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The Inside Track | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Bruin Fans Need to Root for Some Past Opponents

November 24, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

Want to see UCLA play for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl?

Even with the Bruins idle, you have a rooting interest in at least three games this week.

Texas A&M at Texas Friday: Root for the Longhorns. The Bruins' victory over them in the opening game this season would seem more impressive and a Kansas State victory over the Aggies in the Dec. 5 Big 12 championship game would seem less so.

Miami at Syracuse Saturday. Root for the Hurricanes. If they continue to advance in the polls, UCLA's strength of schedule advantage over Kansas State is further enhanced because the Bruins still must play at Miami Dec. 5.

Notre Dame at USC Saturday. Perhaps hardest of all for Bruin fans, root for the Trojans. The better they look, the better UCLA's victory over them looks.

Of course, none of this means a thing if UCLA loses at Miami and has to play Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, which has been demoted this year from the granddaddy of them all to, like, a favorite uncle.

*

I swear I didn't mean to offend the Kings when I poked fun at their offer of free math lessons at Saturday's game against Chicago. . . .

That, without question, is a worthwhile endeavor for an organization that does so much for the community, including recent donations of $1 million to Inner-City Arts and $1 million to the Disney Concert Hall. . . .

It's just that I thought it was funny that the Kings were trying to entice kids to a game with math lessons. . . .

Either kids have changed since I was a student or math has. . . .

The Kings are a little touchy these days. But at least they didn't send Matt Johnson after me. . . .

He's no coward. So it was sort of surprising to witness him lowering the boom from behind on the Rangers' Jeff Beukeboom. . . .

Perhaps a 12-game suspension will teach Johnson a lesson. Next time, punch him in the mouth. . . .

That's what Bob Gibson would tell him if he'd been hired to advise on disciplinary matters by the NHL instead of the American League. . . .

As a pitcher, Gibson's idea of discipline was a fastball high and inside. . . .

When it comes to class, there's no question that Jerry Rice has more than Michael Irvin. . . .

But did you notice that Irvin didn't complain about his limited role in the offense a couple of weeks ago, saying the important thing was that the Cowboys won, while Rice threatened retirement because the 49ers didn't throw to him much in their victory Sunday over New Orleans? . . .

Terrell Davis' rushing yardage through 11 games is 1,492, which, as the Associated Press pointed out, is the year Columbus arrived in America. . . .

Davis is chasing Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record of 2,105, the year the NFL is expected to return to Los Angeles. . . .

You can see a model of the New Coliseum next Tuesday night at the Downtown Holiday Spectacular at Seventh Market Place, after the 13th annual Christmas lighting festivities. . . .

For a $100 admission fee (free to children under 12) to the charity event presented by the L.A. Sports & Entertainment Commission and sponsored by TrizecHahn, you can test your skills in baseball, basketball, football, golf and hockey. . . .

Dodger President Bob Graziano is trying to line up a pitcher so that you can compare fastballs. For me, please send Charlie Hough. . . .

UCLA's basketball team gets most of the attention, but no one should ignore USC. With one of the deepest teams in the Pacific 10, Henry Bibby could have the Trojans in the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years. . . .

The Trojans' power forward, 6-foot-9, 240-pound Brian Scalabrine, is no plodder. He runs a 5:08 mile. . . .

That quote from the Duke of Wellington about the battle of Waterloo being won on the playing fields of Eton? You might be able to say the same thing about Sunday's Early Times Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park. . . .

Trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who has Crowd Pleaser in the race, went to Eton. . . .

Legendary trainer Charlie Whittingham has been released from a Pasadena hospital after a bout with pneumonia. . . .

XTRA 1150 didn't do sports fans a favor by firing Joe McDonnell. . . .

Virtually all of the radio sports talk-show hosts from here to San Diego are glib, but the Big Nasty is one of the few who also is a reporter. He has as many sources with as many teams as any sports journalist in Southern California. . . .

And we thought USC football fans were impatient. . . .

Oklahoma is seeking its fourth football coach since 1994. . . .

Although a University of Oklahoma president is alleged to have once said he would like to build a university that the football team could be proud of, I've never believed it. . . .

I believe that he, as as academician, said he would like to build a university of which the football team could be proud.

*

While wondering no more if the Vikings are for real, I was thinking: Minnesota in the Super Bowl, Jesse "The Body" Ventura in the governor's box, Cher singing the national anthem--is America great or what?

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