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THE INSIDE TRACK | NOTES ON A SCORECARD / ALLAN MALAMUD

On NFL Sunday, Thoughts Turn . . . to Pennant Races

September 09, 1996|ALLAN MALAMUD

Who needs the NFL when the NL West race is sizzling? . . .

The Dodgers are in the kind of rut they wouldn't mind staying in the rest of the season. They've won each of their last four series by two games to one. . . .

I still say Todd Hollandsworth, who was replaced by pinch-hitter Chad Curtis with two on and two out in the eighth inning of what was a 1-1 tie with Pittsburgh on Sunday, deserves more opportunities against left-handed pitchers. . . .

Good eye, babe, good eye: Brett Butler, who walked only five times in 122 plate appearances before going on the disabled list, walked three times in 12 appearances over the weekend. . . .

The Dodger pitching staff's four complete games are 131 fewer than the franchise record set in 1904. . . .

They are also 10 fewer than the franchise low set in the strike-shortened 1994 season. . . .

Those who thought former UCLA football coach Terry Donahue wouldn't be critical enough as a CBS analyst, especially in games involving the Bruins, were surprised Saturday night. . . .

Donahue questioned Bob Toledo's decision to remove his first-string quarterback, Cade McNown, and tailback, Skip Hicks, when the Bruins got the ball on their 28-yard line with three minutes remaining and Tennessee leading by 15 points. . . .

Donahue pointed out that there was still enough time for UCLA to mount a comeback against the second-ranked Volunteers. . . .

Otherwise, Toledo left himself open to little criticism on opening night. . . .

His young Bruins weren't intimidated despite facing a highly favored opponent in a hostile environment, something that couldn't always be said about older Bruins in past years. . . .

Abdul McCullough, who ran back an interception of a Peyton Manning pass 51 yards for a touchdown, looks as though he's going to be the latest in a long list of great UCLA safeties. . . .

How about USC's come-from-behind victory over Illinois? The Trojans trailed, 3-0, in the first quarter before winning, 55-3. . . .

What the victory showed was that the Trojans are loaded with talent at wide receiver despite the loss of Keyshawn Johnson. . . .

Penn State's two-game streak of victories by the score of 24-7 should end next week when the opponent is Northern Illinois. . . .

Upset prediction of the week by ESPN analyst Lee Corso: Fresno State over Auburn. Result: Auburn 62, Fresno State 0. . . .

Is Wake Forest the Northwestern of 1996 or is Northwestern the Wake Forest of 1996? . . .

Whether it's Los Angeles or St. Louis, the Rams always seem to have a quarterback controversy. . . .

Not that Steve Walsh vs. Tony Banks compares to, say, Bob Waterfield vs. Norm Van Brocklin. . . .

L.A. Alumni Report: Between them, the Raiders and Rams have lost 14 of their last 16 games. . . .

Nothing like a visit by the New York Giants to Texas Stadium to get the Dallas Cowboys back on the right track. . . .

For versatility, how about Baltimore Raven quarterback Vinny Testaverde running for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers, passing for one, and throwing an interception for another? . . .

I don't know which of my predictions was worse, picking the Seattle Seahawks to win the AFC West title or the Denver Broncos to finish last. . . .

Coach Mike Shanahan is known for his offense, but it's the improved Bronco defense that is making them so formidable. . . .

*

The same ringsiders and TV viewers who yelled "Fix!" after Bruce Seldon surrendered on Saturday night won't buy a ticket to see Mike Tyson until his next fight. . . .

Evander Holyfield might not last too much longer than Seldon, but at least Holyfield will put out an effort. . . .

Forum Boxing Inc., which has never canceled a show, will celebrate its 14th anniversary tonight when Julian Jackson, the middleweight once considered one of the most devastating punchers in the sport, faces Leonardo Aguilar. . . .

"Paz," a motion picture about the life of Vinny Pazienza, is in the works and Ray Liotta would be terrific in the lead role. . . .

Every match at the U.S. Open was anticlimactic after Pete Sampras' stirring five-set, four-hour victory over Alex Correjta. . . .

Actually, every match in the U.S. Open the rest of the decade will be anticlimactic. . . .

A lot of famous athletes and just plain ordinary people whose lives were made more comfortable by Dr. Robert Kerlan will miss him dearly.

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