The venerable Gold Sheet sums up why USC-Arizona is not a marquee game: “Probation-haunted SC’s psyche perhaps fragile after any thoughts of running the table were dashed at ASU, while UA’s volatile HC Mike Stoops might require 24-hour watch after his Cats have
dropped 8 straight vs. FBS foes.”
Someone at USC suggested no matter what Lane Kiffin says, he gets criticized after a game. He said Kiffin’s already been pilloried for being too negative (the two offensive players comment after Minnesota) and too positive (saying he was encouraged after Arizona State) following games.
Another suggested to me that maybe the problem was Kiffin was too negative after one game and too positive after a loss and needed to find a middle ground.
The referee for Saturday’s USC-Arizona game will be Jay Stricherz. He might be best remembered for the 2009 USC-Oregon State game when Taylor Mays ripped the helmet off wide receiver James Rogers in the end zone but did not call an obvious face mask penalty.
Commissioner Larry Scott later suspended an unnamed referee for a game based on that play and some reports said Stricherz was the game official closest to the play.
USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin defended the Trojans’ run defense against Arizona State.
“If you take away the (70-yard) touchdown they only had 99 yards on 35 carries,” Kiffin said. “That’s not bad.”