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Trojans don’t warrant caution

first_img But I was convinced long ago that the Trojans’ offense is as good as it looked while ringing up 45 points over the final 35 minutes in Autzen Stadium. Saying “never’ in sports is foolhardy which is why I can envision the Trojans losing a game this season. But whoever knocks them off is going to have to keep the Trojans from scoring a bunch of points (a near-impossible endeavor, barring injury to prime personnel or three or four key turnovers) or at least score a bigger bunch of points than the Trojans do. The prospects of someone doing the latter doesn’t seem as likely, based upon what USC’s defense did to a very good offense, in hostile surroundings, Saturday. More college football It resulted in at least a couple of cautionary columns, one in a Southern California newspaper and another on a national Internet Web site, but there wasn’t much about the performance of the USC football team in its 45-13 victory in Eugene, Ore., Saturday that made me think: “This team is going down, and soon!” Sure, the offense was a bit wobbly for a about a quarter and a half as the Trojans fell behind Oregon, 13-0. But the defense, the supposed potential Achilles heel in the program’s hopes for a third consecutive national title, was stifling after the 36-yard touchdown pass over the head of a relative greenhorn (John Walker) starting his first game at cornerback. I’m not convinced the defense, a shell of what it was last season (at least personnel wise), is as good as it played against a very good Ducks’ offense Saturday. center_img If someone had suggested a month ago that I was going to spend more than three hours watching the Purdue-Minnesota game Saturday, I might have answered “Hey, my life is not that sorry!” But it was thoroughly entertaining, and the Gophers look like they might duke it out with Michigan State for the right to play USC in the Rose Bowl game. Uh … on second thought … I guess we’re more apt to see the Trojans take on Texas, Virginia Tech or Florida State in the BCS title game. As you are beginning to understand, I don’t have much faith in any of USC’s next eight opponents’ chances of keeping the Trojans out of Pasadena on Jan. 4. South Florida’s 45-14 victory over then-No. 9-ranked Louisville Saturday easily qualified as the “You’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me!” score of the weekend. Mind-boggling stat of the weekend: Michigan State’s offense had 30 gains of 10 or more yards in the 61-14 victory at Illinois. H.S. gridders A year from now, if all goes to plan, he’ll be representing the 5th District on the Long Beach City Council. For the time being, though, David Radford is the newest inductee into the Millikan High Hall of Fame. Radford, the Rams’ head football coach during the 1985-90 seasons, was honored at halftime of Millikan’s eventual 30-23 loss to visiting Downey Friday night. Radford has also had coaching and teaching stops at Poly (1964-68), Long Beach State (1969-70), Jordan (1971-76) and St. Anthony (1991-95) to go along with his 13-year stint at Millikan, where he also served as Dick DeHaven’s assistant for eight years. He’s strictly a football observer now, but the soon-to-be 67-year-old (in December) isn’t inflicted with any loss of energy or ambition. He’s an associate athletic director at Hope International University in Fullerton, where he oversees a tennis program that he thinks has a chance to make a splash on the NAIA scene this season, and is now dipping his toe into the political waters. “I taught government forever, and my pulse is in the 5th District,” he said. “The people in the district know me, and I feel like I’m in a good place with my life now.” So, why not? His motto? “Common sense for the common good,” he said. It sounds logical to me. Basketball stuff The UCLA Bruins will host what promises to be one of the most tantalizing nonconference games of the 2006-07 season. On Dec. 23 of next year, the Ohio State Buckeyes expected to be led by Greg Oden will visit Pauley for the first of a two-game series that was agreed upon recently. CBS will nationally broadcast both games (the return match will be in Columbus in December of 2007). Oden is a 7-footer at Lawrence North High in Indianapolis and is projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft, assuming he’s ready to call it a college career after just one season with the Buckeyes. Ohio State is also expected to sign two other likely McDonald’s All-Americans in November in Oden’s high school teammate, 6-1 Mike Conley, and 6-4 Daequan Cook (Dayton Dunbar). “Hoops for Hope” proved to be an entertaining Sunday night of basketball at Ocean View High. Organized by Steve and Meg King of Huntington Beach, the parents of Mater Dei standout junior Taylor King, the game was played to benefit some of those displaced from their Gulf Coast homes by Hurricane Katrina. The “Black” team knocked off the “White’, 136-123, in a game in which, as is usually the case, “defense’ was defined by a few spectacular shots (most of those by 6-9 Alex Stepheson of Harvard-Westlake while playing for the Black) or steals (a few of those by Brandon Jennings of Dominguez, also on the Black squad). Chase Budinger, a 6-7 forward at La Costa Canyon High in Carlsbad who committed to Arizona on Aug. 17, had a game-high 32 points while missing on just 3-of-18 shots from the floor for the Black. Stepheson, who visited Connecticut over the weekend and is also considering North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Washington and UCLA, had 23 points on 10 field goals eight of which were dunks. Malik Story, a sophomore from Artesia, added 16 points while hitting four 3’s for the Black. Forward Matt Shaw (Fairfax) led the White with 25 points, while James Keefe of Santa Margarita (who will sign with UCLA in November), and Patrick Christopher of Dominguez (who re-confirmed his commitment to sign with Cal), added 19 and 16 points, respectively. Deon Thompson, a 6-8 center at Torrance who is considering signing with UCLA, North Carolina, Kentucky, Gonzaga or Connecticut, had seven points for the White. But he looked very polished during the four or five times the ball was actually passed to him in the low post. USC, which got a commitment from Daniel Hackett, a 6-4 junior at St. John Bosco whose father, Rudy Hackett, is now a Trojans’ assistant for Tim Floyd, last week, got another commitment from an underclassmen when Story said he plans to eventually (in November of 2007) sign with USC. The 6-5 Story and Hackett are teammates on Pat Barrett’s Southern California All-Stars team, which also includes Taylor King, Brandon Jennings and Chase Budinger, among others. Ken Story, the father of the Artesia sophomore, said Sunday night that neither he nor his son has been questioned by anyone from the ABC Unified School District concerning its investigation into possible CIF rules violations by the school’s basketball program. Ken Story also said that Artesia coach and athletic director Scott Pera, placed on administrative leave by the school district during the investigation, hasn’t been allowed to speak to his players or the players’ parents since classes started several weeks ago. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more