Speed Read: Is FirePeteCarroll.com Available?

Maybe Pete Carroll was right when he called the Pac-10 schedule “ridiculously difficult” - or the Trojans just had another epic meltdown against a far lesser opponent. Either way, the end result was a shocking 27-21 loss to Oregon State.  Yes, those Beavers. The same Beavers who lost to Penn State and Stanford by a combined 39 points.

Oregon State fans

You could look for goats in the game: defensive back Kevin Thomas, who let an interception in the end zone slip through his hands at the end of the first half and into the hands of James Rodgers. Or quarterback Mark Sanchez, who despite three touchdowns also threw a fourth-quarter interception that set up the eventually winning touchdown for the Beavers.

Mark Sanchez

But ultimately, blame has to go to one person: Pete Carroll. Yet again, the Trojans fell flat on their face against teams with far less talent. It’s the second time Oregon State has done it to USC, along with Stanford, UCLA…basically, any team that’s beaten USC since 2002 other than Texas.

The team came out flat and uninspired - a content, cocky team expecting to win because they were USC. (and as the LA TIMES’ FABULOUS FORUM points out, maybe celebrating a touchdown to close to 21-7 isn’t such a great idea, Ronald Johnson.) And the coaching staff was incapable of adjusting until halftime, when they had dug themselves too deep of a hole. But really, who could have seen this being anything but a Trojans blowout. Except maybe for Brooks right before the game:

I like the Beavers and the points tonight, which means I’ll be laughing in about two hours, or waist-deep into my sixth Boilermaker* at Coach & Horses around 12 bells.

…or our own Jason K. in the USC/Ohio State Live Brog two weeks ago:

“And Mark will have plenty of time to recuperate, as USC doesn’t take the field again until Thursday, September 25, when they travel to Oregon State. But remember what happened the last time the Trojans took a trip to Corvallis - a 33-31 shocker.”

Far less of a shock is that the Los Angeles Dodgers finally clinched the NL West title, thanks to the Diamondbacks’ 12-3 thumping by the Cardinals. Now Los Angeles’ notoriously fickle sports fans can forget about USC’s collapse and focus on the Dodgers in the playoffs - until they lose in four games to some team like the Cubs. But by that point, hey, isn’t the Lakers’ season starting?

The Dodgers’ clinching the NL West leaves three playoff spots to be decided: the AL Central race between the Twins and the White Sox, and the Phillies/Mets/Brewers mess for the NL East and/or Wild Card.

The Mets and the Brewers remained tied for the Wild Card, both winning in dramatic fashion: New York using a ninth-inning single by Carlos Beltran for a 6-5 victory over the Cubs, while Milwaukee knocked off the Pirates 5-1 on Ryan Braun’s two-out grand slam in the tenth. The Phillies could only sit home idle and watch their lead in the NL East shrink to one game.

Minnesota Twins celebrate

Meanwhile, the Twins and the White Sox also went ten innings. In this case, Minnesota put together a five-run rally of their own to win 7-6 to complete a series sweep of Chicago and take the AL Central lead for the first time in a month. Even worse, the White Sox seem to be imploded, as the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES reports that Orlando Cabrera seems intent on destroying team chemistry as he heads out of town.

Other late-breaking news last night, straight from the sports desk of Tank McNamara:

Eva Longoria

What was the biggest upset so far in 2008?

View Results

Jays GM Rips Into Reds’ Dunn; Adam Rips Back

It would appear that Adam Dunn won’t be joining the Blue Jays anytime soon - especially after some harsh words from Toronto’s general manager, and an equally-angry response from the Reds’ player.

Adam Dunn J.P. Ricciardi

The NATIONAL POST pitches up the latest on the growing feud between Dunn and Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi. It began Wednesday night when Ricciardi appeared on The Fan 590 to jabber about the Jays. One caller suggested that he should look into acquiring Dunn, who’s been rumored to be on the Reds’ trading block.

But J.P. shot that idea down with a little character assassination:

Read more…