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Trojans Deflated Balls: Plus College Football Schedule

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Things just kept piling on for the USC Trojans this week.

You really can't make this up. On Wednesday night, USC announced one of their student managers for the football team had been fired for deflating game balls during the Trojans game against the Oregon Ducks. Isn't that the most appropriate imagery of the Trojans season?

It's really embarrassing. I told anyone who asked that the Trojans would run away with the BCS title this season. After the year he had quarterback Matt Barkley was poised to have a Heisman season while the team returned most of their starters. It was all set up for the Trojans. Hell, they even played it up with Barkley telling the press there was unfinished business when he announced his return for his senior year.

Instead in Week 3, the Trojans laid a complete egg against Stanford on The Farm despite the Cardinal having no Andrew Luck and no Jim Harbaugh. This is a Stanford team that is working on their second starting quarterback and not because of injury mind you. Fortunately I had dropped out of society altogether by this time, and I didn't have to own up to my very very wrong prediction.

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Everything looked to be getting back on track until Halloween weekend when they choked in the second half to Arizona in Tuscon losing 39-36. It came as no surprise, then, that Oregon ran all over the Trojans last week in the Coliseum fully inflated balls or no.

And you know what's even worse? The UCLA Bruins are sitting above the Trojans in the standings and the rankings. The Bruins are 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the conference with USC at 6-3 overall and 4-3 in the conference. The Bruins are ranked 17 in the AP poll, 19 in the Coaches poll and 18 in the BCS. The Trojans are 21 in the AP poll, 22 in the Coaches poll and 19 in the BCS.

Oh the humanity.

A lot will be decided next weekend when the USC-UCLA game will be played in the Rose Bowl. But for the Trojans in their first year of bowl eligibility after two years, their return to the postseason could just wind up being the Las Vegas Bowl against Boise State.

I realize that the coaching staff and the athletic department had no idea this manager was going to mess around with the balls, but how much of this was part of a culture that head coach Lane Kiffin helped foster? It was his (or his coaching staff's) idea to have a backup quarterback switch jerseys with a kicker in hopes to score a two-point conversion against Colorado. He kicked out the Daily News Scott Wolf for blogging about a player having surgery.

We all know about Kiffin's prior history of shenanigans and gamesmanship every where he has been. So at what point does athletic director Pat Haden let him go?

Haden was in charge of cleaning up the program after the mess his predecessor Mike Garrett left him. Kiffin was a Garrett hire, so how much tolerance does Haden have for Kiffin?

Perhaps a bad omen for Kiffin was the Lakers firing Mike Brown after five games. Whether he stays or he goes, here is this week's television schedule.

Arkansas at South Carolina. 9:00 a.m. CBS.
Louisville at Syracuse. 9:00 a.m. ABC.
Missouri at Tennessee. 9:00 a.m. KDOC.
Army at Rutgers. 9:00 a.m. ESPNU.
Northwestern at Michigan. 9:00 a.m. ESPN.
Wisconsin at Indiana. 9:00 a.m. ESPN2.
Kansas at Texas Tech. 9:00 a.m. FSWest.
Southeast Missouri State at Eastern Illinois. 9:00 a.m. Fox College Sports.
St. Francis (PA) at Monmouth. 9:00 a.m. Fox College Sports Atlantic.
Colgate at Lehigh. 9:00 a.m. CBS Sports Net.
Harvard at Pennsylvania. 9:00 a.m. NBC Sports Net.
Colorado at Arizona. 10:30 a.m. FX.

Oregon State at Stanford. Noon Fox.
Arizona State at USC. Noon Pac-12 Net.
Texas A&M at Alabama. 12:30 p.m. CBS.
Penn State at Nebraska. 12:30 p.m. ABC.
Maryland at Clemson. 12:30 p.m. ESPNU.
West Virginia at Oklahoma State. 12:30 p.m. ESPN2.
Baylor at Oklahoma. 12:30 p.m. FSWest.
South Dakota State at North Dakota State. 12:30 p.m. Fox College Sports Central.
Air Force at San Diego State. 12:30 p.m. NBC Sports Net.

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Tulsa at Houston. 2:00 p.m. CBS Sports Net.

Kansas State at TCU. 4:00 p.m. Fox.
UNLV at Colorado State. 4:00 p.m. TWC SportsNet.
Vanderbilt at Mississippi. 4:00 p.m. ESPNU.
Mississippi State at LSU. 4:00 p.m. ESPN.
Georgia at Auburn. 4:00 p.m. ESPN2.
Southern Mississippi at SMU. 4:00 p.m. FSWest.
Central Florida at UTEP. 4:00 p.m. Fox College Sports Atlantic.
Boise State at Hawaii. 4:00 p.m. NBC Sports Net.
Notre Dame at Boston College. 5:15 p.m. ABC.

Idaho at BYU. 7:15 p.m. ESPNU.
Utah at Washington. 7:30 p.m. Pac-12 Net.
Oregon at California. 7:30 p.m. ESPN.
UCLA at Washington State. 7:30 p.m. ESPN2.
Fresno State at Nevada. 7:30 p.m. NBC Sports Net.

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