Watching the football game from deep within the student section on Saturday, I was cautiously optimistic. There is no point in saying a trip to the Pac-12 Championship game is once again in reach, but at least USC has a chance to not be a losing team this year.When the beginning of the football season rolled around, the Trojans were facing the toughest schedule in the country. But I certainly didn’t anticipate that through five weeks of the season, USC would have faced only undefeated teams.This weekend will be the first time the Trojans face an opponent who hasn’t been perfect yet this year — the 4-1, No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes.As surprising as the Trojans’ season has been, the Buffs’ has been equally so. They are not only another ranked opponent for USC, but also currently the lone leaders in the Pac-12 South.The Trojans have had to play a ridiculously difficult schedule so far this year, and perhaps if the schedule were a little easier, the tune of this season would have been entirely different.When the Trojans smashed ASU this past Saturday, it was only their second win of the year. Both wins have come against unranked opponents, with the other one being a Week 2 win over an underwhelming Utah State. Even though the Sun Devils were an undefeated team, as long as the Trojans prepared with diligence and approached the game with a humble attitude, they were expected to win. Couple that with an injured Sun Devil quarterback (the backup played the second half), and Arizona State never really had a chance.Meanwhile, USC is preparing to face its fourth ranked opponent this season. The Trojans have yet to defeat any top 25 team. Does it matter that Colorado doesn’t know who its starting quarterback is? Did it matter that they entered the ranking while their usual starter has been injured and the team is being lead by a backup redshirt freshman? The answer is the same; no.Many blindly faithful Trojan fans will be appalled at the matchup this week. How can Colorado be ranked while USC hasn’t received any votes? Part of it has to do with strength of schedule, but part of it has to do with being able to take care of business.A positive note for the Trojans after Saturday’s 41-20 victory was that the team showed it is capable of doing what is expected of it, something that had been lacking this season up until that point.Of course I think that USC is the superior football team to Colorado, but with the way things have gone so far this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if fans stream out of the Coliseum uttering curse words and calling for head coach Clay Helton’s head after a heartbreaking loss. Certainly USC has the more athletic team, but even in a sport like football, it has been clear so far this season that athleticism can only carry you part of the way.Perhaps in hindsight the Trojans have played the most difficult part of their season, opening with three out of their first four games away from the Coliseum, but now, perhaps there is a different light on things. No one expected the upcoming game against Colorado to be anything more than a game that the Trojans would be expected to win with ease. Now, USC will have to battle another ranked opponent who will be gunning for them.So maybe personnel choices and head coaching decisions have been the immediate cause for the problems the team has suffered thus far this season, but the overarching problem was that the schedule was far too tough for a team that was neither talented nor prepared enough to face its early competition.The structure of the schedule contributed to this phenomenon as well. Had the Trojans not opened against Alabama (something they never would have been ready for), rebounded against Utah State, and not had to go into a highly competitive road contest with Utah, maybe they would have been able to get a stronger grip on the season, and maybe they would have a different starting quarterback.None of that really matters though, since the sports world is solely a results-oriented business, and nowhere is that more obvious than here at USC. As the Trojans get a tougher and tougher draw — opponents seem to hop into the top 25 right before USC faces them — it gets harder and harder for the Trojans to have what is considered a successful season by the critics here in Troy.Hailey Tucker is a junior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Tucker Talks,” runs Thursdays.
The Dodgers signed Kendrick, 32, to a two-year, $20 million contract before the season.Monday, Steiner returningVin Scully won’t be returning next year by all accounts, but the Dodgers’ radio broadcasts will have some continuity in 2017. Rick Monday and Charley Steiner have signed new multi-year agreements, the organization announced today. Monday and Steiner have been working together for the past 12 seasons calling games on Dodgers radio broadcasts.“Rick and Charley have been a great team in the broadcast booth,” Dodgers chief marketing officer Lon Rosen said in a statement. “The combination of the two talents over the past 12 years has provided Dodger fans a thoroughly enjoyable journey through each and every game. We look forward to them continuing for many years to come.”AlsoHyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy will throw bullpen sessions on Saturday, Roberts said. … Outfielder Andre Ethier will undergo a follow-up x-ray on his broken right femur Friday. … Pitching prospect Julio Urias threw three innings in relief for Triple-A Oklahoma City without allowing a run. It was his first regular-season appearance out of the bullpen in two years. Actually, Puig has been swinging more at all sorts of pitches out of the zone. According to Pitch F/x data via baseball-savant.com, Puig saw 150 pitches out of the zone in his first 10 games and swung at 13 of them, or 8.7 percent of the total. In the next 12 games, he swung at 14.8 percent of pitches outside the zone.Kendrick’s struggles are similar, but not recent. After a groin injury cut short his spring training, it seems the veteran second baseman has been playing catch-up since he reported to the clubhouse. His batting average sat at .143 through Wednesday.“Howie’s getting some pitches to hit,” Roberts said. “The pitches that should end the at-bats, he’s fouling them off or swinging through them. Then he gets into pitcher’s counts. Then you get the nasty breaking balls, things like that. “He’s striking out a little bit more than he’s accustomed to, but that lends itself to not ending at-bats when he should.”Kendrick had struck out in 24.5 percent of his at-bats this season through Wednesday, up from 18.4 percent of his at-bats prior to this year. Yasiel Puig and Howie Kendrick were dropped to fifth and seventh, respectively, in the Dodgers’ batting order Thursday, but manager Dave Roberts is sticking with the two through their free-flailing struggles.Roberts shuffled his regulars to produce a unique lineup in his 23rd game as manager. Catcher Yasmani Grandal hit cleanup for the first time this year. Four left-handed hitters (Chase Utley, Corey Seager, Adrian Gonzalez and the switch-hitting Grandal) led off against ace Miami Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez.Puig had a .405 batting average and .500 on-base percentage 10 games into the season. Over his next 12 games, those figures dipped to .140 and .159. This week, Puig reported to the batting cage for early work on the field with hitting coach Turner Ward and coach Manny Mota.“He’s been getting out of the strike zone a little bit more,” Roberts said of Puig. “You look at the first seven days, where he’s taking balls, swinging at strikes. And I think they’re still throwing ‘em in. He’s offering at those pitches. Then the breaking balls down below the zone.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
4 Parrott made his senior Ireland debut against New Zealand during the recent international breakCredit: Getty Images – Getty4 Replacing Mauricio Pochettino with Jose Mourinho has thrown uncertainty to the future of Parrott at SpursCredit: Reuters BORUSSIA DORTMUND are ready to battle it out with arch-rivals Bayern Munich to sign Ireland youngster Troy Parrott, according to reports.The Spurs striker is seen as one of the most exciting teenage prospects in Europe and signed his first professional contract on his 17th birthday in February.4 Troy Parrott is wanted by Europe’s top clubsDortmund took teenager Jadon Sancho from Manchester City in 2017 and the England winger’s development in Germany has been clear to see.Plenty of other young players have left Premier League clubs for Germany over recent years to great success.So the chance to take on Parrott and do something similar would no doubt appeal to Lucien Favre as his side look to capitalise on Bayern’s uncertainty over the managerial situation with Hans-Dieter Flick remaining in interim charge.But according to the Express, giants Real Madrid and Juventus are also monitoring Parrott’s situation and could try to lure him away from North London.4 Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich are among a number of clubs interested in Tottenham striker Troy ParrottCredit: ReutersParrott arrived at Spurs from Irish side Belvedere two years ago and was incredibly popular with former boss Mauricio Pochettino.He featured in pre-season alongside Harry Kane and made his presence known in the Uefa Youth League with five goals in three appearances – plus an assist against Bayern.The forward made his first-team debut in the Carabao Cup defeat to Colchester and was on the bench for the 1-1 draw with Everton at the beginning of November.IRELAND INTERNATIONALHe had done enough to convince Mick McCarthy to hand him his senior Republic of Ireland debut.Parrott started for the Irish in their 3-1 friendly win over New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium last week.He did not come on in the crucial clash with Denmark meaning he dropped down to play with the Under-21s in their win over Sweden on Tuesday.And it was on the pitch at full-time after the win over the Swedes that Parrott was informed of Spurs’ decision to sack Poch.The Argentine was replaced less than 12 hours later by Jose Mourinho, who won his first game in charge against West Ham yesterday.ACCA WITH LADBROKES Pick up a whole load of acca features to help you land the big oneFor all his success and silverware in his career, one criticism of Mourinho has been his reluctance to give youth a chance.So immediately suggestions that Parrott may need to leave – either permanently or on loan – to progress his career surfaced, with interest from around Europe.Jose, though, was quick to set out his stall after being unveiled as the new Spurs boss by commenting on the club’s exciting academy.He said: “I really like this squad. Of course, I’m not going to say names, I’m not going to tell you individuals because this is completely against my concept of what a team has to be, but I like a lot the ability of the squad.Latest transfer newsLive Blogblues newsChelsea news LIVE – Latest updates from Stamford BridgeLive Blogunited newsMan Utd news LIVE – Latest updates from Old TraffordLive BlogGunners newsArsenal news LIVE – Latest updates from the EmiratesGossipGOING DUTCHChelsea ‘to grab Mbuyamba on free deal’ with defender set to leave BarcelonaDEPAY CHARTMan Utd flop Memphis used computer data and analytics to quit Old TraffordLive BlogBLUES NEWSChelsea news LIVE: Latest updates and transfer gossip from Stamford BridgeGossipFIT IN HIS BELEArsenal turn attention to Lyon striker Dembele as Lacazette replacementGossipGUNNER MAKE A MOVEArsenal weighing up transfer move for Barcelona star Rafinha“There is not one manager in the world who does not like to play young players and help young players to evolve, there is not one.“The problem is sometimes you get into clubs and the work that is below you is not good enough to produce these players, but when you have them, the managers are always happy to develop these players.“I look to our history and you see that the academy is always giving the talent the first team needs. Of course, I also look forward to work with that profile.”