It's mid-September and all four of our local teams — Dodgers, Angels, USC, UCLA — are out of the pennant chase.
When do the Lakers open camp?
USC can't win the Pacific 10 Conference because of NCAA sanctions and the Trojans, given how they've played, may need to pick up the pace (and the hankies) just to match last year's tied-for-fifth finish.
UCLA will win the Pac-10 only if eight other teams get slapped with probation between now and November. The Bruins' best hope for a bowl game is the Rose (five more home games).
USC is 2-0 to UCLA's 0-2, but any Trojan who gloats should be sent to the penalty box, to join Lane Kiffin's "Fraud Street Bullies," who have already racked up 24 infractions for 240 yards.
If you think that's harsh, you should hear what Kiffin thinks about his team.
USC's opener at Hawaii was marred by 36 points and 588 yards given up, while Saturday's 17-14 escape against Virginia was marred by just about everything else.
USC's offense generated 329 yards of offense at home against Virginia, four yards fewer than I-AA Richmond totaled the previous week at Virginia.
The Trojans still have two more terrific chances to look lousy in victory, next week at Minnesota, coming off a loss to South Dakota, followed by the Pac-10 opener at woeful Washington State.
UCLA, barring a powder blue blood transfusion, with upcoming games against points machine Houston and machine Texas, is staring down the pistol barrel of 0-4.
It's no barrel of laughs.
Every other Pac-10 team that played Saturday won — even Washington State.
Rick Neuheisel's three-year plan to have UCLA competitive again has just been revised to four (he hopes).
— When will coaches learn the perils of putting the outcomes of games in the hands of first-year freshmen?
Marshall Coach Doc Holliday, a rookie himself, suffered the crushing consequences Friday night. With Marshall holding a 21-6 lead over archrival West Virginia, and needing only a field goal to clinch victory, freshman running back Tron Martinez was allowed to fumble at the opponent's four-yard line. West Virginia marched 96 yards for a score, then 98, sent the game to overtime and won.
Why was Martinez in?
"He's had a hell of a camp," Holliday said.
— Let's pay attention to everyone's schedule.
Boise State remained at No. 3 but lost ground in the Associated Press poll. The price of Virginia Tech's home loss to James Madison was Boise State losing all seven first-place votes it picked up after beating the Hokies last Monday.
Wonder if voters will put the same kind of scrutiny to Alabama this season when the Crimson Tide plays host to Georgia State, a start-up program led by former Crimson Tide coach Bill Curry.
Georgia State lost Saturday to NAIA Lambuth University, which has 653 students, many of whom are on the football team.
— Last Matt Barkley vs. Aaron Corp comparison ever — we promise. Barkley is a super sophomore on his way to great things, but that will never change the rotten way Corp lost his starting job last summer before transferring to Richmond.
Coincidentally, Corp and Barkley faced Virginia in consecutive weeks. Corp, playing for a I-AA school with four new offensive linemen, amassed 333 total yards in a 34-13 loss. Corp completed 18 of 32 passes for 182 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per completion. He also ran three times for 23 yards. Barkley's offense totaled 329 yards against Virginia. He completed 20 of 35 passes for 202 yards, with two touchdowns, averaging 5.8 yards per completion. He also had three carries for one yard.
— Oregon looks scary good. The Ducks overcame a slow start in Knoxville to pummel Tennessee, 48-13, in Neyland Stadium. In two games, Oregon has scored 120 points in 120 minutes, with Portland State next on the schedule. Oregon's slow start against Tennessee might be blamed on Coach Chip Kelly's early-game day dreaming.
"I mean, this place is impressive," he said afterward. "I tell my players all the time, 'Don't look at the stadium,' but I was looking at the stadium."
Oregon's No. 6 ranking in Sunday's USA Today coaches' poll is the school's highest this early.
— Michigan sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson has been the most impressive player — by far — through two weekends. The question is whether Robinson can take the pounding. He's already carried the ball a nation-leading 41 times. "He's a great player," Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, also a great player, said after Michigan's 28-24 win in South Bend.
Robinson passed for 244 yards and rushed for 258. Cautionary note: Michigan started 4-0 last year before losing seven of its last eight.
— To think last spring people were plotting to break up the Big 12. The conference is 21-3 through two weeks. Compare and contrast: Big Ten (17-4), Pac-10 (14-5), Southeastern (18-6), Atlantic Coast (15-8), Big East (10-6).
— Comeback team of the week award: Kansas, which followed its brutal 6-3 opening loss to North Dakota State with a brilliant win over Georgia Tech.
— You almost saw this coming. Jacksonville State, which scored an opening-week win at Mississippi, had to rally this weekend to beat Chattanooga, 21-17.