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MORNING BRIEFING

Text messages from press row...

November 20, 2008|JERRY CROWE

USC fans and players weary of ringing in the new year in Pasadena but still hoping to land in a major bowl game just might get their wish. . . .

In a scenario with seemingly little downside for Mark Sanchez & Co., the Trojans might even be inclined to quietly root for Oregon State to win its final two games, thus landing the Beavers in the Rose Bowl. . . .

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, November 22, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 23 words Type of Material: Correction
Liechtenstein: Jerry Crowe's Text Messages from Press Row column in Thursday's Sports section, in an item on USC football, misspelled Liechtenstein as Lichtenstein.

That way, if the Trojans win out against Notre Dame and UCLA, they still would earn a share of their seventh consecutive Pacific 10 Conference championship and probably would wind up in a Bowl Championship Series game -- perhaps even in New Orleans, where USC has not played since 1946. . . .

Not bad for a consolation prize. . . .

Noting that USC's BCS title hopes have been derailed repeatedly by head-scratching losses to heavy underdogs, reader Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., e-mails to say, "If Pete Carroll were president during the Cold War, I wouldn't have worried about the Soviet Union -- I'd have worried about Lichtenstein." . . .

The Lichtenstein Beavers? . . .

Didn't Shaquille O'Neal, who is hinting that he might like to return to the Lakers after next season, say he was going to retire in 2010? . . .

UCLA's Darren Collison probably felt better after seeing that Derek Fisher and the Lakers also had a hard time containing Derrick Rose. . . .

The Chicago Bulls rookie from Memphis is the real deal. . . .

In a battle of one-win teams Wednesday night, Baron Davis and the Clippers were favored by one point over the Oklahoma City Thunder. . . .

Channel 5 was so excited it showed the game on tape delay. . . .

If Kurt Warner is the NFL's most valuable player this season, a possibility considering he has the Arizona Cardinals poised to win their first division title in 33 years, he would join Brett Favre as the award's only three-time winners. . . .

Warner, whose resurgence has kept Matt Leinart chained to the sideline, would be the first to win the award for more than one team. . . .

Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox is the eighth major league MVP from a Pac-10 school and the third from Arizona State, a list that includes former Sun Devils Reggie Jackson and seven-time winner Barry Bonds. . . .

The others: Jeff Kent and Jackie Jensen from California, Ryne Sandberg from Washington State, Fred Lynn from USC and Jackie Robinson from UCLA. . . .

Pedroia's best friend is Andre Ethier of the Dodgers, whose memories of Manny Ramirez from last season probably are sunnier than Pedroia's. . . .

Albert Pujols, the National League MVP who carried the St. Louis Cardinals to a fourth-place finish in their division, said two years ago, "Someone who doesn't take his team to the playoffs doesn't deserve to win the MVP." . . .

The Dodgers' Ramirez, a distant fourth in the National League MVP voting, helped two teams reach the playoffs this year. . . .

The breadth and depth of the memorabilia collection stockpiled by businessman Gary Cypres for his new Sports Museum of Los Angeles near downtown is nothing short of staggering. . . .

Pete Newell, a reluctant child actor long before he was a Hall of Fame coach, appeared in several "Our Gang" movie comedies and was seriously considered for a star-making role opposite Charlie Chaplin in "The Kid" in 1920. . . .

To Newell's great relief, Jackie Coogan got the part. . . .

Allan Malamud would have turned 67 on Wednesday. . . .

He died Sept. 16, 1996. . . .

The Herald Examiner, by the way, printed its last issue Nov. 2, 1989. ...

While President-elect Barack Obama stumps for an eight-team playoff in major college football, his old school, Occidental, opens play in the 32-team NCAA Division III playoffs Saturday against Willamette at Salem, Ore. . . .

A cheer heard Saturday at Oxy, where the Tigers wrapped up their third unbeaten regular season in four years with a homecoming rout of Whittier: "We've got Barack/You've got Dick/Oxy, Oxy, Oxy/Block that kick!" . . .

The references, of course, were to Obama and former President Richard M. Nixon, Whittier College Class of 1934. . . .

And Whittier calls itself the Poets?

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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