What's wrong with you mailbag contributors? Oregon State opened its season with a home win against Wisconsin, the defending Big Ten Conference champion. Oregon State has also scored road wins over UCLA and Brigham Young.
Mississippi State's best win is a choice between Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee. Those schools are now a combined 0-17 in Southeastern Conference play. Mississippi State's nonconference schedule tackled a murderers' row of Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama and Middle Tennessee.
Mississippi State's worst defeat is easy . . . that was last week's wipeout at Alabama.
Q: This is a statement game for Oregon and they will be out to prove they are the best in the country. What are the most points ever scored against USC? That record is about to be broken.
A: Wow, that's a tough one. The most points USC has ever allowed an opponent? Well, I called the research department, scoured the archives, made phone calls and found out you have to go all the way back to . . . last year.
If you want to count only regulation-length games, well, then you have to go all the way back 2009, when Stanford scored 55 in points in a win over USC at the Coliseum.
"What's your deal?" Pete Carroll snipped at Jim Harbaugh.
"What's your deal?" Harbaugh retorted.
Things were so much simpler way back then.
A: You make an interesting point. That comeback at Ohio State in 2009 figured to be the first of many for the freshman Barkley. But he hasn't had that kind of moment since. Barkley has had a remarkably strange career. He set the Pac-12 record for career touchdown passes, but has never made first-team all-conference.
Barkley had no shot his first year, when he threw 15 touchdown passes and had 14 passes intercepted. Then he got aced out the last two years by Stanford's Andrew Luck. No shame there.
Barkley seemed a first-team lock as a senior, but another loss might even take him out of this year's running. Here's an interesting stat: Against Hawaii, Syracuse and Colorado, Barkley has 16 touchdown passes and one interception. In all other games, Barkley has nine touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has 11 career losses as USC's quarterback and, thanks in part to NCAA probation, has only played in the Emerald Bowl.
Barkley's legacy is at a tipping point — this last month can define him. He can still make first-team All-Pac-12 if he finishes strong against Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA and Notre Dame. He can still lead the comeback wins his career has been lacking.
If he loses once more, or twice, then we'll have to reassess his place in league history and wonder whether coming back for his senior year was the right move.
Q: Call me stupid, but I just reread your entire article about the BCS in the L.A. Times and still have no idea what the BCS is. Shouldn't you mention at least once what an acronym stands for?