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100 Days to Kickoff

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Piece by piece, we build the message to game day.

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First Things First

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USC men's golf made it all the way to the NCAA Championship Match last year before being forced to settle for runner-up. Returning the same core players, the Trojans have been motivated all season to finish the tournament off this time around, but first, they need to qualify for the match play by finishing in the top eight of the four-day stroke play event in Eugene, Oregon.

Click here for a preview.

No. 3 USC won three times this season, so they remain one of the favorites to contend for the crown. The Trojans, who will tee off on Friday at 12:20 p.m., are led by All-American duo Rico Hoey and Sean Crocker.

Here is Hoey on the team's camaraderie ahead of the NCAA Tournament:


Fight On Camps: Skills Camp

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Nik and Julian Out

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Spring 2016 Report Card

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Not only did USC's student-athletes accomplish plenty athletically during the just-completed Spring 2016 semester, they also continued to star academically.

USC_Athletics_Graduation_mcgillen_DSC_0703.jpgUSC's 539 student-athletes posted an average semester grade point average of 2.95 in Spring 2016.  That was a slight rise above the Fall 2015 mark of 2.94 and just under the previous Spring 2015 semester's 3.00, which was the highest since calculations were first kept in 2000.

More than half of USC's student-athletes (292) notched a 3.0 or higher GPA this Spring, including 18 with a perfect 4.0.  And 118 of them made USC's Dean's List, including a best of 15 by the women's swimming and diving team.

Twelve of USC's 21 teams had GPAs above 3.0 this Spring, topped by the women's golf squad's 3.36.  The men's team with the highest GPA was swimming and diving with 3.13, its second best figure on record.

Men's basketball recorded its best GPA since records were kept (2.81, nearly a tenth of a point above its previous best that came in the prior Spring).  Men's track and field posted its highest GPA for the second consecutive semester (3.09).  Football's 2.58 GPA tied for its third-highest semester GPA.

The women's water polo team, which won the NCAA championship earlier this month, proved that athletic and academic successes are not mutually exclusive.  The poloists notched their third highest GPA ever (3.13).

Six Trojan teams did not have any student-athlete with a sub-2.0 GPA in Spring 2016: golf, tennis and track and field on the men's side and golf, soccer and swimming and diving on the women's.

The men's basketball (+.37) and women's golf (+.18) teams had the most improved GPAs from Fall 2015 to Spring 2016.

"Once again, we are extremely pleased with the academic performance of our student-athletes," said Dr. Magdi El-Shahawy, USC senior associate athletic director in charge of Student-Athlete Academic Services.  "The bar is set high here and we continue to set it higher.  This validates our culture and our message:  you can succeed both in the classroom and on the playing field at USC.  Doing so at such an academically-demanding university as USC makes it an even more impressive achievement by our student-athletes.

"They, along with our coaches who support their academic pursuits and our staff in Student-Athlete Academic Services, are to be congratulated."

Fight On Camps: 7-on-7

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Pac-12 Before Dark

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The Pac-12 has listened to its fans and now is working to make football kickoff times earlier on Saturdays to avoid so many late nights. The conference reached out to its television partners, FOX Sports and ESPN, to make the request, and it will lead the way by moving Pac-12 Network games to 2:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. starts.

Click here for more on Pac-12 changes.

"The Pac-12 has some of the most loyal fans in college athletics and we appreciate our television partners working with us on this important issue for fans," said Rob Mullens, University of Oregon athletic director. "The increased exposure and revenue from our contracts with ESPN and FOX Sports have been instrumental to our success, but we continue to work hard to minimize as much as possible the negative impact late start times have on our fans who travel great distances to see our teams in person."

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Fight On Camps: OL/DL

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Out Matched

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USC women's golf cruised through four rounds of stroke play to qualify for the NCAA Quarterfinals as the three-seed, but the match play format, which determines the national champion, haunted the Women of Troy for the second consecutive season. USC fell to Duke, 4-1, as only junior Karen Chung (pictured) was able to secure a point for the Trojans.

Click here for the recap.

While the Women of Troy have plenty of postseason experience on their roster, senior Kyung Kim is the only starting player expected to depart. The three-time All-American bounced back from an injury this season to lead the Trojans to a Pac-12 title.

"It's been a great career here," Kim said. "We started with a team title in 2013 and have come so close the last three years to winning another. Today was tough but we ran into a Duke team that played extremely well today."

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Yam Podcasts with Trojan Greats

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Pac-12 Network host Mike Yam has a new podcast, "Give Me A Sense", and his first two guests are USC greats, Ronnie Lott and Matt Leinart.

Click here to listen.

With Lott, Yam discussed the Hall of Famer's most important life lessons, including the mentors that shaped him into the man that he became. Returning the favor, Lott provides advice for young athletes about what it takes to push past failure.

Leinart told the story of his Heisman experiences, winning the trophy in 2003 and losing it to his teammate in 2004. He also shared some NFL stories, taking listeners inside the quarterback room.

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