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Thursday (The case of the deflated balls) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under NCAA: football Updated: November 8, 2012 - 9:34 AM

Well this is one of the oddest stories we have read for a while. Per ESPN.com (our bold):

USC fired a student manager for deflating five game balls below regulation levels for the USC-Oregon game last Saturday, the school announced late Wednesday.

The manager, who was not named, admitted to deflating footballs used in the game, according to a report on the school's website. In the report, USC said no coaches, players, staffers or administrators had any knowledge of the manager's actions, which reportedly took place after game officials tested the balls well before kickoff.

Three balls were then found to be in violation of NCAA regulations before the game began, and two more were discovered at halftime, meaning some first-half plays featured slightly deflated footballs.

USC announced in the statement that it had been fined and reprimanded by the Pac-12 office, though the amount of the fine was not specified.

It was not immediately known why the manager deflated the footballs. Underinflated footballs typically travel at a slower speed than fully inflated balls and are thought to be easier to catch and throw.

Well, we have one guess: slowing down Oregon's frenetic offense (which confuses defenses about as much as their web site confuses visitors). The Ducks are, after all, No. 1 in D-I in points per game.

Then again, a small part of us -- while loathing cheating -- does love this throwback attempt at bending the rules. It's like letting the infield grass grow long against a top-hitting team or creating chippy ice against good skaters.

In any event, the 62 points scored by Oregon -- 34 of them in the first half -- mean it probably didn't work so well.

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