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A's claim former USC reliever Chad Smith off waivers

Chad Smith will be one of three former USC pitchers in the Oakland Athletics' spring-training camp after being claimed off waivers from the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.

Smith joins reliever Ryan Cook and Barry Zito, who was signed to a one-year minor league deal and an invitation to spring training after not pitching in 2014.

"I'm very thankful for the opportunities the Tigers provided me and looking forward to joining the A's," Smith said. "I have heard nothing but great things about the coaching staff and the organization as a whole. I'm truly excited to be going home to the West Coast."

Smith made his major league debut last season in June and made 10 appearances before being sent back to the minors. The 2011 17th-round selection of the Tigers compiled a 5.40 earned-run average in 11 2/3 innings. He had a 2.68 ERA in 164 2/3 innings spanning three minor league seasons.

At USC, the right-hander made 60 appearances with a 3.77 ERA over three years before having Tommy John surgery...

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USC football morning report

Tweet of the day: "3 DBs I thought helped themselves at the combine: Josh Shaw @USC_Athletics, Ronald Darby @FSU_Football, Eric Rowe @Utah_Football."

     -- Gil Brandt, NFL.com senior analyst

In The Times:

Detroit Lions release former USC standout Reggie Bush

Utah State, Western Michigan and Nevada Las Vegas added to future schedules

USC spring preview: Offensive line

USC to award former coach Pete Carroll honorary degree in May

Basketball: It's bad news all around for the Trojans

USC's Annenberg's media center named for CBS' Leslie Moonves, Julie Chen

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages in a weekly USC Now mailbag. 

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Detroit Lions release former USC standout Reggie Bush

Reggie Bush helped the Detroit Lions reach the NFL playoffs last season, but it was apparently not enough for the Lions to retain the former USC star.

Bush, who rushed for a touchdown in the Lions’ 24-20 wild-card loss to the Dallas Cowboys, was released Wednesday, the team announced.

In 2013, Bush was a free agent and he signed a four-year contract with the Lions that was reportedly worth $16 million. In two seasons, he played in 23 of 25 games, rushing for 1,303 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 94 passes, three for touchdowns.

“You’ve got to look at the contribution versus how much you’re paying the player,” Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew told DetroitLions.com.

The New Orleans Saints chose Bush second overall in the 2006 draft. He played five seasons for the Saints -- helping them win a Super Bowl -- and two for the Miami Dolphins before signing with the Lions.

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages...

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Utah State, Western Michigan and Nevada Las Vegas added to future schedules

USC will play home football games against Utah State in 2016, Western Michigan in 2017 and Nevada Las Vegas in 2019, the school announced.

USC’s previously announced 2016 opener will be against Alabama at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The games against Western Michigan and Las Vegas will be season openers.

USC defeated Utah State, 17-14, in 2013 at the Coliseum to improve to 5-0 against the Aggies. In 1997, the Trojans defeated Las Vegas, 35-21, at the Coliseum.

USC has never played Western Michigan.

Western Michigan’s 

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USC spring preview: Offensive line

USC begins spring practice March 3. We’ll preview each position group before workouts begin.

Offensive line

Departures: Aundrey Walker, Giovanni Di Poalo and Nathan Guertler

Key returning players: Senior Max Tuerk, fourth-year juniors Chad Wheeler and Zach Banner and sophomores Toa Lobendahn, Damien Mama and Viane Talamaivao

Returning players: Fourth-year junior Jordan Simmons, third-year sophomores Khaliel Rodgers and Nico Falah, and redshirt freshmen Chris Brown and Jordan Austin

Newcomers: Freshmen Chuma Edoga and Roy Hemsley

Outlook: Every 2014 starter is back, but the position group has a new coach – Bob Connelly – for the fourth time in four seasons.

Tuerk, who has played guard, tackle and center, is preparing for his fourth season as a starter.

Wheeler is recovering from season-ending knee surgery after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament against Utah.

Lobendahn started 13 games. He moved from left guard to left tackle for the final five games to replace Wheeler.

Rodgers...

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USC to award former coach Pete Carroll honorary degree in May

Pete Carroll, who guided USC to two Associated Press national titles and the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl championship, will be awarded an honorary degree from USC during commencement ceremonies on May 15, the school announced.

Carroll coached at USC from 2001 to 2009 and guided the Trojans back to national prominence.

Carroll left USC after the 2009 season to become coach of the Seahawks.

The Seahawks routed the Denver Broncos to end the 2014 season, making Carroll one of only three coaches to win a college football national title and a Super Bowl.

The Seahawks came close to repeating, but lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl earlier this month.

Carroll, who founded the nonprofit organization A Better L.A. to help stop gang violence, is scheduled to be inducted into USC's Athletic Hall of Fame on May 16.

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