injury after his 6-0 run. That leaves Accelerate as the favorite in the 14-horse Breeders’ Cup Classic field. Last month at Santa Anita, the 5-year-old Accelerate beat Baffert’s McKinzie and West Coast. It’s a 14-race schedule over Friday and Saturday with a record $30 million in purses. Coverage: NBCSN has Friday from noon-to-4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. NBC has the Classic included from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.


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

1oneHere’s our tale of the tape for the 114th World Series. It does not mention Frank McCourt (maybe a little). Or the event at the Coliseum in 2008 where the teams played an exhibition game before a record 115,300 to celebrate the Dodgers’ 50th season in L.A.
But it could have.
The schedule goes this way:
Games 1 and 2 at Fenway Park in Boston: Tuesday and Wednesday, 5:08 p.m., Channel 11
Games 3, 4 and 5 at Dodger Stadium: Friday and Saturday at 5:08 p.m., Sunday at 5:15 p.m., Channel 11
(Games 6 and 7 if necessary at Fenway Park in Boston, Oct. 30 and 31, 5:09 p.m.)

1twoPrior to the Rams’ 39-10 win over San Francisco on Sunday, USA Today came out with a wacky story headlined: “7 reasons why the Los Angeles Rams won’t go undefeated in 2018.” Seven, after their 7-0 start. Why not make it eight now? The eighth could be their match up against Green Bay at the Coliseum (Sunday, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11).
Meanwhile, the 5-2 Chargers have a bye week trying to get home from London before Halloween.
To finish Week 7:
N.Y. Giants at Atlanta, Monday at 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Also in Week 8:
Miami at Houston, Thursday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 11, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville in London, Sunday at 6:30 a.m., NFL Network
N.Y. Jets at Chicago, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 2
Washington at N.Y. Giants, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 11 (or Seattle at Detroit)
Indianapolis at Oakland, Sunday at 1:05 p.m., Channel 2 (perhaps)

1threeWeek 9 of the college football season finds Utah at UCLA (Friday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN) and USC playing Arizona State at the Coliseum (Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7). We’d like to get somewhat excited about each of them. We can’t, logically. But there are a few others nationally that could make a difference in the race to get aligned for the first College Football Playoff poll a few days after this:
Other key games in Week 9:
Baylor at West Virginia, 4 p.m., FS1
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Appalachian State at Georgia Southern, 4:30 p.m., ESPNU
Louisiana Tech at Florida Atlantic, 3:30 p.m., CBSSN
Miami at Boston College, 4 p.m., ESPN
Indiana at Minnesota, 5 p.m., FS1
Wyoming at Colorado State, 7 p.m., CBSSN
Colorado State at Boise State, 6 p.m., ESPN2
Oregon at Arizona, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Washington at Cal, 1:30 p.m., FS1
Washington State at Stanford, 4 p.m., FS1
Clemson at Florida State, 9 a.m., Channel 7
Purdue at Michigan State, 9 a.m., 9 a.m., ESPN
Florida vs. Georgia at Jacksonville, Fla., 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
Iowa at Penn State, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Texas A&M at Mississippi State, 4 p.m., ESPN
Boise State at Air Force, 4 p.m., CBSSN
Notre Dame vs. Navy in San Diego, 5 p.m., Channel 2
Texas at Oklahoma State, 5 p.m., Channel 7
San Diego State at Nevada, 7:30 p.m.., ESPNU

1fourFights on an NBA court can be entertaining, right? Uhhh.
In the new Sports Illustrated NBA preview issue, a list of teams ranked according to “Entertainment Value” has the Lakers at No. 2 in the league, just behind defending champion Golden State. “LeBron (James) will play at his fastest pace ever, surrounded by promising prospects, volatile veterans and fun-loving fall guys. Their hype exceeds their ability, but James’ Lakers will be a ratings monster.” Now, consider the San Antonio Spurs – never much fun to watch in the first place with coach Paul Popovich, but even more space of star value. They’re at No. 18, generously. “No Kawhi, no Manu, no Tony and now no Dejounte Murray. Popovich’s ‘Beautiful Game’ offense cedes the court to the brutish midrange games of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan. No thanks.” With that, the Lakers and Spurs meet twice in six days this week – Monday at Staples Center ( 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet) and then Saturday in San Antonio (5:30 p.m., SSN).
Also this week for the Lakers:
At Phoenix, Wednesday at 7 p.m., SSN
At Staples Center vs. Denver, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., TNT, SSN

By the way, the Clippers rate No. 17 in that poll. “Blake (Griffin) and DeAndre Jordan are gone, but their replacements are energetic, plucky and well-coached. After so many injuries and trades, their motto should be, ‘Huh, I forget he was on this team’.”
The Clippers this week:
At New Orleans, Tuesday at 5 p.m., Fox Sports West
At Houston, Friday at 5 p.m., Prime Ticket
At Staples Center vs. Washington, Sunday at 6:30 p.m., Prime Ticket

1fiveAt the moment, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Galaxy (13-11-9) stands one point behind Real Salt Lake (14-13-7) for the final Western Conference playoff spot. The Galaxy just needs a win against Houston (StubHub Center, Sunday at 1:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet), while RSL is finished up. Meanwhile, LAFC (16-8-9) shares the same record with FC Dallas for the second spot in the West, but has scored 16 more goals. Both are two points back of leader Sporting KC, which plays host to LAFC in the finale (Sunday at 1:30 p.m., YouTube TV). Playoffs start with knockout rounds on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, leading to the conference semifinals Nov. 4 and 11 and conference championships Nov. 25 and 29. The MLS Cup happens Dec. 8 at 4:30 p.m.

Also this week:
UCLA starts its preseason men’s basketball schedule against the New York Institute of Technology (at Pauley Pavilion, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Pac 12 Network) …
In the NHL: Kings vs. N.Y. Rangers at Staples Center (Sunday at 12:30 p.m., FSW) highlights a week that includes trips to Dallas (Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., Channel 13) and Minnesota (Thursday, 5 p.m., FSW). For the Ducks: At Chicago (Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., Prime Ticket), at Dallas (Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Prime Ticket), at Honda Center in Anaheim vs. San Jose (Sunday at 5 p.m., FSW)

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

1oneThe National League Championship Series diverts from the Milwaukee indoor beer garden/green house to the autumn-friendly outdoors of Los Angeles, where the weather forecast for a Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday arrangement of Games 3, 4 and 5 is a consistent high of 81, a low in the 57 range and no precipitation, with humidity in the 25 percent range. The perfect storm for the Dodgers to take three in a row at Dodger Stadium while also smoking a fresh victory cigar, calling an end to this best-of-seven exercise that is intended to teach us all a lesson in “bullpenning.” In that, it can be defeated with heated wood at the right times.
The NLCS schedule:
* Game 3: Dodgers’ Walker Buehler vs. Brewers’ Jhoulys Chacin, Monday at 4:39 p.m., FS1
* Game 4: Dodgers’ Rich Hill vs. Brewers’ undecided (does it really matter?), Tuesday at 6:09 p.m., FS1
* Game 5: Wednesday at 2:05 p.m., FS1
If necessary:
* Games 6 and 7 at Milwaukee, Friday at 5:39 p.m. and Saturday at 6:09 p.m., FS1
Also this week in the American League Championship Series between Boston and Houston:
* Game 3 at Houston: Tuesday at 2:09 p.m., TBS
* Game 4 at Houston: Wednesday at 5:39 p.m., TBS
* Game 5 at Houston: Thursday at 5:09 p.m., TBS
If necessary:
* Games 6 and 7 at Boston, Saturday at 2:09 p.m., and Sunday at 4:39 p.m., TBS
Note: Game 1 of the World Series will be Tuesday, Oct. 23.


1twoHeadline in the Washington Post last Sunday under their “Fancy Stats: Analysis” column: “2018-19 NBA Preview: LeBron James as and the Lakers won’t dethrone the Warriors. Yet.” Give them credit for banner punctuation and putting the pause for reflection in the correct place.
Now, this isn’t Watergate or anything, but is there an investigation in place as to how the Lakers could ever dethrone the Warriors in this season or anyone coming up before the next presidential election? The basis of the piece is the Lakers made the “biggest move” of the offseason when they enticed James to leave Cleveland for “the glitz and glam of Hollywood,” giving the francise its first shot at a playoff birth since … wait for it … 2013. It’s been that long? We hardly noticed. This story uses some sort of WARcels simple forcasting system to project a players’ 2018-19 box score Plus Minus and then simulates 1,000 games. The Lakers are projected to win 44 times and become the eighth seed in the West. Defending champion Golden State is projected to win a league-best 59, which would put the Warriors and Lakers up against each other in the first round of the playoffs. So … there’s your dethrone opportunity, folks.
Before we get close to that conclusion, the Lakers open the season in Portland (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., TNT) and have their home opener against Houston (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet).
Meanwhile, the Clippers, projected to miss the playoffs with 36 wins (behind the Blazers’ 40, above the Mavs and Grizzlies at 34), start this exercise at Staples Center against Denver (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket) and also play host to Oklahoma City (Friday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket) and Houston (Sunday, 6 p.m., Prime Ticket).
Other games of note on the first week of the NBA regular season:
Philadelphia at Boston, 5 p.m., TNT
Oklahoma City at Golden State, 7:30 p.m., TNT
New Orleans at Houston,, 5 p.m., ESPN
Dallas at Phoenix, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Boston at Toronto, 5 p.m., ESPN
Golden State at Utah, 7:30 p.m., ESPN


1threeOn one end, the 4-2 Chargers continue their “Wanna Get Away” trip, exiting Cleveland in due time and jetting toward Wembley Stadium for a mandatory London encounter with Tennessee (Sunday, 6:30 a.m., Channel 2). It’s their way of grieving the loss of their original owner, Alex Spanos.
The 6-0 Rams get to circle back to San Francisco (Sunday, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2, traded with Fox) for another opportunity to put distance between themselves and anyone else still with a pulse in the NFC West. The 1-4 49ers have lost three in a row, including by two against the Chargers, and have yet to exit Week 6 yet before considering this Week 7 strategy.
And through it all, the 1-5 Raiders have a bye week.
To finish Week 6:
* San Francisco at Green Bay, Monday at 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Also in Week 7:
* Denver at Arizona, Thursday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 11, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
* Carolina at Philadelphia, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 11
* New England at Chicago, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 2

 * Cincinnati at Kansas City, Sunday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 4


1fourNow on the backside of the college football season, Week 8 first brings us a ESPN “College GameDay” visit to Pullman, Wash. This is significant for many reasons. One of them: Really, Pullman gets a visit, but not L.A.? We haven’t have the persistence to get this close to a Lee Corso sighting actually. WSU (5-1, 2-1) just jumped up to No. 23 in the coaches’ poll and No. 25 in the AP writers’ poll and have a key game against visiting No. 10 Oregon (5-1, 2-1). Besides, in this frame, USC (4-2, 3-1) goes to Utah (4-2, 2-2) (Saturday, 5 p.m., Pac 12 Network), where the Trojans have lost in their last two trips to Salt Lake City on a late TD. UCLA (1-5, 1-2) tries to see what a win streak feels like with a home game against struggling  Arizona (3-4, 2-2) (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2)
Other key games in Week 8:
Stanford at Arizona State, 6 p.m., ESPN
Colorado State at Boise State, 6 p.m., ESPN2
Oklahoma at TCU, 9 a.m., Channel 7
Michigan at Michigan State, 9 a.m., Channel 11
Auburn at Mississippi, 9 a.m., ESPN
Alabama at Tennessee, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
North Carolina State at Clemson, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Colorado at Washington, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11
Penn State at Indiana, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Mississippi State at LSU, 4 p.m., ESPN
Ohio State at Purdue, 4:30 p.m., Channel 7
Oregon at Washington State, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11


1fiveDon’t sleep on the LAFC (16-8-8, 56 points). It may have already secured a playoff spot – a huge achievement for an expansion team – and finished with a 9-1-6 home record, but there’s that 7-7-2 road mark that could use some polishing. It needs to fourth or better to get home field for the playoffs, but having won eight of their last nine since Aug. 11 bodes well for a next-to-last trip to Vancouver (Sunday, 2 p.m., YouTube TV) before finishing the season Oct. 28 at Kansas City.
The Galaxy (12-11-9, 45 points) also spends the weekend away (at Minnesota, Sunday, 2 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet) before its Oct. 28 finale at home against Houston. Both are behind them in the Western Conference standings, where the Galaxy is a point out from getting into the top six and needs something bad to happen to Real Salt Lake (13-12-7), which finishes the season at home vs. Portland (Saturday, 2 p.m.)


static1.squarespace.comThe NHL’s snooze alarm may kick in at any moment. The Kings’ four-game road trip ends in Toronto (Monday, 4:30 p.m., Fox Sports West) before they’re back at Staples Center to play the New York Islanders (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., FSW) and Buffalo (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., FSW). The Ducks also get home visits from the Islanders (Wednesday, 7 p.m., FSW) and Sabers (Sunday, 5 p.m., FSW) around a trip to Las Vegas (Saturday, 7 p.m., Prime Ticket).

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.


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


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:
* Air Force at San Diego State, 6 p.m., CBSSN
* Arizona at Utah, 7 p.m., ESPN
* 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


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).


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.)


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

1oneNow that we have a little more focus on what’s going on here: The Dodgers’ best-of-five NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves launches Thursday (5:35 p.m., MLB Network, Ryu vs. Foltynewicz) and Friday (6:30 p.m., FS1, Kershaw vs. TBA) at Dodger Stadium. Game 3 goes to Atlanta for Sunday (5 p.m., FS1). The Dodgers won five of seven meetings against the Braves, the franchise they eliminated from the postseason in 2013. That was also the Braves’ last playoff appearance — it doesn’t help having the Washington Nationals or New York Mets in your division when they’re healthy. Fifty bucks if you can name the Braves current manager. Time’s up. It’s Brian Snitker. He’s been there three seasons. He allows Charlie Culberson to get some swings in, so beware of past performance coming back to curse the Dodgers.
The rest of the week in MLB playoffs:
Tuesday: NL wildcard – Colorado at Chicago, 5 p.m., ESPN
Wednesday: AL wildcard — Oakland at New York, 5 p.m., TBS
Thursday: NLDS Game 1: Colorado at Milwaukee, 2 p.m., FS1
Friday: ALDS Game 1: Cleveland at Houston, 11 a.m., TBS
ALDS Game 1: New York at Boston, 4:30 p.m., TBS
NLDS Game 2: Colorado at Milwaukee, 1:15 p.m., FS1
Saturday: ALDS Game 2: Cleveland at Houston, 1:30 p.m., TBS
ALDS Game 2: New York at Boston, 5:15 p.m. TBS
Sunday: NLDS Game 3: Milwaukee at Colorado, 1:30 p.m., MLB Network



1twoThe Chargers’ home game Sunday against the Raiders (StubHub Center, 1:05 p.m., Channel 2) might otherwise get overlooked on the NFL Week 5 schedule. But as a public service to the folks in Carson, many of whom probably are Raiders’ followers, there needs to give everyone a heads up. The Raiders are riding a wave of success — their first win last Sunday, in OT, against Cleveland. Coach Jon Gruden admits: “We have a long way to go. It’s fun to win, we felt that we had a couple of victories slip away, but to close out the first quarter of the season with a win. At least we got paid, at least we made something.” Meanwhile, the 4-0 Rams are more than a touchdown favorite Sunday at Seattle (1:25 p.m., Channel 11). Through the first four wins, Jared Goff has completed 72.4 percent of his passes for 1,406 yards, 11 TDs and just two picks. He’s second in the league with a 127.3 passer rating.
Also in NFL Week 5:
Thursday: Indianapolis at New England, 5:20 p.m., Channel 11, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
Sunday: Green Bay at Detroit, 10 a.m., Channel 7
Dallas at Houston, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4


1threeSince you asked, yes, the NHL’s 2018-19 season does in fact begin. The Ducks get first crack at leading the Pacific Division with a game at San Jose on Tuesday (7:30 p.m., NBCSN), which comes after the defending champion Washington Caps raise their title banner (sorry, Vegas) at home (4:30 p.m., NBCSN). The Sharks are also the opening night foe for the Kings (Staples Center, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports West).
Also this week for the Ducks:
At Arizona, Saturday at 6 p.m., Prime Ticket
Also this week for the Kings:
At Staples Center vs. Detroit, Sunday at 7:30 p.m., FSW


1fourAt some point, UCLA will pick up its first college football victory of the season. Just don’t count on it happening in Week 6, when the play host to No. 10 Washington at the Rose Bowl (Saturday, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11). USC has a bye week.
The best of the rest in Week 6:
Alabama at Arkansas, 9 a.m., ESPN
Texas vs. Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, 9 a.m., Channel 11
Maryland at Michigan, 9 a.m., Channel 7
Clemson at Wake Forest, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
LSU at Florida, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
Florida State at Miami, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Indiana at Ohio State, 1 p.m., Channel 11
Arizona State at Colorado, 1 p.m., Pac 12 Net
Kentucky at Texas A&M, 4 p.m., ESPN
Vanderbilt at Georgia, 4:30 p.m., SEC Network
Nebraska at Wisconsin, 4:30 p.m., Big Ten Net
Notre Dame at Virginia Tech, 5 p.m., Channel 7
Cal at Arizona, 7 p.m., FS1
Utah at Stanford, 7:30 p.m., ESPN


1fiveBecause we all know more practice is needed the Clippers have agreed to meet up with the Lakers in Anaheim for a game on Saturday at the Honda Center (7 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet, Prime Ticket).
Also this week for the Lakers:
At Staples Center, Tuesday vs. Denver, 7:30 p.m., TNT and Spectrum SportsNet
At Staples Center, Thursday vs. Sacramento, 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
Also this week for the Clippers:
At Staples Center, Wednesday vs. Minnesota, 7:30 p.m. Prime Ticket


static1.squarespace.comAlso: UFC 229: Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagoinedov. As McGregor, the 30-year-old from Dublin who hasn’t been in the octogan in almost two years, cashes in in a new six-fight UFC deal, including the matchup with Nurmagomedov, this should make everyone a lot of pocket change as the organization says this world lightweight championship is trending toward 2.5 million buys. That would crush the previous record of 1.6 million when McGregor had a rematch against Nate Diaz at UFC 202.

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

1oneMagic numbers. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t win an MLB division title without ‘em, apparently. One lousy week left on the regular-season schedule to rack up personal launch-angle related stats. The Dodgers have only to tackle what is in front of them: Three in Arizona, three in San Francisco. So there is only an outside chance of clinching NL West with a pool party at Chase Field, where the teams play Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday nights (all 6:40 p.m., SportsNet LA). It would take a Dodgers sweep and the Rockies to lose three in a row. That will mean the games in San Francisco on Friday (7:15 p.m.), Saturday (1:05 p.m.) and Sunday (12:05 p.m.) could be more than an mere exercise. You really want to cut it that close?
Also this final week for the Angels, all at home:
At Angel Stadium vs. Texas, Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday at 7:07 p.m., Fox Sports West
At Angel Stadium vs. Oakland, Friday at 7:07 p.m. (Oktoberfest Beer Festival), Saturday at 6:07 p.m. (Mike Scioscia bobblehead on what could be his final homestand as a manager), Sunday at 12:07 p.m., all on Fox Sports West


1twoNFL Week 4: The not-so-great part of all this is that the Rams have the short week that includes flying. Their game at the Coliseum against Minnesota (Thursday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 11, NFL Net, Amazon Prime Video) might be something highly anticipated for fans trying to measure their team’s value, but some of the luster may have faded considering the Vikings suffered a rare home loss to Buffalo last Sunday, and now have to make the L.A. trip.
Meanwhile, the Chargers stay in StubHub Center in Carson to host San Francisco (Sunday at 1:25 p.m., Channel 2)
Also finishing Week 3:
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay, Monday at 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Also in Week 4:
Baltimore at Pittsburgh, Sunday, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
Cleveland at Raiders, Sunday, 1:05 p.m.
N.Y. Jets at Jacksonville, Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 11


1threeLeBron James may have been on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter last week, but from here on, it’ll likely just be ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated – or the New York Times, trying to spoil L.A.’s buzz. His Lakers’ career becomes more official with training camp opening Tuesday (a day after Monday’s media barrage in El Segundo). The exhibition opener is at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego against Denver (Sunday, 6:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet and ESPN). FYI: Courtside seats in this 16,100-seat arena formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena in Point Loma are already priced at $305.
The Clippers, mindful that Jimmy Butler may come over sooner or later to share a popsicle, start with a media day Monday in Marina del Rey then head to Hawaii to start camp Tuesday, with the first exhibition game on Sunday against someone called the Australian Sydney Kings (not the Sacramento Kings) featuring Andrew Bogut (Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, 6:30 p.m., Prime Ticket)


1fourNo sooner is the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta finished than the U.S. sends a sizzling-hot Tiger Woods to go with Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Tony Finau, Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson and Brooks Koepka, meeting up with Jordan Spieth at the Albatros Course of Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines near Paris for the Ryder Cup. Woods and Mickelson were two of the captain’s picks for Jim Furyk. The European Team also had Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari playing in Atlanta before jetting across to France. Each of the first two days includes one four-match session of four-ball and one four-match session of foursomes. The final day is reserved for 12 singles matches. The TV coverage:
Day 1: Thursday: 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. Friday, Golf Channel (replayed from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Golf Channel)
Day 2: Friday: 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Golf Channel; Saturday: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Channel 4 (replayed from 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Golf Channel)
Day 3: Sunday: 3 a.m. to 10 a.m., Channel 4 (replayed from 5-9 p.m. Sunday, Golf Channel


1fiveCollege football Week 5: With UCLA students back in school on the quarter system, this is the time in every season we usually target as the time glorious September starts begin to meet the reality of the extra classload of work. Which is usually the time to predict the Bruins’ first loss of the season. Except that’s already happened. Three times. The Bruins’ trip to Colorado on a Friday night doesn’t make this any easier (6 p.m., FS1). USC, meanwhile, has a trip to Arizona to face the slumbering Wildcats (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2)
Also in Week 5:
Thursday: North Carolina at Miami, 5 p.m., ESPN
Friday: Memphis at Tulane, 5 p.m., ESPN2
Stanford at Notre Dame, 4:30 p.m., Channel 4
Ohio State at Penn State, 4:30 p.m., Channel 7
Mississippi at LSU, 6 p.m., ESPN
Baylor at Oklahoma, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Arkansas at Texas A&M, 9 a.m., ESPN
Syracuse at Clemson, 9 a.m., Channel 7
West Virginia at Texas Tech, 9 a.m., ESPN2
Texas at Kansas State, 12:30 p.m., FS1
Tennessee at Georgia, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
BYU at Washington, 5:30 p.m., Channel 11
Oregon at Cal, 7:30 p.m., FS1
Oregon State at Arizona State, 7 p.m., Pac 12 Net
Utah at Washington State, 3 p.m., Pac 12 Net
Louisiana at Alabama, 9 a.m., SEC Network

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

1oneSomeday soon, we don’t know when, we’re going to get to that place where we’re told the Rams and Chargers will walk into a fabulous Inglewood multi-purpose facility, across the street from the once-called Fabulous Forum, on the site of one of the more fabulous race tracks that Southern California ever had. It’s 2020? Sure… But til then, we’ll trample out to the Coliseum for Week 3 of the NFL season – Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Channel 2 — for a meet-and-greet. They still could be destined to win the NFC West and AFC West, respectfully, and until then, they respectfully must play their best at this moment in time and rile up the Los Angeles NFL marketplace.
Other games worth watching this week:
Monday: Seattle at Chicago, 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Thursday: N.Y. Jets at Cleveland, 5:20 p.m., NFL Network
Sunday: San Francisco at Kansas City, 10 a.m., Channel 11; Dallas at Seattle, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11; New England at Detroit, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4


1twoThe Dodgers’ three game series at home against Colorado has several layers of importance with two weeks left in the season and the Dodgers starting their final homestand. Before you get to amped up after that weekend in St. Louis, maybe the team finally realized: They lead the league in runs and ERA, and no team that has been first in run differential and missed the playoffs in 28 years. The rest depends on how they score with runners in scoring position and with two out – they’re among the worst in that department in the last 45 years according to research by Jared Diamond at the Wall Street Journal.
How the pitching matchups work:
Monday at 7 p.m.: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Jon Gray, SportsNet LA
Tuesday at 7 p.m.: Clayton Kershaw vs. Kyle Freeland, SportsNet LA
Wednesday at 7 p.m.: Walker Buehler vs. Tyler Anderson, ESPN and SportsNet LA
Also this week for the Dodgers (all on SNLA)
At Dodger Stadium vs. San Diego:
Friday at 7:10 p.m., (Digital Bobblehead Night) The homestand will be highlighted by Jaime Jarrín Night on Friday, Sept. 21, where the Hall of Fame broadcaster will become just the 12th Dodger to be inducted into the team’s Ring of Hono
Saturday at 6:10 p.m. (Manny Machado real bobblehead night)
Sunday at 1:10 p.m. (final home regular-season game, fan appreciation day, Orel Hershiser real bobblehead day).
Also this week for the Angels:
At Oakland: Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:05 p.m., Thursday at 12:35 p.m., FSW
At Houston: Friday at 5:10 p.m., Saturday at 4:10 p.m., Sunday at 11:10 a.m., FSW


1threeBefore the Rams-Chargers have their Coliseum summit, USC will try to see how many fans it can pretend to can fit into the place on a Friday night at 7:30 p.m. just so ESPN has some programing of a Pac-12 Conference game. The opponent: Washington State. The underlying cause: Get to 1-1 in the conference standings.
UCLA, by the way, is off this week to figure out a way to make 0-3 look cool to future recruits.
The best of the rest in Week 4:
Friday: Florida Atlantic at Central Florida, 4 p.m., ESPN; Penn State at Illinois, 6 p.m., FS1
Saturday: Notre Dame at Wake Forest, 9 a.m., Channel 7; Nebraska at Michigan, 9 a.m., FS1; Louisville at Virginia, 9:30 a.m., ACC Network; Texas A&M at Alabama, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2;  Clemson at Georgia Tech, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7; Texas Christian at Texas, 1:30 p.m., Channel 11; Stanford at Oregon, 5 p.m., Channel 7; Arizona State at Washington, 7:30 p.m., ESPN


1fourWho isn’t ready for some NHL exhibition matchups? The Kings set the blades in motion with a couple of split-squad contests at Staples Center against Arizona (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.) and at Las Vegas (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.). The Ducks are also in play, including a televised game at home against San Jose (Thursday, 7 p.m. Prime Ticket) to go with games at San Jose (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.) and at Arizona (Saturday, 6 p.m.)


1fiveOnly the top 30 money winners make the field for The PGA Tour Championship  at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Thursday-Sunday, to finally close the season and determine this FedEx Cup thing. Bryson DeChambeau goes in with the most advantageous path to win in his first Tour Championship appearance. Dustin Johnson is in the No. 4 spot in a field that includes — against all odds — Tiger Woods, who missed the cut at Riviera back last February but still rallied to have a very respectable season. Also here: Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson, Patrick Cantlay and Rickie Fowler. Not here: Jordan  Spieth — he finished 31st and did not play in the required 25 events this season. He still made $3 million this season. Jeez. Golf Channel has the first two rounds starting at 10 a.m. Thursday and Friday. Channel 4 has the third round Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and the final round Sunday at 10:30 a.m.