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INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

For Hungry L.A. Fan, It's a Sports Smorgasbord

September 07, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

If you're a sports fan in Los Angeles, last week was traumatic.

City Councilman Joel Wachs, who is not one, continued to push the initiative that threatens not only the proposed new downtown arena but the pursuit of an NFL team. Peter O'Malley went forward with the sale of the Dodgers to Rupert Murdoch.

But all of that was forgotten with the coming of the weekend, when sports in L.A. returned to where it belongs, the field.

A couple of college football games featuring four teams with proud traditions and two historic stadiums, the Rose Bowl and Coliseum. A baseball game between two of the National League's best teams in Dodger Stadium.

A combined crowd of 181,216.

There's no place I'd rather have been a sports columnist than Los Angeles on Saturday.

I mean Super Saturday, which it was unless you happened to be stuck in traffic on the 110 Freeway about 4:15 p.m. (Sorry we cut you off, tan Toyota. Yes, I know you're No. 1. Must be a Florida State fan.)

*

Who was No. 1 for Tennessee?. . . .

No, it wasn't Peyton Manning. It was linebacker Leonard Little, both in numeral and deed. . . .

He tackled UCLA quarterback Cade McNown in the end zone for a safety, hurried McNown into throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown and caused a Skip Hicks fumble that ended a fourth-quarter Bruin drive. . . .

Manning? He's beautiful to watch, no more so than on a 39-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to Marcus Nash. One yard shorter, the pass is intercepted. One yard longer, it's beyond the end zone. . . .

But even though it's hard to find fault with a quarterback who threw for 341 yards and two touchdowns, he seemed to lose his composure when it became apparent the Bruins were going to play all four quarters. . . .

He shouldn't have been surprised. UCLA came from 17 points down with 6 1/2 minutes left to beat USC in the final game last season and came from 16 points down at the half to almost beat Washington State in the first game this season. . . .

If I were Bob Toledo, I'd want to find the reason the Bruins let opponents to get so far ahead. . . .

At halftime Saturday, I was prepared to blame McNown. . . .

Then, in the second half, he played like the Heisman Trophy candidate. . . .

My Heisman front-runner this week is Randy Moss. . . .

The Marshall wide receiver had 186 receiving and 234 all-purpose yards Saturday, including a 90-yard catch and run for one of his two touchdowns. . . .

Florida State could have used him against USC. He spent the 1995 season there but couldn't play because he was on probation, then got booted out of school for violating it. . . .

The Seminoles no doubt are a good team, but they don't have as many explosive weapons as they've had in the past. . . .

I wrote the previous note a couple of minutes before wide receiver E.G. Green streaked 46 yards with the reception that set up Florida State's winning touchdown. . . .

The best catch I saw all day was Mike Piazza's of a pop foul, the Dodger catcher sliding feet-first into the fishnet behind home plate. . . .

Who did Chan Ho Park and Livan Hernandez think they were with that chest bump on the basepath, Venus Williams and Irina Spirlea? . . .

The Florida player the Dodgers would rather have seen stay in Florida was Cliff Floyd, who hit two home runs Saturday. . . .

The Florida player the Marlins would rather have seen stay in Florida was Moises Alou. Every time I looked up, he was botching a ball in right field. . . .

In his defense, the sun obviously was in his eyes on Eric Young's triple. . . .

Maybe Tennessee freshman punter David Leaverton could use that excuse for his second-half follies. . . .

Florida State's Keith Cottrell, whose blocked punt led to USC's touchdown, also is a freshman. . . .

USC's John Fox played like a sophomore starting his first game at quarterback. That was never more obvious than on his fourth-down pass late in the game that was caught six yards short of a first down. . . .

But Fox showed promise. . . .

If only USC cornerback Brian Kelly hadn't blown that easy interception at the Florida State 11. . . .

If only the officials hadn't blown the whistle on that Tennessee fumble that should have been a UCLA touchdown. . . .

If only we could do this every Saturday.

*

While wondering if Florida State and Tennessee can stay over to play each other, I was thinking: The Bruins can beat Texas if they put two halves together, the Trojans will beat Washington State, it looks as if that Eddie Murray kid up from Albuquerque has a future.

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