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JERRY CROWE

Text messages from press row . . .

January 10, 2008|JERRY CROWE

USC and Coach Pete Carroll can do us all a favor and perhaps spare us another Ohio State meltdown in the Bowl Championship Series title game by blistering the Buckeyes when the teams meet Sept. 13 at the Coliseum. . . .

Or at the Rose Bowl. . . .

USC's stadium issues still have not been resolved. . . .

USC or Ohio State has played in five of the last six BCS title games, but the teams have not faced one another since Sept. 29, 1990, when Todd Marinovich and the Trojans escaped Columbus with a 35-26 victory in a game that was called because of a thunderstorm with 2 minutes 36 seconds to play. . . .

In its last six seasons under Carroll, USC has finished No. 4, No. 1, No. 1, No. 2, No. 4 and No. 3 in the season-ending Associated Press rankings. . . .

In their most successful six-season stretch under John McKay, the Trojans finished No. 1 in 1967, No. 4 in 1968, No. 3 in 1969, No. 15 in 1970, No. 20 in 1971 and No. 1 again in 1972. . . .

The good news for UCLA football fans is that new Coach Rick Neuheisel might possess the right mix of charisma and chutzpah to challenge Carroll. . . .

The bad news is, he might be the Bruins' best quarterback. . . .

Neuheisel, in one of his first acts as coach, was spotted in a Tarzana coffee shop last Saturday sharing breakfast with John Wooden, whose teams ushered him nicely into retirement with 28 victories in his last 30 games against USC. . . .

Speaking of Wooden, he may be 97 years old but he's not the oldest fan who regularly attends Bruins basketball games in Pauley Pavilion. . . .

Season ticket-holder Fred Hofeld (section 209B, row 7) is 100. . . .

Former USC touchdown machine LenDale White was the NFL's top rusher during wild-card weekend, running for 69 yards in 19 carries in the Tennessee Titans' 17-6 loss to the San Diego Chargers. . . .

Former UCLA multipurpose threat Maurice Jones-Drew scored two touchdowns in the Jacksonville Jaguars' 31-29 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. . . .

When Channel 9's John Ireland asked Derek Fisher the other night to pinpoint the reason for the Lakers' ability to stymie sub-.500 teams this season after struggling to subdue them last season, the answer was staring him in the face. . . .

Fisher's maturity, unflappability and leadership have meant more to Phil Jackson's young Lakers than anyone could have anticipated. . . .

Noting that seven Lakers scored in double figures in Friday's 124-93 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, but none scored as many as 20, reader Ken Feldman wondered if that was a rare occurrence in an NBA game. . . .

The answer: Not really. . . .

Two nights earlier, seven New Jersey Nets scored between 10 and 18 points in a 96-95 victory over the Orlando Magic. . . .

Rich "Goose" Gossage, whose election to the Hall of Fame was announced Tuesday, put a fright into Dodgers fans when the New York Yankees reliever struck Ron Cey in the helmet with a pitch in Game 5 of the 1981 World Series. . . .

Cey's wife Fran, fearing the worst as she watched from the stands at Dodger Stadium, thought Goose had killed the Penguin. . . .

Three nights later, after a rainout, Cey went two for three with a run batted in, helping the Dodgers to a series-clinching 9-2 victory at Yankee Stadium and sharing series MVP honors with teammates Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager. . . .

West Virginia quarterback Pat White, offensive player of the game in the Mountaineers' 48-28 rout of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, was an all-state baseball player in high school and has twice been drafted by the Angels as an outfielder -- in the fourth round in 2004 and in the 27th round last year. . . .

The left-handed White, who passed and ran for 28 touchdowns during the 2007 season and was the Big East Conference offensive player of the year, has not played baseball since he was a high school senior in Daphne, Ala. . . .

It's probably going to take determination and perseverance worthy of the Hall of Fame for Roger Clemens to wriggle his way out of this jam. . . .

Nolan Ryan, a rifle-armed Texan whose legendary major league career was unclouded by rumors of drug use, is scheduled to speak in an intimate setting Jan. 23 at the Cannery of Newport in Newport Beach. . . .

Seating for the event, which benefits the USC baseball program, is priced at $500, including dinner, and is limited to 42 fans.

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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