Santa Claus at what could be the Raiders’ former home in Oakland, being that they are one of the three teams looking to relocate to SoCal. Photo courtesy of espn.go.com
WHAT OUR SOCAL TEAMS HOPE TO FIND IN THEIR STOCKINGS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
You didn’t think I’d let this Christmas and holiday season go by without writing and posting something on this site, did you?
Let’s just get right down to it – what I reckon our teams would like to find under the tree and/or in their stocking as the commemoration and celebration of our Lord and Savior’s birth commences in just under 36 hours…
Lakers: A win over the Clippers on Christmas Day (this Friday) in front of a national TV audience, which would honestly be an upset; I dare anyone, even Laker fans, to say otherwise.
As well as topping the 21 wins they earned last year.
Clippers: More consistent play in general as their 16-13 record reflects their underachieving performance so far this year.
They certainly have the players to challenge the Oklahoma City Thunder, the San Antonio Spurs, and particularly the (still!) one-loss Golden State Warriors in the West, but it hasn’t been happening.
Why? I honestly have no idea!
Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul, who will be playing each other for the first time this season on Christmas Day – this Friday! Photo courtesy of basket.canalblog.com
Kings: An end to their current slide which has seen them lose four of their past five contests, even though they have already won 20 games and remain in first place in the Pacific Division.
Ducks: An end to whatever’s wrong with them as to say this has not been a good season in Anaheim’s Honda Center would be an understatement.
Last place in the Pacific, with the second fewest points in the entire NHL? Yeah, I’d say that things are pretty poor.
Dodgers: This is an easy one – a quality right-handed pitcher in the starting rotation!
What with this team losing Zack Greinke to free agency – and a division rival to boot – and failing to sign any of the other top right-handed starters out there like Johnny Cueto (who’s gone to the Giants!), these Dodgers have been the big losers this offseason.
Which will continue to be so unless things change and fast!
Angels: Another easy one – a good-hitting left fielder who can protect Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the batting order!
With all due respect, Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry, who are slated to platoon in left this coming season, strike fear in absolutely no one; I really don’t see them doing a good job in protecting the best player in baseball, who will be playing to their left in Angel Stadium’s outfield.
The worst thing about all of this is, owner Arte Moreno seems completely satisfied.
UCLA: As far as football, that’s relatively straight forward; the strength to overcome their loss to USC and the lack of depth in the interior on both sides of the ball to redeem themselves against Nebraska in the upcoming Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara this coming Saturday.
As for basketball, that’s also a simple one; more consistent play to be able to legitimately contend in the Pac-12 Conference, which starts on New Year’s Day when they play Washington in Seattle.
Because right now these Bruin hoopsters are the epitome of an up-and-down team, beating then top-ranked Kentucky but then just getting by teams like Louisiana-Lafayette and McNeese State and losing to North Carolina and especially Monmouth.
USC: For Trojan football, the ability to keep the momentum that essentially began when Clay Helton was named interim coach, the losses to Notre Dame and Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship game notwithstanding.
That win over UCLA was a huge boost to that program, which they hope to capitalize on during the upcoming Holiday Bowl in San Diego on December 30th, where they will face Wisconsin, Signing Day in February and beyond.
As for Trojan basketball, that’s an easy one: to contend in the Pac-12 Conference if not win it.
Note the message on the right – it’s what we need more than ever. Photo courtesy of finehomesandliving.com
SC’s 10-2 record – their best start in 13 seasons – is commendable, but I’m honestly not that impressed or convinced as of yet because of the quality of opponents they have played.
Beating teams like Yale, Idaho, Cal Poly, and most likely 3-7 Lafayette tonight, will induce that opinion.
If they can beat Pac-12 squads UCLA and Arizona and Utah – who are actually ranked as the Wildcats are currently 8th in the AP poll, with the Utes at #22 and the Bruins right on the cusp at (technically) 26th – then I’ll be happy to say those Trojans are legit.
Until then, well..
There is one more thing that I reckon Los Angeles and Southern California fans hope to find in their stocking:
24 NFL owners – 75% of that ownership – voting “YES” to approving a team moving to L.A., whether it be the Chargers, Rams, or Raiders, thus ending a twenty-year drought of pro football in this area.
I suppose there’s nothing more to say except…
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM SOCAL SPORTS ANNALS!
A cool lights display in Los Angeles to help everyone get into the holiday spirit. Photo courtesy of aroundme.com