Home / Robert Farley / Trojan Fail

Trojan Fail


I’m just gonna come out and say it: The failure rate of Trojans is way, way too high for comfort.

From ESPN LA: “USC fired a student manager for deflating five game balls below regulation levels for the USCOregon game last Saturday, the school announced late Wednesday.”

Deflated balls are easier to catch and hold on to, so the idea is the manager was trying to help the Trojans offense. The Pac-12 has fined and reprimanded USC.

USC also reported this:

When informed of this allegation by the Pac-12, USC investigated it immediately. The student manager confirmed that he had, without the knowledge of, or instruction from, any USC student-athlete, coach, staff member or administrator, deflated those game balls after they had been tested and approved by officials prior to the game.

So this unnamed manager acted alone and without the knowledge of anyone else. Hmm. Pause for a second and allow your credulity to catch up. Now slap your forehead and shake your head. My guess is you just duplicated what USC AD Pat Haden did when he first learned of this small but notable embarrassment.

Chip Kelly was uncharacteristically laconic: “”This story means absolutely nothing to Oregon Ducks.” However, I’m sure that Marcus Mariota was thankful, and that Kenjon Barner found it much easier to run for 321 yards with the deflated pigskins…

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  • Fighting Words

    “Failure rate of Trojans?” “Deflated balls?” It took me a while to realize this was a post about college football.

    • That was the point. I think.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        Some college needs to name their team “Durex”
        (Durexes? Duri? does it even have a plural?)

  • FWIW, as a UCLA Bruins fan, I thought that story was funny/pathetic. However, it wouldn’t have made any difference to Oregon, because teams are allowed to provide their own footballs, as long as they conform to NCAA standards. So deflating the USC balls would only affect Oregon in that it made it easier to intercept Matt Barkley.

  • Stan Gable

    How is this different than ND letting the grass grow to a height of a small forest during the Reggie Bush era?

    Not saying it’s right or anything but color me not shocked.

    • Eric

      There’s a regulation air pressure. In other words, it’s explicitly against the rules.

  • Njorl

    I don’t think this would help USC. If, however, bets were placed disproportionately on the “under”, this would be useful.

    • Ken

      Obviously, this did not help the USC defense very much.

    • Richard

      It only had the possibility of effecting the “over” since each team supplies their own balls on offense. The hope was that SC would catch more passes with deflated balls. Since they scored over 50 points, however, the problem wasn’t with the SC offense

  • Big Al

    Snark aside, this wouldn’t have helped Mariota and Barner, since in college each team provides their own footballs – the Ducks wouldn’t have been using the USC footballs on offense. Now, it might have helped the punt and kick returners, as if they really needed any…

    • Njorl

      I find it hard to believe that Oregon supplies their own footballs. Surely they’d be bright metallic green with flashing Nike swooshes on them if that were so.

      • JustRuss

        Christ, don’t give them any ideas.

  • Leeds man

    They should’ve called themselves Myrmidons.

    • Anonymous

      With a name like Trojans I would expect them to lose each game at the end due to a trick play.

  • 7-5

    Lane Kiffin is all class.

    • ADM

      LGM comment threads are the best. Particularly on sports.

  • USC’s one of the most interesting stories in college football this year. Quite a few people picked them to be the team that would lose to the SEC in the BCS championship game (Buckeyes being unavailable this year), but they look pretty weak.

    Was it just hype or is there some fail going on?

    Do you think Barkley regrets his decision to stay?

    • Richard

      I don think it was hype. They looked pretty strong going into the season and they still look very strong at times. The problem is their defense is porous. I was at the game on Saturday and the ease with which Oregon scored the first two touchdowns was astonishing. I know Oregon is a great offensive team but they completed four passes on that first drive where there wasn’t a SC defender in sight.

      I don’t think Barkley regrets the decision. He’s still going to be a top ten draft pick. And his play in the Oregon game was excellent especially on those two long passes that went for touchdowns. But when your defense gives up 62 points, you aren’t going to win many games.

      • agorabum

        also very inconsistent; a general lack of discipline. Penalties played key roles in their other two losses, and the offense just sputtered against Stanford.
        Lot of talent so certainly could win out (and even be forced to play Oregon again in the Pac-12 title game), but not good enough to make that any sort of sure thing.

    • Eric

      It was hype. They do have a lot of talent based on several top recruiting classes. They won against Oregon and went on a winning streak the rest of the season against mediocre competition.

      But they have depth issues related to scholarship restrictions, and they didn’t have a bowl game to really prove their mettle (and get some extra practices in.) So essentially people just plugged in the recruiting rankings, the winning streak, and the USC aura and came up with a preseason #1, despite some of the glaring weaknesses on defense.

  • Sherm

    “AD Pat Haden.” Is that the Rams quarterback from the late 70’s? If so, that’s a real blast from the past.

    • Richard

      Yes and former qb for USC where he led them to two national tiles. Also a Rhodes Scholar. Somewhat of a legend in Southern California.

      • Sherm

        Thanks. I remember him sharing playing time with James Harris before being replaced by Vince Ferragamo.

      • fourmorewars

        Love Pat, but it’s one title, ’74. I think Mike Rae was QB in ’72.

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