Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports

After years of sanctions, firings, and loss scholarships; it appeared as if things had settled down at USC. This was the first year that the staff could sign a full class of recruits thanks to the Reggie Bush scandal that occurred a decade ago. The team was ranked #8 in the preseason AP poll and was picked to win the Pac-12. But it seems for every step forward the program takes, there’s always something, or someone, who then takes another step backward. In this case it was coach Steve Sarkisian.

On Saturday night USC held their annual Salute to Troy event which is the official kickoff to football season. The entire Trojan team and many alums were in attendance for what is usually a nondescript event. They ‘Coach Sark’ took the stage, obviously drunk according to those in attendance, and went ahead and embarrassed the program, and himself.

According to SB Nation, Sarkisian slurred his words when he addressed the crowd and dropped the F-bomb when introducing his own team. He apparently also said Oregon, Arizona State, and Notre Dame all ‘suck.’ (Why just stop there? I’m guessing he was too drunk to remember the rest of the teams in the Pac-12).

USC athletic director Pat Haden then yanked Sarkisian off stage before he could finish his ‘speech’ and reportedly berated the coach backstage. Early Sunday USC posted an apology from Sarkisian on its website.

According to an ESPN report, a team source supplied video of the event to ESPN who confirmed all of the above happening. Many people, presumably in attendance, have been tweeting about the event but thus far, no public video has emerged…yet. But these things always seem to find a way to be leaked in due time.

USC’s opener on September 5 can’t come soon enough.

Ross Kelly is an Associated Producer for CBS Local Sports. He is from Louisiana and is a fan of all sports, but not of any teams (except LSU). He can be reached at ross.kelly@cbs.com.