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Category: Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez on his way to the NFL, or not

That earlier ESPN report that said Mark Sanchez was headed to the NFL didn't last long before it changed. The latest headline is that Nick Sanchez, the quarterback's father, says his son hasn't made up his mind.

So goes the saga of a quarterback in agony.

Some people close to Sanchez say he does, indeed, want to turn pro. And if he were to make the decision today, a day before he has to, it would be to leave USC for the NFL.

But his announcement is being made tomorrow morning -- and a very good salesman is likely to try to coax a change of heart in the meantime. That salesman?

USC Coach Pete Carroll, who managed to turn a similar tide not too many seasons ago when it was Matt Leinart making the call. (Note to Carroll: Was it really a good idea to be vacationing in Hawaii while your top two players -- Sanchez and All-American safety Taylor Mays -- were making their NFL decisions?)

There seems to be little doubt that Sanchez would benefit from another year of college football -- he's only been the full-time starter one season. But if he goes this year, it's just him and Georgia's Matt Stafford at the top of the quarterback heap. If he stays, he'll probably end up going out with Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, Texas' Colt McCoy and Florida's Tim Tebow.

It's a tough call to make -- something Sanchez had better get used to.

-- Mike Hiserman

Mark Sanchez closer to the NFL?

Mark_sanchez Mark Sanchez's NFL stock is soaring without him having to lift a finger.

With today's announcement that Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford is staying at Oklahoma for another season, the USC junior might be the second-highest-rated quarterback in April's NFL draft if he makes himself available.

Only Georgia's Matthew Stafford is rated higher by most experts.

The Heisman finalists from last season -- all quarterbacks -- are staying in college football: Bradford, Tim Tebow of Florida and Colt McCoy of Texas.

The deadline to declare for the draft is Thursday.

Stay with latimes.com/sports for the latest news.

-- Mike Hiserman

Photo: USC quarterback Mark Sanchez is the picture of happiness as the final minutes of the Rose Bowl game against Penn State ticked away. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

Wake-Up Call: Mark Sanchez, Drew Brees, Kobe Bryant, Pete Rose vs. Rickey Henderson

First things first: Mark Sanchez will be -- or will not be -- entering the NFL draft. The USC quarterback apparently will announce his decision tomorrow.* Should he stay or should he go? If he stays, maybe he can lift his game a notch and compete with the passionate Tim Tebow for the Heisman this time around. Meanwhile, this might be a good time to note that the starting quarterbacks in this weekend's AFC and NFC title games prove you can come from a smaller university than USC or Florida or Texas. Here are their colleges: Syracuse (Donovan McNabb), Miami of Ohio (Ben Roethlisberger), Northern Iowa (Kurt Warner) and Delaware (Joe Flacco). And if you don't think Tebow is passionate, here is a reminder.

Run and hit: Drew Brees was on the Dan Patrick radio show this morning and talked about the Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson. Asked about running backs at age 30 and whether they can maintain their speed despite taking so many hits, Brees said, "If you're talking about LT, that guy's got a lot of years left in him." (LT turns 30 in June.) Brees' baby boy is due tomorrow. And yes, Brees said he's heard all the names -- "Cool" Brees, "Summer" Brees. "But I still think we can do better," he said. Any thoughts out there?

Run and shoot: Why I like watching Kobe Bryant: He drains a three-pointer with 27.4 seconds left in the game last night against the Houston Rockets. Watching him pull the Lakers out of the fire time after time can be exhilarating. And deflating when he comes up short. Here is a video of the game's highlights.

Hit and run: The question came up here in the Sports department: Whom would you want as your leadoff hitter if you could choose anyone. Two names kept coming up as by far the best -- brand-new Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson and Pete Rose, who probably won't ever be in the Hall of Fame because of his gambling. OK, and his lying about the gambling at first. But now you can help decide who would be the best leadoff guy. The poll closes Thursday morning at 9.

Last shot: If Carl Yastrzemski thinks Jim Rice deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, nothing more needs to be said.

-- Debbie Goffa

* Updated at 5:12 p.m.

Ted Green: observations on Lakers, Dodgers, BCS title game, Mark Sanchez

Some observations while rummaging through the toy box of life, today's sports news:

Lakers fans, you need to stop fixating, fretting, obsessing, worrying about the Celtics so much. Obviously, they're going to lose all the rest of their games and end up in the lottery.

                           -----

Trevor Ariza, specialist. Vladimir Radmanovic, specialist. Luke Walton, love the last name. Seems more obvious now that, good as they are, for the Lakers to be a real juggernaut approaching something like the Magic Johnson Showtime years, the hole in their lineup is at small forward. They need a real "3", a near All-Star level performer in the starting lineup, to make them true world beaters. Oh wait, they have one who could fill that role: Lamar Odom.

                           -----

In carefully and maybe even smartly avoiding the Scott Boras booby trap of bidding against themselves, the Dodgers had better hope simple human emotion doesn't intervene. Even if

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Matthew Stafford's decision affects USC's Mark Sanchez

Matthew Stafford That cheer you heard a few hours ago?

It might have come from USC Coach Pete Carroll and new offensive coordinator John Morton.

That's because Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford's decision to make himself available for this year's NFL draft could help dissuade USC quarterback Mark Sanchez from doing the same.

In other Sanchez-related news: USC fans accustomed to rooting against Oklahoma might be pulling for the Sooners on Thursday night when they play Florida in the Bowl Championship Series title game. If Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford has a big game and the Sooners win, the Heisman Trophy winner might follow Stafford to the pros. And Sanchez might be convinced that larger NFL riches await in 2010.

-- Gary Klein

Photo: Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford. Credit: Fernando Medina / US Presswire

Wake-up Call: Matt Millen, Ed Hochuli, Mark Sanchez, Erin Andrews, Ducks

Detroit Lions owner and chairman William Clay Ford, left, talked Matt Millen prior to a game last season. First things first: Matt Millen, the recently fired director of football operations and the architect of the history-making 0-16 Detroit Lions, showed up without fanfare Saturday as an analyst on NBC's studio show "Football Night in America." To be fair, Millen is a good analyst because he speaks frankly and obviously is fearless, and he did win four Super Bowls (Raiders, 49ers, Redskins) because he was a great linebacker. I was still in shock, though. At first I thought, what gall to hire Millen! This is a guy who made so many bad calls over the years (especially in rating football talent). But then Millen made some good comments in his analyst role. Here is the interview Dan Patrick did as co-host on that NBC show Saturday. I guess it just goes to show you that being fearless and tough like Millen has its advantages, especially when it comes to football and television.

Add NFL: The most interesting playoff matchup will be Chargers at Pittsburgh, with the Steelers probably without LaDainian Tomlinson and a tired Darren Sproles. These teams sure have a history, especially this season.  The only question I have is this: Will Ed Hochuli be the referee for Sunday's game?

Wake up time: USC quarterback Mark Sanchez was on the Dan Patrick radio show this morning and the two joked around a bit at first because Sanchez was a little late getting on their air but was in good spirits despite what is, for him, an early hour (8:40). Sanchez teased back: "I heard that Millen interview ... I don't know if the Millen interview was your very best one. ..."  Said Patrick: "I was going to bring up the Oregon State game with you ... ." Asked if he is anxious for the Lions to draft him, Sanchez laughed, then said: "I still haven't figured out what I plan to do for now. But I'm still going to investigate a little further and see if there is a compelling reason to enter the draft." And yes, he said he has sent in the required initial paperwork. Patrick added: "On a neutral field I would take USC over anybody in the country." Replied Sanchez: "Oh, I agree." But when asked if Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford or Tim Tebow are better than he is, Sanchez demurred. "That's for people like you to debate." There is still time to vote in our 3 polls on whether USC would beat Florida, Oklahoma or Texas.

Bad USC: A video of Rey Maualuga is getting the "All Things Trojan" blog some attention. Blogger Adam Rose, who posted this over the weekend, calls it a "dance" with sideline reporter Erin Andrews. Uh, no. A dance with someone means both people are involved. This looks like the sexist Maualuga (surprise, surprise) showing disrespect for a woman reporter, who didn't even know that he was behind her. Besides, it looks like something far different than a dance. You have to wonder who taught Maualuga that it's OK to be vulgar in public. I would hope the school extracts an apology from him on Andrews' behalf, because this video made it to YouTube.

Good USC: Santa Ana Mater Dei quarterback Matt Barkley showed why USC is excited to be getting him. He was the star in Sunday's All-America High School Football Game. Barkley, orally committed to USC, threw for two early touchdown passes to lead his White Team to a 27-16 victory over the Black Team. "It really felt good out there," he said. "It was a fun game with a lot of great players."

Will he or won't he? Be fired, that is. Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski reportedly has been told he will be fired if he interviews for the New York Jets head coaching job. That's according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, citing (as usual) unnamed sources. Here's a question: Has Mortensen ever broken news where his "sources" are willing to go on the record, for attribution? The interview apparently is today and apparently Jagodzinski is going ahead with it. If fired, Mortensen says, Boston College would promote offensive coordinator Steve Logan to head coach. Stay tuned. Meanwhile here is an ESPN interview with Jagodzinski from earlier in the season.

Do and don't: Brian Cazeneuve of SI.com has 2009 resolutions for the NHL. It's a fun read. Meanwhile, the Ducks played a strong game Sunday against the Phoenix Coyotes. As Helene Elliott points out in her column, it took great goaltending and a strong penalty-kill.

-- Debbie Goffa

Photo: Detroit Lions owner and chairman William Clay Ford, left, talking to Matt Millen before a game last season. Credit: Paul Sancya / AP

USC the best team? Are not all 'hiccups' equal?

USC's Mark Sanchez is interviewed by ESPN's John Saunders after the game. On New Year's Day, while discussing the top college football team, ESPN's assortment of anchors and analysts dismissed the Trojans because the "hiccup" or "misstep" (their words) against Oregon State made it an open-and-shut case.

It was a different story today as ESPN's "Outside the Lines: First Report," which aired at noon, made the case for USC being worthy of a title.

The report examined the "impact of USC's dominance in becoming the first team ever to win three consecutive Rose Bowls." Those words are from the press release.

Thursday's casual dismissal of USC because of that "hiccup" was head-shakingly silly from the start. The two teams playing for the BCS championship, Florida and Oklahoma, also had "hiccups" and "missteps" that apparently automatically didn't disqualify them from the championship game.

Want to argue that the Pac-10 wasn't as good as the Big 12 and the SEC? Well, OK, but then how do you explain the Pac-10's finishing the bowl season 5-0?

Want to argue that USC's humdrum midseason skein of inexplicably undecisive wins hurt the case? Fine. But Thursday, ESPN's broadcasters and panelists had one reason, one only, for why USC coach Pete Carroll shouldn't complain about anything.

The Oregon State loss. Again, just to point it out, Florida lost at home to Mississippi. Oklahoma lost at a neutral site to Texas. USC lost at Oregon State. "Hiccups" and "missteps" apparently only disqualify one team. Explain that one. Here is what ESPN had to say last night -- Chris Fowler, Leo Corso, Kirk Herbstreit.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: USC quarterback Mark Sanchez is interviewed by ESPN's John Saunders after the Rose Bowl game. Saunders was not among those last night who dismissed USC as worthy of being national champion. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images

USC football -- No. 3, win or lose

Usc_ohio_state Usc_oregon_state

According to an article in Sports Business Daily, two USC football games were ranked No. 3 in television viewership on cable and on network television.

No. 1 on the top 10 most-viewed football telecasts on broadcast television this season was the Dec. 6 SEC championship game between Florida and Alabama on CBS. The No. 3-rated broadcast game was the Ohio State-USC game on ABC Sept. 13. Six of the top 10 games on broadcast involved Big 12 schools.

The USC-Oregon State game on Sept. 25 on ESPN was the third highest-ranked cable college football broadcast and the UCLA-Tennessee game, also on ESPN, on Sept. 1 was the fourth-highest. No. 1 was Miami against Florida on ESPN Sept. 6.

The top-rated broadcast television game had more than twice the viewers of the top-rated cable game and there were no Pacific 10 Conference games that were shown on Fox networks or Versus ranked in the top 10. In fact, all 10 of the top cable games were on ESPN, not that the Pac-10 should be concerned about those Fox and Versus television contracts.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo at left: USC'S Kyle Moore celebrates after Ohio State missed a field goal in the first half of a game on Sept. 13. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Photo at right: USC quarterback Mark Sanchez walks off the field after throwing an interception against Oregon State in a Sept. 25 game. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Could UCLA football benefit from trading (card) deadline?

UCLA's Brigham Harwell, left, Kahlil Bell and Michael Norris emerge from the tunnel before the game against Stanford in October.

UCLA's marketing department has been oddly quiet this week. The same crew that lured nearly 20,000 Fresno State fans to the Rose Bowl after promising them they would see "history" has been silent about Saturday's USC game, even though tickets were still available as of Monday morning.

Imagine the possibilities -- "Come see the first of two USC victories at the Rose Bowl this season," or, "The Rose Bowl: UCLA's home ... USC's office."

Still, the boys in the department aren't just sitting around playing "Monopoly." They announced a special "trading card" promotion through Bruin Locker Room -- an effort to make sure there are more UCLA fans than USC fans at the Rose Bowl?

"As we salute the seniors, take home a Bruin souvenir of these fine student-athletes. The first 10,000 fans wearing blue will receive trading cards that feature the entire 2008 senior class. Trading cards will be distributed at all Rose Bowl gates beginning at noon."

Which could lead to interesting future negotiations: "I'll give you six Kahlil Bells for one Mark Sanchez. OK, eight Bells and one Brigham Harwell. No? Well, then...."

As for the long-term investment possibilities, a Topps rookie card for Reggie Bush still fetches more than one for Maurice Jones-Drew, even though Jones-Drew holds the edge in career rushing yards (2,261 to 1,440).

-- Chris Foster

Photo: UCLA's Brigham Harwell, left, Kahlil Bell and Michael Norris emerge from the tunnel before the game against Stanford at the Rose Bowl in October. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

What if he had a broken finger? USC's Mark Sanchez would keep playing too

Mark Sanchez So, who's fault was it anyway?

USC Coach Pete Carroll, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and former quarterback John David Booty all absorbed varying degrees of blame and criticism last season after Booty was allowed to continue playing -- and passing -- after suffering a broken finger in the first half against Stanford.

Booty wound up having four passes intercepted in one of the biggest upsets in college football history, a 24-23 USC loss that ended the Trojans' 35-game home winning streak.

After the game, Carroll said, "We could have made a change but we went with our guy."

Later, Carroll fell on his sword and said he made a mistake by leaving Booty in and continuing to throw the ball, an admission he repeated this week as the sixth-ranked Trojans prepared for Saturday's game at Stanford.

Booty did what athletes are trained to do: Never give in.

"I want to compete. I want to fight. No way I was coming out of that game," he said at the time, after completing 24 of 40 passes for 364 yards and two touchdowns.

Booty is now in the NFL, a backup for the Minnesota Vikings.

I asked Trojans quarterback Mark Sanchez this week if he would continue playing with a broken finger as Booty did last season.

"It's just one of those things: You never want to come out," Sanchez said. "You put so much time and effort into it Monday through Friday, to come out in the second quarter on Saturday? Are you kidding me?

"No way that's going to happen. Hopefully, I don't have to worry about it."

-- Gary Klein

Photo: USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. Credit: Kirby Lee / Image of Sport / US Presswire

Texas' Colt McCoy unanimous in Heisman Trophy poll

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy not only retained the No. 1 position this week in the HeismanPundit/Orlando Sentinel Heisman Trophy poll, he was the unanimous choice of all 10 voters.

The top three in the poll were Big 12 quarterbacks, McCoy was joined by No. 2 Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and No. 3 Graham Harrell of Texas Tech.

Florida's Tom Tebow, who won the Heisman Trophy last year, is ranked No. 5. But even he says he's using the vote he gets as a former winner to pick McCoy if the Texas junior continues to dominate.

USC's Mark Sanchez, who was as high as No. 2 one week, is again out of the top 12, despite the Trojans' 69-0 victory Saturday over Washington State.

-- Randy Harvey

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