Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas/New Year's Housekeeping

So here at the EB Sports Report, I've been silent due to other obligations and life situations. I'm still covering prep sports for the Daily Breeze and I'm still enjoying my work with one of the best sports blogs around. But I figure I'd make a few announcements for the rest of the year.

I plan on doing two more videos. One to wrap up USC's season and another for UCLA. The videos were few and far between this year but in my mind, they're also far better. I'll find a way to do more in 2014.

Also, if you followed me on Virgo Gumbo, you know I don't like doing end-of-the-year stuff until January. Only because something amazing can still happen between now and New Year's. So sometimes that first week of the year, I'll share those here.

Quick links. Only had one story this week but it was good. Visiting an old friend in Narbonne head coach Victoria Sanders as her girls squad defeated league rival Carson. Also you can check out my blog posts for the Daily Breeze right here at Pure Preps.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dallas' December Blues are Bigger than Tony Romo

It's almost cliche to blame Tony Romo for the Cowboys' woes in December. I've done my share of criticism. The best quarterback my team has had since Troy Aikman but he walks with self-inflicted bullet holes in shoes.

This year, though, we need to be honest. Romo has not been the only reason the Cowboys are treading water. Forget all those December stats on Tony Romo, these are some stats that matter.
And that was before Sunday's game. The Cowboys allowed 51 points to Denver, 49 points to New Orleans and 45 points vs. Chicago. Denver and Chicago failed to punt the whole game. They allowed 329 receiving yards to Calvin Johnson despite creating four Lions turnovers. Now they blew a 23-point halftime lead vs. Green Bay at home, who didn't punt in the second half.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Weekend Links

I've been a busy man this week so without adieu, I present the links to enjoy on a Friday.

Tonight I'll be at East LA College watching the LA City Section Division I championship between Crenshaw and Narbonne. Here's my preview (Daily Breeze)

To add to that story, here's a piece on Narbonne linebacker Uchenna Nwosu. Nwosu isn't just a USC commit, he's also a standout student (3.3/3.8 GPA) who didn't play football until his 10th grade season. (Daily Breeze)

I also covered several basketball games this week. Serra's swarming defense proved too much for Lawndale and the same happened with Bishop Montgomery against Windward. (Daily Breeze)

For my good folks at Bro Jackson, I had more takes on the Pac-12's wild coaching weekend as well as a preview on the title game between Arizona State and Stanford. Here's a hint, I'm not picking Stanford.

As a bonus, I also pass this piece by Bro Jackson managing editor Ramon Ramirez on prisoners in the Louisiana State Penitentiary finding hope and peace in rodeo. It's one of the best pieces I've read this year and a reminder that just because you're in jail, you're still a person craving hope.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

15 Years Gone: UCLA's Downward Spiral and Uptown Revival

It's funny how rivalry week shakes out. 2007, I was at the Coliseum where UCLA got spanked by USC and Karl Dorrell's press conference sounded like a funeral of a man who would be fired soon. This year, USC changes coaches after being spanked and Jim Mora re-ups with UCLA for a longer extension.

One thing is clear. As my friend Rahshaun Haylock of Fox Sports showed in that picture above, UCLA runs the city now. It's something I thought I'd never see after 1998 and this week marks the 15th anniversary of the game that changed UCLA's fortune. The collapse against Miami.

You might remember that year as the Bruins were the first team to debut at No. 1 in the BCS. The Bruins were in the middle of a 20-game winning streak. Cade McNown was poised to be invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony and two freshman named Deshaun Foster and Freddie Mitchell (before he got hurt that year) had me excited. I had the season poster as one of my book covers.

Did I mention the Bruins had an eight-game winning streak against USC? Foster went wild that game and I remember ABC calling it "Foster's Freeze". Everything was clicking and the Bruins seemed ready for their first national title game in my lifetime.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Steve Sarkisian to USC (Video + Extra Thoughts)

As you enjoy my video above discussing the USC hire of Steve Sarkisian, here's some more stats to consider that I hinted at.

FBS Rank in Total Defense since 2010: 65, 102, 35, 60
Conference Rank in Total Defense since 2010: 8, 11, 4, 5
Conference Rank in Total Offense since 2010: 8, 7, 10, 2

Sarkisian will be bringing defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox with him to USC so that's a good sign that the defense will continue to be solid. Plus, Sarkisian is not afraid to go after mobile quarterbacks which is something USC desperately needs if they want to stay relevant. All they need to do is look at how UCLA waxed them twice with Brett Hundley's arm and legs.