Good luck to USC’s next quarterback, whose first road test for the Trojans will be Sept. 12 at Ohio State. . . .
Mark Sanchez won at Notre Dame in his first road start, but his first two Pacific 10 Conference starts outside the Coliseum -- at Oregon in 2007 and Oregon State in ’08 -- resulted in losses that derailed the Trojans’ national-championship hopes. . . .
Before Sanchez, the last USC quarterback to turn pro before exhausting his eligibility was Todd Marinovich. . . .
We know how that turned out. . . .
On the flip side, Ben Roethlisberger gave up his senior season at Miami of Ohio and won a Super Bowl two years later. . . .
Here’s hoping Sanchez isn’t thrown to the (Detroit) Lions, a prospect that may have kept Sam Bradford at Oklahoma. . . .
Sometimes, such as in the first three quarters of their game against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, the Lakers show almost a total lack of interest in guarding anyone. . . .
That probably won’t cut it Monday night against MVP-in-waiting LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. . . .
James is on the cover of February’s GQ, for which he thanked Commissioner David Stern for instigating a dress code a few years ago: “Ever since he put in the rule about having to get dressed for the game, I had to get dressed.” . . .
Derek Fisher picked the wrong time to try for a steal. . . .
Wild-card teams have never met in the Super Bowl, but that will change if the NFC East runner-up Philadelphia Eagles and AFC North runner-up Baltimore Ravens win Sunday. . . .
Donovan McNabb, whose recent play suggests he is far from finished, hit the nail on the head when he told reporters, “Some of you guys . . . wish you were 32.” . . .
As the world turns: Alex Rodriguez, reportedly dumped by Madonna, has been linked to actress and former Lance Armstrong girlfriend Kate Hudson, who was spotted cavorting on a beach in Hawaii this week with Australian golfer Adam Scott, who won the Nissan Open at Riviera in 2005. . . .
Armstrong, set to launch his comeback next week in the eight-day Tour Down Under in Australia, told reporters this week, “I think it would be unrealistic to expect a victory.” . . .
His fans, of course, expect nothing less. . . .
Three years after Matt Leinart and Vince Young squared off in an epic Rose Bowl, Leinart’s Arizona Cardinals are one victory from the Super Bowl and Young’s Tennessee Titans compiled the NFL’s best regular-season record. . . .
Unfortunately for the young quarterbacks, they’re little more than bit players behind Kurt Warner and Kerry Collins. . . .
More evidence that the NFL draft is an inexact science: In 1996, 25 players were taken ahead of Ray Lewis. . . .
The top pick that year was Keyshawn Johnson. . . .
Peyton Manning’s comedic timing is such that, even if another Super Bowl is not in his future, a sitcom might be. . . .
Probably by the end of this season, Shaquille O’Neal will have missed more free throws than Wilt Chamberlain. . . .
Responding to an item about the difficulty of picking an all-time Lakers starting five, reader Jerry Sondler of Rhode Island e-mails to say, “Try picking two forwards among Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Kevin McHale, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett” for a Boston Celtics all-time team. . . .
Pepperdine scoring leader Mychel Thompson is a son of Lakers announcer and former Lakers big man Mychal Thompson, but USC reserve Marcus Johnson is no relation to Fox announcer and former UCLA All-American Marques Johnson. . . .
A swell originating from Hawaii failed to materialize as hoped, so the Mavericks Surf Contest is on hold again. . . .
Marta, who will join the Los Angeles Sol of a new women’s pro soccer league, is a three-time world player of the year known to Brazilian fans as “Pele with skirts.” . . .
Rickey Henderson, voted into the Hall of Fame this week, says he’s ready to continue playing if anyone will have him. . . .
Born Rickey Nelson Henley -- he was named after Ricky Nelson, the youngest son of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson of television fame -- Henderson turned 50 on Christmas Day.