USC fined for Deflate-gate, but airs out their claim of innocence
The supposed competitive advantage of deflated footballs is that they are allegedly easier to grip, throw, and catch. Additionally, the home team and away team use different sets of balls -- meaning deflating your own team's footballs is indeed a one-sided competitive advantage.
The university noted on their official web site that USC was fined for using deflated game balls, and reprimanded by the PAC-12. Officials reportedly found three conspicuously limp footballs pre-game, and two at the halftime break -- all of which were duly reinflated. USC has dismissed the student equipment manager involved, who apparently has admitted to intentionally deflating the footballs.
USC coach Lane Kiffin assures us he has no involvement and there is nothing here to see. "Had no effect on the game. If anything, it would have a negative effect, to be throwing two different types of balls, for a quarterback," Kiffin told the OC Register. "I was just disappointed because it was just a distraction that we didn’t need.
Oh, Lane Kiffin just hates media distractions.
It's another unseemly mess for USC, who still lost the game to No. 4 Oregon. Lane Kiffin's Trojans have already raised eyebrows with a jersey-switching scandal and Kiffin's walk-off of a press conference. Kiffin committed his first recruiting violation just ten days into his new job when hired by USC in January.
None of these indiscretions individually is enough to put Kiffin's job at risk. That it was the single worst game ever for a USC defense, though, is enough to flatten Kiffin's Trojan tenure for good.