Thousands of USC football fans are suffering from amnesia. . . .
They can't remember anything that happened from 1987 to 1990. . . .
All the Larry Smith-bashers know is that the Trojans are 3-5 and reeling in 1991. . . .
They forget that Smith took his first three USC teams to the Rose Bowl, his fourth to the John Hancock Bowl and compiled a 35-12-2 record for the 1987-90 seasons. . . .
During the same stretch, Don James of Washington was 31-15-1 and coached in only one Rose Bowl game. . . .
Now James is unbeaten and the toast of Seattle. Smith is being criticized not only in Los Angeles, but in Berkeley, where the Golden Bears and their coaching staff are still gloating over the 52-30 blitz of the Trojans Saturday. . . .
Of course, USC fans are among the most spoiled in the nation. The John McKay and John Robinson years did it to them. . . .
USC may never regain such a dominant position. Stiffer entrance requirements have something to do with it. USC does not admit Proposition 48 casualties. McKay and Robinson relied heavily on junior college transfers. It is no longer easy for them to gain admittance. . . .
But there is little reason to believe that Smith won't be able to bring the Trojans back to the Rose Bowl reasonably soon. Only three of his probable starters against Washington this Saturday at the Coliseum are seniors. Among those who may be surprised next season is the Cal assistant who said the USC football program is in disarray. . . .
Again, the Raiders have discovered just how important Marcus Allen is to them. . . .
Jim Everett was the only NFL quarterback to pass for at least 300 yards last weekend. . . .
Bill Parcells' reputation as a coach keeps growing with every New York Giant defeat. . . .
The third-most important position in pro football is third-string quarterback. . . .
Circle Dec. 22 on your calendar: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play host to the Indianapolis Colts. . . .
The Detroit Lions haven't won outdoors or lost indoors this season. . . .
You wonder how the Houston Oilers, who have no tight ends, were able to prepare for the Washington Redskins, who sometimes use three at the same time. . . .
The Green Bay Packers haven't rushed for 100 yards in any of their last 14 games. . . .
Bobby Gridiron is a defensive back for Bakersfield College. . . .
Every time I watch John Stockton play, I am reminded why Isiah Thomas wasn't selected to the U.S. Olympic basketball team. . . .
An emerging star is Orlando Magic guard Nick Anderson. . . .
Look-alikes: Otis Thorpe and Denzel Washington. . . .
Dennis Hopson could blossom in Sacramento, where he will get more playing time than he did in Chicago. . . .
The NBA has become an international league. Rosters include players who were born in Lithuania, the Soviet Union, Germany, Zaire, Australia, Yugoslavia, the Bahamas, Sudan, Holland, Haiti, Lebanon, Nigeria, Venezuela, Egypt, Canada, England and Panama. . . .
Bill Russell's replacement as a coach in the Dodger dugout should be Joe Ferguson. I got a baseball education just listening to Ferguson in the press box last season. . . .
Former Dodger and Angel pitcher Bill Singer has been signed to scout for the expansion Florida Marlins. . . .
Here's an all-star team of free agents: 1B--Wally Joyner, 2B--Willie Randolph, SS--Kurt Stillwell, 3B--Steve Buechele, OF--Bobby Bonilla, Danny Tartabull, Dan Gladden; C--Brian Harper, starting pitchers--Orel Hershiser, Mike Morgan, Frank Viola, Tom Candiotti; relief pitchers--Alejandro Pena, Mitch Williams. Another possibility is Jack Morris, who has not yet exercised his option to become a free agent. . . .
With only two years remaining on the national TV baseball contract, only teams in major markets may be able to offer long-term contracts. . . .
Most surprising dead heat of the year was between In Excess and Tight Spot for ninth place in the Breeders' Cup Mile. . . .
The two fights I would most like to see are Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Pernell Whitaker and Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson. . . .
College graduate and former heavyweight contender Bonecrusher Smith, 38, should pursue other career opportunities after losing a lopsided decision to Levi Billups Monday night at the Forum. . . .
Muhammad Ali has adopted a baby boy, his ninth child. . . .
The Holyfield-Francesco Damiani fight on Nov. 23 will be the biggest in Atlanta since Ali emerged from a forced retirement to stop Jerry Quarry in the third round Oct. 26, 1970.
Now that the San Jose Sharks of the NHL are off to a 1-15 start, I can't wait for the debuts of the Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning next season--or the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies of the National League in 1993.