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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

For Pete's Sake, Don't Paint Town Cardinal

September 20, 2003|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

It's a bye week, so what does Pete Carroll have to worry about? His players staying out of trouble, for one thing.

"I'm on pins and needles right now knowing there are those big Friday nights around campus," the USC coach said at Friday's Pasadena Quarterbacks Club luncheon at Brookside Golf Course.

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Deflated: Said Carroll: "We started out with a bang against Auburn, but we didn't realize they couldn't beat Georgia Tech either."

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What it takes: After Carroll invited questions at Friday's luncheon by saying, "Everything you want to know and were afraid to ask," someone asked if USC will win the national championship.

"If win 'em all, we will," Carroll said.

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Not off the record: Another question of Carroll: What NCAA changes would you like to see?

"Is the L.A. Times here?" he said. We were.*

More Carroll: About changes he'd like to see, he said, "I like the traditional bowl matchups. I'd like our goal every year to be: Win the Pacific 10 championship, go to the Rose Bowl and play the Big Ten champion.

"Then if they'd want us to keep going after that, that would be OK too."

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Trivia time: What was unusual about UCLA's defensive line when the Bruins went to the 1966 Rose Bowl and upset No. 1-ranked Michigan State, 14-12?

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Telling it like it is: Even though the St. Louis Cardinals could help the Chicago Cubs in their quest for a playoff spot by beating first-place Houston, Cub pitcher Mark Prior said he couldn't root for the Cardinals.

"I just can't," he told Peter Brown on Sporting News Radio on Friday. "I dislike the Cardinals so much that I will not root for them. I actually hope that Houston beats their brains in."

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High talkers: According to Jay Leno, 250 people recently shelled out $5,000 apiece to see Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, and one was Mike Tyson.

"Michael Jackson and Mike Tyson together," Leno said. "Imagine those two talking? How high were those voices? Only dogs could hear them."

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Looking back: Today marks the 30th anniversary of Billie Jean King's victory over Bobby Riggs. The match will be shown on the Tennis Channel today at 5 p.m., followed by a special edition of "Center Court With Chris Myers."

Myers asks King if it seems like 30 years since the match. "No, it doesn't," King says, "except when I look in the mirror."

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Trivia answer: As the nickname "gutty little Bruins" indicated, the line was small. The starters were John Richardson, 225 pounds, Steve Butler, 220, and 200-pound defensive tackles Al Claman and Terry Donahue.

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And finally: That 1965 UCLA team is holding a reunion today at the home of former receiver Kurt Altenberg. So will they be watching the UCLA-Oklahoma game? Former tight end Byron Nelson said: "We have some old tapes of our games to watch if that game gets out of hand."

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Larry Stewart can be reached at larry.stewart@latimes.com

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