December 10th, 2012
With former Wisconsin Badgers head coach Bret Bielema leaving to take the open job at Arkansas, the Badgers will have a new coach guiding them to Pasadena for the 2013 Rose Bowl on January 1st. Surprisingly, Wisconsin team captains approached a man who has already won three Rose Bowls: Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez.
Alvarez retired from coaching in 2005 after winning Rose Bowls in 1994, 1999, and 2000. He won 118 games in 16 years, in the process becoming Wisconsin’s all-time winningest coach. As the Badgers’ head man, Alvarez won numerous coaching awards including AFCA Coach of the Year and Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year in 1993 after leading Wisconsin to a 10-1-1 record, a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl victory. He was also named the Big Ten Coach of the Year that season and won it again in 1998.
The Pennsylvania native played football for Bob Devaney at Nebraska from 1966 to 1968 and then began his coaching career as an assistant at Lincoln Northeast HS in Nebraska. After serving on Lou Holtz’s Notre Dame staff, Alvarez got the head coaching job in Madison inheriting one of the Big Ten’s most dismal programs. After consecutive 5-6 seasons, Alvarez led the Badgers to that Big Ten title in ‘93 and proceeded to guide Wisconsin to six seasons of at least nine wins. In his 16 years in Madison, Alvarez took the Badgers to 11 bowls games, going 8-3.
Alvarez stepped down in 2005 but remained an integral part of the program meaning there will be little distraction for the rest of the staff and the players. He will likely allow the staff to operate “business as usual” and offer input, make game-day decisions, and handle the press. There should be little problem since Bielema was on Alvarez’s staff and hand-picked as his successor.
Bielema’s teams were much like Alvarez’s – tough, stingy defenses and big, huge offensive lines that opened holes for 10 straight years of 1,000-yard rushers. Expect the same with Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball, who established the NCAA record for career touchdowns with 82 behind another massive Wisconsin offensive line. Alvarez has told his players that he would be honored to coach them, but he has also told them that he will not screw around. Alvarez has made it clear to the Badgers that he is in it to win it. With three Rose Bowl wins under his belt, don’t be surprised if Alvarez adds a fourth this year.
December 2nd, 2012
The Granddaddy of them all features a somewhat surprising Pac-12 champion, the Stanford Cardinals, against a definite surprise in Big Ten champ, Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers, by virtue of both Ohio State’s and Penn State’s bowl bans, represented the Leaders Division in the conference title game where they subsequently handed 12th-ranked Nebraska a 70-31 pounding.
After losing superstar QB Andrew Luck, OG David DeCastro, and TE Coby Fleener to the NFL, Stanford was supposed to be rebuilding while grooming a new QB. After a respectable 6-2 start under Josh Nunes, freshman Kevin Hogan stepped in against Colorado and the Cardinal have not lost since. Coach David Shaw’s squad took care of the UCLA Bruins in the Pac-12 championship game, 27-24. The game was a rematch of the regular season finale in which Stanford had a much easier time with the resurgent Bruins, beating them 35-17.
Besides Hogan, who has thrown for 973 yards and nine touchdowns, the Cardinal look to senior RB Stepfan Taylor who leads Stanford’s powerful running game with 1,442 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Tight end Zach Ertz, who caught the winning TD pass in the upset win over Oregon, leads the passing game with 66 catches for 837 yards and six scores.
What really drives Stanford, though, is defense. The Cardinal defense yields just 88 yards rushing per game and is 21st in the nation in total defense. Defensive coordinator Derek Mason’s front seven is as talented as any in the country with LB Chase Thomas leading the charge. It’s an old-school smash-mouth type defense that features several blitz and pressure packages and is as good as any in the defense-dominant SEC.
Wisconsin returns to the Rose Bowl for the third consecutive year seeking its first win. The Badgers lost to TCU, 21-19, in the 2011 game and 45-38 to Oregon this past January. Head coach Bret Bielema had to replace QB Russell Wilson to begin the season and the task was much harder than expected. Maryland transfer Danny O’Brien looked to continue the transfer-wagon but was replaced by Joel Stave after lackluster performances led to losses to Oregon State (10-7) and Nebraska (30-27). After an injury to Stave, journeyman Curt Phillips has taken over and led the Badgers to their second consecutive league title.
Stave had been efficient throwing for 1104 yards and Phillips, who was 6-for-8 in the championship game, isn’t asked to do much, but the offense revolves around RB Montee Ball, the NCAA career leader in touchdowns (82). Ball rushed for 202 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns to lead the Badgers to the Big Ten championship win over Nebraska. Wisconsin shredded the Huskers’ defense for 640 yards, 539 of them on the ground. Both Ball and RB Melvin Gordon went over 200 yards against Nebraska. Gordon led Wisconsin with 216 yards on just nine carries.
This year’s Rose Bowl should be a march down memory lane as two run-oriented offenses square off against two old-school defenses. The Badgers’ five losses were each by three points, including three of those defeats occurring in overtime. The Cardinal have also played there share of close games losing to top-ranked Notre Dame 20-13 in overtime and dropping a 17-13 defeat to Washington earlier in the season. Remember it was Stanford who held the fast-paced Oregon Ducks to just 14 points and then beat them in overtime 17-14. No question, this year’s Rose Bowl will be a hard-fought, defensive struggle with the team most successful running the football earning the win.
2013 Rose Bowl Tickets are on sale now
November 16th, 2012
2012 Bowl Projections
Texas A&M’s upset of Alabama a week ago has dramatically turned the tables on the 2012-13 bowl picture. With two weeks to go, plus a few conference championship games remaining to play, anything can happen. Nothing is guaranteed as the Tide proved last week, but here is a look at how the BCS bowl scenario may play out.
Discover BCS National Championship
Kansas State vs. Oregon
The Ducks reach the title game by virtue of three impressive season-ending wins over Stanford, rival Oregon State, and UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game. The Wildcats and their Heisman Trophy QB Collin Klein finish the season with Big 12 opponents Baylor and Texas then get a month-long break to prepare for the Ducks.
Rose Bowl presented by VIZIO
Wisconsin vs. Stanford
The Badgers get Nebraska in the Big Ten title game and get revenge for a 30-27 regular season loss. With Oregon going on to the national championship game, the Rose Bowl selects the next best Pac-12 team, the Cardinal, to represent the conference.
Discover Orange Bowl
Florida State vs. Notre Dame
FSU is clearly the best the ACC has to offer and after destroying whoever happens to back into the ACC championship from the Coastal Division will be the conference’s representative in the Orange Bowl. Notre Dame, which will make its case for a berth in the BCS title game after an unbeaten season, finishes the regular season ranked third and wishing it was 2014.
Allstate Sugar Bowl
Alabama vs. Louisville
The Tide wraps up the season with one loss and, being shut out of the title game due to the upset loss to the Aggies, wind up as the SEC choice. ‘Bama faces off against the Big East champion, Louisville. The Cardinals, under coach Charlie Strong, win out beating Rutgers in a season-ending Big East championship deciding game.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Georgia
With Kansas State heading to the national championship, the Sooners are the Big 12 choice to face off in a battle with one of the SEC’s best, Georgia. The Bulldogs struggle with the triple option in their final two games (Georgia Southern & Georgia Tech) but overpower both opponents to receive an at-large berth.
November 12th, 2012
As the 2012 college football season nears its end, talk of what teams will play in what bowl game has started. But where did the bowl games start? Here’s a brief look at the history of bowl games in college football.
The term “bowl” is taken from the earliest of all bowl games, the “granddaddy of them all,” the Rose Bowl, which is also the name of the stadium in which the game is played. In 1902, the Tournament of Roses Association sponsored the East-West football game pitting teams from opposite ends of the country in an end of season event. The first game was played by Michigan and Stanford, a game that Michigan won, 49-0. Beginning in 1916, the game was played annually and was renamed the Rose Bowl in 1923 when the newly finished Rose Bowl stadium became the host.
Other cities throughout the country began to see the promotional value of such games, promoting tourism and industry in their areas. By 1940 there were five major college bowl games: the Sugar Bowl (1935), the Orange Bowl (1935), the Sun Bowl (1935), and the Cotton Bowl Classic (1937). Traditionally, bowl games were played in warm climates such as those in Southern California, Texas, Florida, and Louisiana. When the bowls originated, commercial air travel was non-existent so enough time had to be given for fans and family to travel to the games. Therefore, when football seasons ended in late November and early December, several weeks were given for travel and bowl games were played on or near New Year’s Day.
Bowl Games Increase
Up until the 1950s, all bowl games were played on New Year’s Day. At the time, there were only eight games. By the late 1950s, some of the games began playing in late December. More games began being played in December as more bowl games came into the mix. By 1990 there were 19 different bowl games and only the major bowl games were played on New Year’s Day.
Prior to 1992, bowl games had strict agreements with conferences. For example, the Rose Bowl traditionally had the champions of the Big Ten and the Pac-10 play each other. The Sugar Bowl always had the SEC champion playing the Big 8 winner. The problem with that format was that the top-ranked teams in the country may never meet at the end of the season to determine a champion.
Bowl System Now
Traditionally, committees representing each bowl game would select the teams that would compete in their bowl game. This practice still exists however, it is a little different since the inception of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in 1998. Committees still exist but selecting teams is based upon conference affiliations with the different bowl games. Because of the bowl system and the vested economic interests related to the bowl games and also the longer regular season in Division I compared to lower divisions, there has never been a playoff system instituted to determine a national champion.
There are now 35 bowl games which begin play in mid-December and continue through early January. Teams must win six games during its regular season to be invited to play in a bowl game. The BCS system consists of five games, four “traditional” bowl games (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta) plus the national championship game. The two top-ranked teams in the final BCS poll play in the title game. Opponents for the four other games come first from the six major conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC), Notre Dame (if they qualify), and then other highly ranked teams.
Bowl Game Fun Facts
The University of Alabama has played in the most bowl games, 57, and has won 33 of those games. Nebraska holds the record for the longest consecutive streak of bowl game appearances with 35 straight from 1969 to 2005. Currently, Florida State has appeared in 30 straight bowls and will most likely make it 31 this season. Oklahoma is the only team that has appeared in all five of the BCS bowl games. The Sun Bowl, one of the original bowl games, along with the Cotton Bowl, are the only bowl games that are not televised on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ABC). CBS broadcasts the Sun Bowl while the Cotton Bowl is televised by Fox Sports Network.
October 28th, 2012
Halfway into the 2012 college football season, let’s take a look at some of the big surprises, some not-so-surprises, and biggest flops yet so far. After winning a national title and losing four players to the first round of the NFL Draft, Alabama was thought by many to have lost just a little too much to continue their dominance. At the midpoint of the season, the Tide is clearly the best team in the country with a bruising running game, solid QB play from A.J. McCarron, and the nation’s best defense.
Surprisingly, the Florida Gators are not far behind and are looking to make a run through the SEC East in order to take the Tide for the SEC title come December. Coach Will Muschamp, in just his second year, has brought the Gators back into the national title picture with a strong dose of RB Mike Gillislee and what may be the nation’s second-best defense. In a 44-11 blowout win over then No. 7-ranked South Carolina, it was the Florida defense and special teams that forced four turnovers. The Gators are already 5-0 in SEC play, with three of those wins coming on the road against ranked opponents.
Notre Dame (6-0) surely has surprised many sweeping Big Ten rivals Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue, then destroying Miami and beating a very good Stanford team in overtime. And the Irish did all of this with some pretty shaky quarterback play. The Irish still have two big tests remaining on their schedule (Oklahoma, USC), but could find themselves in the thick of the BCS championship picture at season’s end.
Maybe the two biggest surprises are Oregon State and Kansas State. Both are unbeaten, but the Beavers are coming off a disastrous 3-0 campaign a year ago. So far, they have beaten Wisconsin, hammered BYU and have destroyed three Pac-12 opponents. Kansas State, which has always been good under Bill Snyder, has just been phenomenal. Quarterback Collin Klein may be the nation’s best player and the Wildcats play great defense and just don’t make many mistakes. KSU still has some big games remaining, but they are another team that could find themselves in that BCS title picture should they win out.
On the other end of the college football stratosphere is Auburn. Just two years removed from a national championship, head coach Gene Chizik finds his Tigers sitting at 1-5 with one of the country’s worst offenses. Their QB play has been horrendous and the Tigers may have trouble winning another game this season.
Right beside Chizik is John L. Smith at Arkansas. The Hogs were ranked in the preseason Top Ten and after former coach Bobby Petrino’s bout with motorcycle mayhem cost him his job, Smith walked in ready to ride Petrino’s wave to an SEC title. Five weeks into the season, Arkansas stood at 1-4 losing to mid-major Louisiana-Monroe, then getting trounced at home by Alabama the following week. The Hogs are now 3-4 with consecutive wins over Auburn and Kentucky, neither of which is very good.
With the recent success of school’s like Michigan State and Wisconsin, and even Michigan’s 11-2 season a year ago, one would have thought that the Big Ten might rival the SEC for college football dominance. Not so. Michigan and Wisconsin each have two losses thus far and Michigan State sits at 4-4 going into the ninth week of the season. Northwestern has been a surprise, rattling off six straight wins to start the season, but from top to bottom, the conference is nowhere near the SEC or even the Big 12.
With another eight weeks to go, there is still plenty of football left. What remains to be seen is how the BCS title picture plays out and, who will move to the forefront in the race for the Heisman Trophy.
October 23rd, 2012
NCAA College Football Showdown Saturday did not disappoint as the weekend was full of quality match-ups, including a Top Ten battle in Gainesville. The No. 2-ranked Florida Gators proved they are worthy of their lofty BCS ranking clearly outplaying No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks in a 44-11 victory. The Florida defense and special teams forced four Gamecock turnovers, three of which Gator QB Jeff Driskell turned into touchdown passes. Driskell, who continues to improve, threw for four touchdowns. Both Florida and SC played outstanding defense. The Gators managed just 183 total yards, becoming the first FBS team in history to score over 40 points without gaining 200 yards of total offense.
Alabama Crimsontide, ranked No. 1 in the BCS, had little trouble with Tennessee in a 44-13 win. Tide QB A.J. McCarron threw for a career-high 306 yards and four touchdowns. The vaunted ‘Bama defense gave up just 79 yards rushing to the Vols and held Tyler Bray, the highly touted Vols’ QB, to 184 yards on 13-of-27 passing and no touchdowns.
Prior to Saturday’s lineup feast, the No. 2 Oregon Ducks traveled to Arizona State and dismantled any hopes of an upset in the first 15 minutes of play en route to a 43-21 win over the Sun Devils. ASU scored on its first play, a 28-yard pass from Taylor Kelly to Kevin Ozier, to jump out to a 7-0 lead just 49 seconds into the game. The Ducks countered with a Kenjon Barner 71-yard run and two Marcus Mariota touchdown passes to take a 22-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Barner would run for two more scores and Mariota, an 86-yard run, as the Ducks built a 43-7 halftime lead.
In somewhat of a surprise, head coach Bill Snyder’s No.4 Kansas State Wildcats went to Morgantown and made it look easy against Geno Smith and West Virginia as Wildcat QB Collin Klein accounted for seven touchdowns in a 55-14 thrashing of the No. 13 Mountaineers. Klein established himself as a legitimate Heisman favorite with a career-high 323 passing yards, completing 19-of-21 passes, three touchdowns, and added 41 yards on the ground and four scores.
No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish remained unbeaten fighting off a 14-7 halftime deficit to defeat Brigham Young, 17-14. The Irish rolled up 270 yards on the ground and George Atkinson III scored on a two-yard run early in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Running backs Theo Riddick (15 carries, 143 yards) and Cierre Wood (18-114) led the way for ND. Irish QB Tommy Rees, playing in place of the injured Everett Golson, completed six of his first seven passes, then only attempted three in the entire second half. Notre Dame’s defense limited BYU to just 66 yards on the ground.
After falling behind 12-0, No. 6 LSU scored 24 unanswered points and downed No. 18 Texas A&M, 24-19, in College Station. The Tigers started ugly but were able to gain some momentum going into the halftime break when Zach Mettenberger hit Kadron Boone with a 29-yard TD pass with 11 seconds to go to give LSU the lead for good at 14-12. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M’s dynamic freshman QB, was held to just 27 yards rushing on 17 carries and was intercepted three times. LSU RB Jeremy Hill ran for a career-high 127 yards on 18 carries and scored once.
The surprising Oregon State Beavers, ranked No. 8 in last week’s BCS poll, took care of Pac-12 opponent, Utah, 21-7. OSU forced four Utah turnovers and Beavers’ RB Storm Woods rushed for three touchdowns. Oregon State is 6-0 and off to the school’s best start in 105 years after being picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North this preseason.
Oklahoma got ready for its showdown next weekend with Notre Dame by handing Kansas a 52-7 setback. The No. 9 Sooners were hardly challenged by coach Charlie Weis’ Jayhawks. Sooner QB Landry Jones threw for three touchdowns and Penn State transfer Justin Brown returned a punt 90 yards for a TD. OU has now won three consecutive games by at least three touchdowns.
It was a record-breaking day at USC Trojans as QB Matt Barkley threw three touchdown passes in the game’s first six minutes as the Trojans, BCS No. 10, beat Colorado, 50-6. Barkley’s second TD pass, a 39-yarder to Robert Woods, broke former Trojan QB Matt Leinart’s Pac-12 career touchdown passing mark. Barkley finished the day 19-of-20 for 298 yards and six touchdowns, giving him 102 TD passes for his career.
October 17th, 2012
Seven weeks into the 2012 college football season, we finally have our first BCS rankings and, with that, it’s time to project the biggest bowl of them all…The Rose Bowl. This year’s Rose Bowl, to be played on January 1st as usual, will feature the traditional Big Ten/Pac-12 matchup. But, who will represent each conference? Sure, it may be too early to tell, but let’s take a look at the possibilities.
With Ohio State and Penn State out of the Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl pictures this year due to NCAA penalties, the Leaders Division is all Wisconsin’s. Surprisingly, both the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions are unbeaten in league play so far. Take away a poor half and a kicking debacle in week two and PSU might be unbeaten on the season as are the Buckeyes.
The Wisconson Badgers have five league games remaining, the toughest of which may very well be against Ohio State and Penn State. Regardless, the bottom three in the Leaders Division will most likely have at least three losses. Even if Wisconsin ends up with three league losses, they will hold the edge on Purdue and Illinois, and should beat Indiana in week 10.
Play in the Legends Division is much tougher with the Michigan Wolverines and Nebraska Cornhuskers the favorites, although Iowa is currently 2-0 in league play. Don’t forget Northwestern, which ripped off six straight wins to start the season and Michigan State, last year’s Big Ten champ. The way it pans out in the Legends Division, though, is up to the Wolverines and the Cornhuskers. Iowa must play both and also must face Penn State and Northwestern. That doesn’t make it easy for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Michigan and Nebraska play each other in two weeks, but the ‘Huskers have Northwestern, a team they lost to last year, Michigan State, Penn State, and Iowa. Michigan will face pretty much the same road to a division title and cap off the season with the year-end rivalry game at Ohio State.
Look for superior defense and the play of Denard Robinson to propel the Wolverines to the Legends Division championship and look for them to face Wisconsin for the Big Ten title.
The interesting thing with the Pac-12 is the Oregon Ducks. Currently the BCS No. 3 team, Coach Chip Kelly’s squad is projected to be playing in the national championship game and if current No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida win out, they will play each other in the SEC championship game. The loser is likely out of the BCS title game which would pave the way for…the Oregon Ducks, should they too win out.
Oregon still has USC and Stanford remaining on the schedule along with a Thursday night trip to Tempe, AZ, to take on a rejuvenated Arizona State team that is currently 5-1. And don’t forget the Civil War. Oregon must play in-state rival Oregon State, ranked eighth in the BCS, in Corvallis on Thanksgiving weekend.
Should Oregon head to the BCS title game, that leaves USC Trojans, Stanford Cardinals, and Oregon State. Todd Graham’s Sun Devils just won’t cut it this year as they head down the stretch. Of the three remaining teams, the Trojans will have the easiest road as their test will come Nov. 3rd when they face the Ducks. Even if USC loses to Oregon, which will be looking for payback for last year’s 38-35 loss, a two-loss Trojan team wins the South Division and the right to play in the Pac-12 championship. With Oregon winning the North, it’s either the Ducks going to the BCS title game or to the Rose Bowl. If Oregon plays for all the marbles, then USC steps in and represents the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl.
Rose Bowl Projection
Look for the teams with the easiest routes to get to Pasadena and for the Ducks to be playing for a national title… Wisconsin vs. USC
October 13th, 2012
Did your team make it to the 2013 Rose Bowl?
Here is a list of touristy things to do in Los Angeles and I threw in some local suggestions on good places to eat. Given that you will be coming to LA during the holidays, check the schedules because a lot of places are closed on Christmas and New Years. Most museums are closed on Mondays.
We have grouped things to do by location since LA is very spread out, its best to do one location/area at a time. We have also provided you with info for the Amusement Parks in LA and a few museums.
If you are a sports lover you can also see we stock all Clippers, Lakers and Kings Games.
Clippers Vs Utah Jazz Dec 30th
Lakers Vs Portland Trail Blazers Dec 28th
Beach Day: Santa Monica/Venice
Santa Monica Pier
- 3rd Street in Santa Monica is a great outdoor walking street with stores/restaurants
- Santa Monica Place is a newly opened mall in Santa Monica that has some nice restaurants on the rooftop
o La Sandia (Mexican Food) is great http://www.richardsandoval.com/lasandiasm/index.php
o Sonoma Wine Garden
- Great place to walk around
- Great tourist location. Lots of street performers, venders to buy souveniers from LA
- Sidewalk Café is a great place have lunch and people watch
Venice Canals – something to see and walk
Venice Shopping (Abbot Kinney)
- shopping, art galleries, good restaurants – good to just walk around
- Starline Tours
o Tour through LA and shows you celebrity homes
o In the courtyard of the Chinese Theatre is the office of STARLINE TOURS, Hollywood’s oldest coach tour company with tours to many areas of the city including tours of the stars homes.
o Tours range from approximately 2 hours to a full day
o Most tours depart at 9:00 am
- Hollywood & Highland center for shopping (can sometimes be overcrowded)
- Hollywood Walk of Fame
o Starts at Hollywood & Highland (reaching as far east as Vine Street behind you) – this is where you can see stars names in the sidewalk
- Graumann’s Chinese Theater (handprints in cement)
- Hollywood sign hike (I know you said no to hiking but for a first time visitor to LA – this is an awesome way to see LA and see the Hollywood Sign)
- Griffith Park Observatory
o FREE ADMISSION
o Place to star gaze; beautiful views of Los Angeles & Hollywood sign
o Observatory offers a planetarium, exhibits, public telescopes, cafe, bookstore, and the best views of the Los Angeles basin.
o Closed December 25; Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
o If its raining; another good option is to see a show at the Observatory – show tickets cost $7.00
Farmers Market/Beverly Hills/West Hollywood
- Original Farmers Market/The Grove
o Farmers market is an LA landmark and a great place to shop and eat
o Outdoor dining
o Check out the outdoor fountain that ‘performs’ periodically to the sounds of specially orchestrated music. Walk through the gift shops and food stalls of the Farmer’s market, next door
- Drive/walk down Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood (aka “The Strip”)
o The Strip is one of LA’s nightlife areas with restaurants, clubs, bars, traffic and lots of people-watching. Stop here for lunch at one of the many eateries or continue past Doheny Drive into Beverly Hills
- Walk around Rodeo Drive/Beverly Hills
o Great place to have lunch is Il Tramezzino in Beverly Hills (order the chicken special) http://www.iltram.net/
o Check out Sprinkles Cupcakes – there is usually a wait and they just opened Sprinkles Ice Cream
Disneyland/Disney’s California Adventure
- Disneyland is more of a theme park – with fun rides – but can be enjoyed my any age. You may want to do a park hopper as California Adventure has some more thrilling rides as well
- Great for kids
- If you choose to go to Disneyland or California Adventure, check out adjacent “Downtown Disney” for restaurants, bars and shopping
- Universal is more of a studio tour with shows and only a couple rides (Universal Orlando has a lot of rides)
- If you choose to go to Universal Studios, definitely go to Universal City Walk in the evening for dinner
*I would suggest Universal Studios over the other amusement parks because it has a combination of rides & behind the scenes Hollywood fun. Most unique to LA (and florida)
Knotts Berry Farm
- Knotts Berry Farm is an older Western Theme Park with some thrill rides, western decorations and activities
- Least expensive of all the amusement parks but also much smaller
Six Flags Magic Mountain
- Roller coaster theme park, thrill rides
- If you are coming with children, make sure they are tall enough to ride.
LACMA – modern art museum (open Jan 1)
o Biggest (and best) Art museum in LA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
o located near Original Farmers Market area close to Wilshire & Fairfax
- Getty Center – beautiful gardens and art (closed on Jan 1)
o Beautiful architecture & outside gardens
o Art collection is mediocre but some interesting pieces. Check calendar for special exhibits
- Huntington Library – If you are staying in Pasadena, this is a must see place since it is close by.
o Entry tickets on weekends are $20 which is a bit pricey for a museum
o The grounds though are amazing
Dont forget there is always the Rose Parade.
October 13th, 2012
To remain in the national title hunt, the University of Southern California football squad cannot afford another slip up.
Yet to exhibit the greatness predicted by college football experts before the season, inconsistency plagued the Trojans through the first five games. USC rolled over Hawaii and California, struggled mightily at various points against Syracuse and Utah, and lost to Stanford. The Orange, Utes, and Cardinal all lack the raw talent of USC, but they managed to keep each contest unexpectedly close.
Possibly the only unit outperforming expectations, USC’s defensive line exhibited dominance over the first several games. Junior defensive end Morgan Breslin ranks among the top players nationally in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (10.5) on a defense that yields fewer than three yards per carry. As the Trojans trudge through the high-scoring PAC 12 Conference, its opposition will likely try to beat them by way of air.
Cornerback has been a major point of concern for coach Lane Kiffin. The starters struggled so much the first few weeks, speculation surfaced that Kiffin might consider shifting wide receiver Marqise Lee to the position. Though he recently denied the possibility of moving Lee over to defense, safety Josh Shaw practiced at corner this week, confirming the staff’s lack of confidence in the secondary.
But it does appear the Trojans are trending upward in recent weeks.
In a 27-9 victory over in-state foe Cal on Sep. 22, USC was able to sack Bears’ quarterback Zach Maynard seven times. And for the first time since 2008, two running backs surpassed the 100-yard mark for the Trojans—Silas Redd racked up 158, while Curtis McNeal totaled 115.
Against Utah last week, USC dug itself out of an early hole to earn a valuable conference road win. QB Matt Barkley posted perhaps his best game of the season, completing 23 of 30 passes and three touchdowns. Equally impressive, the receiving corps displayed deep threat potential all game long as the Trojans prevailed, 38-28.
As USC plows deeper into the season, the schedule doesn’t get any easier.
With a trip to Seattle to play Washington on the horizon, as well as #2 Oregon Ducks and #7 Notre Dame coming to town in November, the Trojans have plenty of boulders in their path. Also laying in the weeds is crosstown rival UCLA, a squad foaming at the mouth to avenge last year’s 50-0 embarrassment. With one loss, a national title game appearance doesn’t appear as likely as it did prior to the season, but if the Trojans do find themselves in Miami they will most certainly have earned it.
September 13th, 2012
When the NCAA announced its rules changes for the 2012 college football season, it was the kickoff adjustments that were creating the most uproar. Now two weeks into the new season, it’s the helmet rule that has coaches, players, and fans questioning its merit.
The NCAA’s new “Helmet Rule” requires a player who loses his helmet during play to leave the game for one play (unless the helmet was removed as the result of a penalty), much like what occurs when a player is injured and cannot leave the field immediately following a play. The player who loses his helmet is also barred from further participation during that play. If he continues to play without the helmet, he will be penalized 15 yards for a personal foul.
No one questions the intent or spirit of the rule. Clearly, the helmet rule was implemented for player safety, but the rule has created some interesting results. The new rule promotes and rewards tackling high since the removal of the headgear will mean that player must leave the field for a play. It also creates a situation where players may be wearing helmets that are fitted improperly. Equipment managers may over-tighten helmets to make sure they stay on defeating the purpose of the helmet.
Fans noted the impact of the rule during Week One in two nationally televised games. Clemson Tigers QB Tajh Boyd lost his helmet three times during their game with Auburn Tigers and his backup, Cole Stoudt, was forced into the game in his place. “I understand the rule, but for us it’s a little bit of a challenge when you run your quarterback, he gets hit and sometimes he gets in some piles, and sometimes helmets find their way from getting off their head,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
Swinney wasn’t the only coach expressing concern about the new helmet rule. In Georgia Tech’s Labor Day match-up with Virginia Tech, GT quarterback Tevin Washington lost his helmet prior to a crucial third-and-eight play from the Hokies’ 21-yard line. Washington’s backup, Synjyn Days, entered the game, ran for four yards and the Yellow Jackets kicked a field goal.
Johnson commented, “Well, clearly you don’t want to lose your starting quarterback on third down but that’s the rule. It looked like the helmet came off when he was on the ground. … It’s just one of those things.”
It will be interesting to see how the helmet rule plays out. Sooner or later, though, this rule change is going to affect the outcome of a game. Think about it. With under two minutes remaining in a game and facing a third-and-goal from inside the 10-yard line, your team’s quarterback is on the sideline because a defender ripped his helmet off on the previous play. Definitely not the intent of the rule, plays like that (deliberately removing headgear) are an unfortunate result.