Letters to Sports: So long USC and the College Football Playoff

What a gutsy performance by Caleb Williams, but USC goes down again against a tough physical Utah football team. Williams proved he is a strong Heisman Trophy contender because without him healthy USC is just an average, poor-tackling team with a porous defense.

All season long Williams kept USC in games by extending play after play but not this time. Until coach Lincoln Riley can find a way to shore up the defense, USC won’t be a CFP contender. The silver lining — we won’t have to watch Georgia put up 60 against the Trojans!

Michael Rubino
San Pedro


Like innumerable gamblers before him, USC coach Lincoln Riley crapped out in Vegas. In the words of Kenny Rogers, you gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. Riley’s hubris, leading to his ill-fated decision on fourth and eight from the Utah 38-yard line early in the second quarter, completely changed the game’s momentum. After that failed fourth-down play, a 14-point lead and the Trojans’ CFP hopes quickly evaporated. Welcome to the Cotton Bowl, against the likes of Tulane or UCF, Trojan fans!

Mark S. Roth
Los Angeles


USC fell apart during the Pac-12 game (Friday) night. I don’t like the transfer portal and the lack of competition for players. Tackling was an embarrassment to watch. What was most appalling was seeing Caleb Williams sit on the bench after the game and not go up to the other team’s players and coaches. I know he was hurt, but what a poor sport. No class.

Drew Carson
Newport Beach


As one who lived in Oklahoma for a short time, I am certain OU fans got a great deal of satisfaction from the Utah win over USC. At an early age I was taught that “a man’s word is his bond.” You make a commitment and stick to it regardless. Lincoln Riley, Caleb Williams and other Sooners teammates made commitments to OU and then broke those commitments like mercenaries. Yes, the world is different today, and the college portal is just an example of how far loyalty has disappeared from our society.

Dave Snyder
Grand Terrace


Bill Plaschke, strike the pose: The one with egg on your face regarding your columns on SC and the College Football Playoff and Caleb Williams and the Heisman Trophy.

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Russell Morgan

Rivalry fallout

Last Saturday’s game clearly was an important steppingstone for Caleb Williams and his dream of winning the Heisman. That said, I hope he gave the game ball to Austin Jones, who rushed for more than 150 yards. After all, it was his gutsy runs that helped set up three of Williams’ four touchdowns.

Denny Freidenrich
Laguna Beach


I don’t think Bill Plaschke understands what the Heisman Trophy represents. He wants to present the trophy to a player who Plaschke recently wrote isn’t even the best college quarterback in L.A.

Brad Nelson


USC’s “Caleb the Magnificent” commands the stage and performs like Houdini in cleats (equal parts escape artist, illusionist and magician) as a rare five-tool quarterback who can throw, run, punt, block and, no doubt, pull a rabbit out of his helmet. For his next trick, the Heisman Trophy will reappear inside Heritage Hall.

Steve Ross
Carmel By-the-Sea


There are thousands of college-level football coaches — from the very good to the very bad — who could produce an NCAA championship team … as long as they have Caleb Williams. Coach Lincoln Riley is nothing special except for the fact that he lured Williams into following him to USC.

John Reed

The beautiful game?

A pool game with no cues and only one pocket.

A slow-motion pinball game.

A game where millions of U.S. fans watch and cheer with no understanding of what constitutes an offside penalty.

A playoff system so complicated they only bring it out once every four years.

Never mind, it’s still a beautiful game. Go USA!

Richard Dennison


I watched the match between U.S. and Iran and have come to the inescapable conclusion that soccer is the dumbest sport known to man; it must have been invented as a joke!

You have 40 or 50 men running around aimlessly chasing a beach ball, on a field the size of New Jersey with a goal net the size of a postage stamp; no wonder the game, if there is any score at all, ends predictably 1-0. In all fairness there is one good thing about the game — no commercials!

Steven Jayson
Playa Vista

End game

Congratulations to St. John Bosco for their Southern Section Division 1 win over Mater Dei. What a fitting way for Bruce Rollinson, coach of Mater Dei, to get his just deserts.

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Carol Sanchez
Laguna Niguel

Lakers lament

Well, well, well … could it be that after their stunning signature win over the Milwaukee Bucks the Big 3 (LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook) are finally showing the promise of what Lakers brass and their fans had hoped for?

AD has been a monster and playing like the superstar the Lakers “thought“ they were getting. LeBron is showing he’s still got some pep in his step. And, dare I say, Russell Westbrook has found a happy home as captain of the second unit and is in discussions for the sixth man of year.

While some fans still clamor for massive changes by trading AD and/or Westbrook, that might NOT be their most prudent move. Right now the actual “dead weight“ on the Lakers are Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn.

Maybe, just maybe … the “stars” are starting to align.

Rick Solomon
Lake Balboa


Dan Woike and all the Lakers writers discuss the possibility of trading Russell Westbrook. I look around the league and I see Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma and the rest of traded pieces and I see a 50-game (or more) winning franchise if only they were still in a Lakers uniform.

Instead of blaming Westbrook perhaps the better answer would be saying so long to the man with the title of GM, Rob Pelinka. Unless of course, it’s really LeBron calling the shots.

Fred Wallin
Westlake Village

Lakers legend

The greatest Laker of all time never scored a point, never had a rebound, assist or blocked shot in his Laker career. However, he did show up to work every day. Chick Hearn called 3,338 consecutive games and is the all-time greatest Laker.

David Pietrasanta

Daily dilemma

Enough is enough! When are we getting back our dedicated, daily sports section? What city is more deserving? The pandemic is no longer an excuse to make readers search for this section and then have to read it backwards.

Wendy Florin


The VFAB welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.


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