With the state of professional football in the golden state at an existential crisis, it’s a good thing Californians have highly paid amateur athletes to give them their desperately needed football fix.

Three schools, USC, UCLA and California, are ranked in the top-25 nationally, and two of them have legitimate chances at a national championship. If Cal had any luck (the Golden Bears have suffered a bevy of key injuries thus far), it would be a three-team, all-California race for the Pac-10 title and all three teams would have been in the running for a BCS bowl bid the last week of the season.

Being a UCSB student, I live my college football life like L.A. folks live their NFL life – vicariously. I’ve watched over my Golden Bears like my parents have watched over me – from a distance but with caring concern.

Last year, Cal erased 40 years of general shame and anguish by beating everyone but USC in the Pac-10. I was happy.

With expectations high this year, Jeff Tedford and company were set to pick up where they left last year and follow supreme sophomore Marshan Lynch all the way to Pasadena. Then they lost to UCLA and Oregon State and I was sad.

In roughly a week and a half, Cal will have the opportunity to avenge its loss from a year ago, and two weeks after that, UCLA could be playing for a national championship. The following is a list of why you should root for a USC loss in these two games:

– You are a UC student, and thereby a derivative of Cal. You owe the early founders at Cal at least that much.

– We may have an inferiority complex in relation to UCLA, but deep down we know we have more fun than they do, so therefore you pity them. Pity points equal complete and utter devotion to their cause.

– USC students are the kind of kids who will tell someone else to get a sponge instead of getting it themselves. Then they spill wine over your floor and you yell at them and they cry. Then you hit them. You didn’t want to have to hit them…

– Half the nation knows USC quarterback Matt Leinart’s class schedule (Ballroom Dancing). Don’t you think half the nation should know your grueling 18-unit schedule? OK, it’s just 12 units, but a social life is virtually a four-unit class.

– If you work for the University, they make you sign an oath of sorts. I’m pretty sure that legally binds you to root for UC schools. I think the Governator can veto you on his line-item budget if you don’t. I think he can and he will. Boo.

– By rooting against USC, you can say, “I rooted against USC and all I got was this lousy predilection for girls in white sweaters.”

– USC’s cheerleaders wear white sweaters. Seems peculiar.

– USC has won the past two national titles, and if there’s anything I hate more than the Yankees, it’s the Red Sox.

– Reggie Bush rhymes with “Wedgie Tush,” and that just sounds bad.

– The phrase “It must be all those Ballroom dancing classes Dan Fouts.”

– L.A. traffic.

– Trojan fans will surely be complaining now that Texas is ranked ahead of them in the most recent BCS poll. UCLA is also undefeated but ranked seventh. Whose got a bigger gribe?