Thought experiment: go back to where we stood one year ago, at the beginning of 2012. The Lakers were the undisputed kings of LA, just a year removed from an NBA title. The Galaxy were champs of MLS. The Clippers and Kings were on the rise, but neither had truly staked their claim as a legitimate contender. USC wiped the floor with UCLA (again) in football, while both schools had declined in basketball. The Ducks were last in the Western Conference. And the Dodgers and Angels were both considered contenders but needed to back it up.

By the summer, the Clippers and Lakers had been knocked out in Round 2 after successful seasons. The Dodgers had the best record in baseball, while the Angels were middle-of-the-pack. UCLA basketball and USC football were generating buzz, while their counterparts were still hoping for better times. The Galaxy struggled. The Ducks missed the playoffs.