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Text messages from press row...

August 27, 2008|JERRY CROWE

UCLA might have waited until Rick Neuheisel had coached at least one game before proclaiming, "The football monopoly in Los Angeles is officially over." . . .

Talk about putting the cart before the (Trojan) horse. . . .

Speaking of Neuheisel, the charismatic coach seems to have a little of the homily-loving Jim Harrick in him, such as when he tells Bill Macdonald of Fox that attracting talent is his top priority: "It's not about the Xs and O's, it's about the Jimmys and Joes." . . .

The last time Pete Carroll and USC opened a season on the East Coast, the Trojans scored a 24-13 victory over Virginia Tech four years ago at Landover, Md., and went on to win their only Bowl Championship Series title. . . .

Have the Olympics ended yet for West Coast viewers? . . .

Accepting an honorary doctorate Monday at his alma mater, Phil Jackson asked North Dakota to "do the right thing" and reconsider its Fighting Sioux nickname, noting, "I think . . . we can make this change gracefully." . . .

He made no mention of his own Big Chief Triangle nickname, foisted upon him by former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy. . . .

Now, he's Dr. Phil. . . .

Speaking of nicknames, he is LeBronze James no more. . . .

Starting Friday at Phoenix, where ever-improving Matt Kemp and the Dodgers open a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, much of the last four weeks of the season will be devoted to intra-division play, which is not necessarily a good thing for the mediocre-against-everyone Dodgers. . . .

The Dodgers are 24-24 against the National League West, the division-leading Diamondbacks are 34-18 after Tuesday night's loss at San Diego. . . .

On the plus side for the Dodgers, Adam Dunn and the Diamondbacks play eight games next month against the St. Louis Cardinals, who are better than anyone in the West but out of the playoff picture as of now. . . .

Minus the fanfare, of course, Mark Teixeira has been as productive for the Angels as Manny Ramirez has been for the Dodgers, producing a higher batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage through Monday's games. . . .

Manny, though, has moved more dreadlocks gear. . . .

Reader James Doss of Agoura Hills e-mails to note that Scott Hunter, who replaced Bart Starr as the Green Bay Packers' starting quarterback, was one of two Packers sacked in the end zone by Fred Dryer of the Rams on Oct. 21, 1973, when Dryer set an NFL record by recording two safeties in the fourth quarter of a 24-7 Rams victory at the Coliseum. . . .

The other was Jim Del Gaizo. . . .

With three Olympic gold medalists in their lineup -- Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and DeLisha Milton -- shouldn't the Sparks be better than 15-12? . . .

Noting that an Atlanta woman last week was granted a restraining order against Shaquille O'Neal and that a court affidavit quotes an e-mail from the former Lakers' center as saying, "I dnt no who the [expletive] u think u dealin wit," reader Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., cracks, "There is no word on when the LSU English Department will allow him back." . . .

If Rafael Nadal fights through the fatigue and adds the U.S. Open title to a 2008 haul that already includes French Open, Wimbledon and Olympic championships, wouldn't that be at least as impressive as winning a Grand Slam? . . .

Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks, funding a program that will enable underprivileged and physically and mentally challenged children to attend minor league hockey games in Calgary, hopes to help the 2007 Stanley Cup champions expand a similar setup in Anaheim that has been up and running for three years. . . .

Before Stephanie Brown Trafton won in Beijing last week, the only U.S. woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the discus throw was USC and Los Angeles High graduate Lillian Copeland, who won in Los Angeles in 1932. . . .

Remarkably, notes reader Rick Obrand of Torrance, Copeland is only one of at least nine L.A. High alumni enshrined in various athletic halls of fame, the others being Marjorie Gestring (swimming and diving), Makoto Sakamoto (gymnastics), Jimmy Jacobs (handball and boxing), Budge Patty and Pauline Betz Addie (tennis), Cornelius Johnson (track and field), Elton Wieman (college football) and Aileen Eaton (boxing). . . .

Not a Hall of Famer but a better-than-average baseball player was L.A. High alumnus Bob Meusel, part of the New York Yankees' "Murders' Row" championship teams of the 1920s that featured Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. . . .

Also an L.A. High graduate: the late Allan Malamud.

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jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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