Unbuckling the mailbag:
Question: I can understand why you don't read your own lousy newspaper, but USC is ranked No. 25 [by the Associated Press]. Don't worry, we will never accuse you of being a homer.
I realize it is old news, but your sports section should be entitled the "Little Daily Bruin."
And, when is the "Rankman" going to get funny?
Answer: Thanks for easing us into this year's mailbag with a banana cream pie in my face. All I ask of you readers is to give 110% on every question and bring your best heat from Day One.
Here's my position on USC: The Trojans were my preseason No. 1 last year and they ended up losing the Sun Bowl to Georgia Tech.
Lane Kiffin reshuffled his staff and I reshuffled my thinking and thought it best to place the Trojans where the Sun Bowl doesn't shine — not in my rankings.
Think of this in hockey terms: USC embarrassed Rankman and had to go to the penalty box for a major misconduct infraction — high shtick-ing.
USC now has to crawl back on its hands and kneepads, one game at a time, and let's just say the Hawaii effort wasn't worthy of a call up from triple-A Pawtucket.
I'm going to let the Trojans stew a bit in the twilight red zone. In my mind, they are a No. 26 to 30 team but have the time, and the schedule strength, to quickly move into the top 10.
Ah, but do they have the talent?
Please keep subscribing to the "Little Daily Bruin." We're also known, by UCLA fans, as "The Trojan Times."
It is interesting that our "negative" coverage of either team seems directly related to its win-loss record. Meaning, if the UCLA Bruins are doing well there tends to be more positive stories than if they were 0-12. And if USC is doing so poorly the coverage tends not to be as rosy.
When is Rankman going to get funny?
I've only been in the rankings business since 1995 — give me some time.
Q: What's up for the L.A. college football supremacy this year? Who's going to be groovy?
A: Great question Hip, or do you prefer I call you Freak? I sense the same cosmopolitan momentum shift I felt in the early 2000s when Pete Carroll arrived at USC in the midst of UCLA's dominance of the series.
Jim Mora is not Pete Carroll yet, by a longshot, but he has a chance to seize on the slow-bleed NCAA sanctions that are making USC vulnerable.