UCLA already has the Pac-12 South clinched. Their opponent in the championship game would be either Stanford or Oregon, depending on whether the Bruins won or lost against the Cardinal on Saturday. Well, UCLA lost, 35-17, and they'll have their rematch in just four days. Where the rest of us see one of those quirks of scheduling, Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers sees a conspiracy: UCLA played tough for a quarter, he believes, proving to themselves that they can hang with Stanford. After that, Simers says, they gave up because they'd rather face Stanford than Oregon.

Armed with this theory, Simers commandeered coach Jim Mora Jr.'s postgame press conference. Interrupting Mora and other reporters with a series of statements (as Mora points out, none of them are actually phrased as questions), Simers repeatedly tried to get the coach to admit he told his team to stop trying. This went exactly as you'd expect: an increasingly testy Mora giving boilerplate answers as an increasingly testy media corps tries to get Simers to shut up. The net knowledge in the universe actually dropped as Simers badgerd Mora, and to what end?

I've never thought reporters were just stenographers to ask questions and write everything down without offering some feedback. Often the feedback leads to better answers, a coach taken out of his automatic-pilot response to most questions.

Those better answers led to this column, in which Simers basically gives a transcription of Mora's presser, interspersed with his own snarky asides about how they're bullshit. Discourse: elevated. The best summation comes in the comment section, where a reader complains that "I pay good money for a daily newspaper."

This is par for the course for the once-vital Simers these days—last time he appeared on this site, he was literally picking fights in the Dodgers' locker room. To give Simers credit, and he can still throw the fastball when he wants, he never shies from using his press credential and confronting his subjects. But when he does it to create a story instead of furthering it, it's not reporting—it's a stunt. Any time a columnist is focus of a column, it's usually in pursuit of an argument not worth making.

Jim Mora Jr. argues with columnist over UCLA's effort: 'You don't scare me' [CoachingSearch.com]
Just wondering about UCLA's motivation against Stanford [LA Times]