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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. . . .

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." . . .

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.

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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