Win over UCLA key even with South title

first_imgOllie Jung | Daily TrojanThis isn’t exactly what we expected.UCLA will make the trip to South Central on Saturday to take on the Trojans in a primetime matchup. This was a game all fans had circled on their calendars when schedules were first released last year: It would be a showdown between the nation’s two premier quarterbacks — redshirt sophomore Sam Darnold and junior Josh Rosen — as they duked it out to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NFL Draft, and whether it was for one team or both, there would likely be significant postseason implications on the line.After three months of up-and-down college football in Los Angeles, much has changed. Darnold has taken a step back somewhat after his blistering debut campaign, struggling with turnovers and sparking rumors he may return to school next fall. Meanwhile, Rosen has spearheaded a powerful UCLA passing attack, but has also thrown nine interceptions (Darnold has 11) while steering his team to a 5-5 overall record. Forget playoffs: The Bruins are fighting for bowl eligibility, and on the other side, No. 11 USC, despite clinching the Pac-12 South in Colorado last Saturday, blew its national championship hopes weeks ago. The stakes might not be the same as they were expected to be at the beginning of the season, but they still remain high and serious for both teams.So if this weekend’s game is neither a playoff chase nor a de facto battle for the top draft pick, then what are we looking forward to? Pride aside, does it even matter whether the Trojans win or lose in the rivalry face-off at the Coliseum on Saturday? In another year, the answer to that question would actually be a clear no. With a Pac-12 Championship berth already secured, USC could take it half-speed against the Bruins and essentially give itself two weeks off before fighting for the conference crown on Dec. 1. Then, with a win in Santa Clara, it would be on to the Rose Bowl.But no roses await the Trojans this year, as Pasadena hosts a leg of the playoff. With a run at the national title out of reach (barring one of the most absurd final three weeks in college football history), USC can only hope for the best possible at-large bowl bid, meaning a loss to UCLA could prove catastrophic. In the past, the Rose Bowl provided a sense of security for the Trojans as long as they won the conference. This year, it’s all different.A random bowl berth may sound trivial — it probably is in reality — but for the Trojans this season, perception has been everything. A trip to Glendale for the Fiesta Bowl looks a whole lot better than a trip to San Diego for another Holiday Bowl, and that could make all the difference for this team.Think about it: Imagine if USC takes down UCLA on Saturday before winning the Pac-12 two weeks later. If the Trojans beat a team like, say, No. 6 Auburn in the Fiesta Bowl (or even played a competitive game), the season could be considered a success. Sure, there will always be the disappointment of falling short of a national title, but wrapping up the campaign as a two- or three-loss conference champion in a New Year’s Six bowl would be a worthy follow up to last season’s Rose Bowl victory, and it would show that this team is consistently remaining in the top tier of national competition.On the other hand, if the Trojans fall to the Bruins this week, not only would they suffer their second rivalry loss of the season, but they would also play themselves out of a marquee bowl — even with a conference championship. Despite the team’s late-season surge, question marks remain about USC’s consistency on either side of the ball, and the full-blown panic that set in after the humiliation at Notre Dame last month would return if the Trojans can’t put away a middling UCLA squad at home. This is a must-win game in the sense that the win is completely expected; if the Trojans can’t perform, their skill will be called into question, especially after they didn’t move up at all in the CFP ranking despite a win last week.In fact, a loss to the Bruins resigns USC to at least a three-loss season, and with a complete loss of momentum, you’d anticipate more to follow: The campaign would end no differently than it did under the likes of former quarterback Cody Kessler or former coaches Ed Orgeron and Steve Sarkisian. The pressure is now heavy on Darnold and head coach Clay Helton to prove that the program has advanced beyond those days.Of course, crushing the Bruins won’t mean anything without a win two weeks later, as a loss in the Pac-12 Championship would condemn the Trojans to the same fate as a loss to UCLA would. But that’s a problem for later, and the Trojans will be best to focus on the game at hand, especially since they won’t know their opponent for the conference championship until next week. The season is on the line this Saturday. Darnold has the opportunity to boost himself to 2-0 in his career against UCLA and lift USC to another double-digit-win campaign — with two more on the horizon. Meanwhile, Rosen and the Bruins are fighting to earn bowl eligibility and keep their year alive, and they have a chance to throw a wrench into the Trojans’ season en route to some sort of redemption in a bowl game.It’s all to play for this weekend, and we get to see two of the top quarterbacks in the country go head-to-head to keep their campaigns alive. It’s not the Pac-12 South title showdown we saw in 2015, but each team desperately needs a win. It’s also the first (and possibly only) edition of Darnold vs. Rosen. What more can you ask for?Oliver Jung is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Jung Money,” runs Fridays.last_img read more

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Man United captain Harry Maguire spent £63,000 at the bar prior to arrest

first_imgEngland star Harry Maguire returned home on Sunday with question marks surrounding his footballing future following his drunken holiday brawl in Mykonos.The £190,000-a-week defender flew back to Britain after spending two nights in a cell and appearing in court charged with assaulting a police officer on the Greek party island.His captaincy of Manchester United and place in the England squad will face scrutiny while legal action hangs over his head.The Football Association will hold crunch talks Monday over how to manage Harry Maguire’s Greek crisis.England manager Gareth Southgate, as he routinely does with his senior players, is expected to contact Maguire ahead of the squad announcement. But discussions with the Manchester United captain will take on far more significance after allegations he was involved in a fight on the Greek island of Mykonos during the early hours for Friday morning, leading to Maguire being arrested and charged.Maguire’s trial is set for Tuesday and it is understood the player’s legal camp believe they have a strong case as they try to clear their client’s name after he pleaded not guilty to charges on Sunday.Maguire, 27, reportedly enjoyed a five-hour drinking session on Thursday, racking up a bar bill rumoured to be around £63,000 on vintage champagne, cocktails, steaks and lobster.The tab included an £18,000 bottle of Dom Perignon Brut 2002, a £17,000 bottle of Armand de Brignac Champagne and £750 on several bottles of Jack Daniel’s.He is understood to have been with Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley, Love Island star Chris Hughes and snooker player Judd Trump, as well as members of his family. Local media reports claimed that the footballer started fighting to defend his younger sister Daisy after she was stabbed in the arm with a pointed object. It emerged that Maguire gorged on a £4.50 doner kebab with pals during a boozy night out just minutes before becoming embroiled in a fight that led to his arrest for attacking three policemen.Maguire, who earns £190,000 per week, wolfed down the kebab after emerging from the exclusive Bonbonniere night club in Mykonos where he had been drinking on Thursday night with a group of friends. Source: DailyMaillast_img read more

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Africa Women Cup of Nations: Line-up complete for Cameroon

first_imgKenya have qualified for the Africa Women Cup of Nations for the first time ever as Nigeria also advance to defend their title in Cameroon.Equatorial Guinea, the only other team to win the women’s continental title, will also be at the finals in November pending an investigation by the Confederation of African Football.Having already qualified for the Rio Olympics in August both South Africa and Zimbabwe also reached the continental finals.Ghana and Egypt join Cameroon as hosts in the eight-team finals.Kenya reached the finals by beating Algeria on the away goals after a 3-3 aggregate draw over two legs.Teams qualified for the 2016 Women Africa Cup of Nations:Cameroon (hosts), Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South AfricaThe sides drew 1-1 in Nairobi on Tuesday, having drawn in Algiers 2-2 last week, and Kenya go through having scored twice away from home. The result had seemed to be going Algeria’s way when they took the lead on 21 minutes from Naima Bouheni – just after Kenya had a goal disallowed for offside.But Kenya levelled in the second-leg tie in the 79th minute through Cherish Avilla to qualify for a continental finals for the first time.Reigning champions Nigeria will defend their title in Cameroon after beating Senegal 2-0 in the second leg of their qualifier on Tuesday for a 3-1 win on aggregate.The Super Falcons missed a chance to take the lead on the half-hour when Arsenal player Asisat Oshoala hit the bar with a penalty kick.Bit six minutes later Rita Chikwelu broke the deadlock and almost immediately after the break Osaremona Igbinovia doubled the lead. Senegal’s misery was compounded when their coach was shown a red card on 50 minutes.South Africa completed a 5-0 aggregate win over neighbours Botswana with a 3-0 victory on Tuesday.Banyana Banyana scored their first goal in the 18th minute as Mamello Makhabane scored from the penalty spot.Sanah Mollo and then a vicious shot from Nompumelelo Nyandeni’s made it 3-0 before half-time.There was also a convincing 4-0 second leg win for Ghana over visiting Tunisia to make it 6-1 overall. Samira Suleman and Portia Boakye both scored before half-time.The rout was completed with goals from Priscilla Adobea and a second from Suleman after the break.On Monday, Egypt booked their place by beating Ivory Coast, going though on away goals.Ivory Coast won the second leg of their tie 2-1 in Abidjan to make the score 2-2 on aggregate.Rebecca Elloh and Tia Ines scored for the Ivorians , who played at the World Cup in Canada last year, before half-time to give the hosts an overall lead. But a goal in the 86th minute from Nevein Gamal made the score 2-2 overall and Egypt progressed on the away goals rule.Zimbabwe were the first team to qualify for the finals with a 4-2 overall win over Zambia on Sunday.The second leg of the final round tie finished 3-2 to visiting Zimbabwe after Zambia had twice came from behind.Kudakwashe Basopo, who scored the only goal of the first leg in Harare, gave Zimbabwe the perfect start with an away goal after just six minutes. Zambia drew level midway through the first half through Noria Sosala but Samkelisiwe Zulu restored the lead for Zimbabwe 10 minutes before the break.Misozi Zulu matched her namesake when she scored from the penalty sport for Zambia to make it 2-2 but Zimbabwe’s Emmaculate Msipa scored a winner with just a minute left to play.It means Zimbabwe’s women have two major tournaments this year after they qualified for the Olympics in Rio.It is the fourth time Zimbabwe have qualified for the continental finals for women, their best showing was fourth place in 2000.Also on Sunday, Equatorial Guinea, who are the only nations apart from Nigeria to have won the African title, booked their place in the finals with a 2-1 win over Mali in Malabo. The result took them through 3-2 on aggregate, however the Confederation of African Football say they are now investigating whether Equatorial Guinea used any ineligible players in the matches.It follows their disqualification from the qualifiers for the women’s football tournament at the Olympics in 2020 after Fifa found them guilty of using ineligible players in the qualifying ties for this year’s Games in Rio – that they failed to reach.  –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

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