Southern California breaking news and trends

Manti Te'o tells ESPN that acquaintance confessed to bizarre 'dead' girlfriend hoax

2012 Heisman Trophy Presentation

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Heisman finalists linebacker Manti Te'o of the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish speaks during a press conference prior to the 78th Heisman Trophy Presentation at the Marriott Marquis on December 8, 2012 in New York City.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o insisted he had no role in the bizarre hoax involving his "dead" girlfriend and told ESPN on Friday night that he was duped by a person who has since apologized to him.

In an off-camera interview Friday with ESPN, Te'o said Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old acquaintance who lives in California, contacted him two days ago and confessed to the prank. first exposed the scheme on Wednesday and indicated Tuiasosopo was involved in it.

"I wasn't faking it," ESPN quoted Te'o as saying during the 2 1/2 hour interview. "I wasn't part of this. When they hear the facts they'll know. They'll know there is no way I could be a part of this."

Te'o said he first met Tuiasosopo in person after the Southern California game in November. According to the linebacker, Tuiasosopo told him he was the cousin of Lennay Kekua, the woman who Te'o believed he had fallen for through Internet chats and long phone conversations. But Kekua never existed.


The undefeated Fighting Irish take on the disappointing Trojans tonight at USC

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

USC lined up against Notre Dame in 2011.

The Fighting Irish couldn't have asked for a sweeter Saturday night in Southern California.  Notre Dame comes into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with a perfect 11-0 record, ranked number one in the country, and their most hated rival is battered and bruised and minus its starting quarterback.

In a rivalry that goes back to 1926, that scrappy bearded leprechaun with clenched fists is drooling at the chance to use the USC Trojans as the exclamation point to its dream season.

But on any given Saturday any team can win, even the 7-4 Trojans, who are coming off a disappointing defeat to UCLA.

So what do you think? Can USC provide a devastating upset and ruin its rival's perfect season? Or will it be an embarrassing blow-out?


Poll: Will USC beat Colorado by more than 41 points?

California v USC

Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

The USC Trojans enter the field before a game against the California Golden Bears at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 27-9.

The most interesting part of today's game between the 11th ranked USC Trojans against the flailing Colorado Buffaloes is to see how wide the margin of victory may be.

Southern Cal, who has only lost one game this season, is favored by 41 points against the Buffs - who have only won one game.

The other sideshow to the game will be that the Stanley Cup will be in attendence at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and will be part of the halftime festivities.

So the question is: will the Trojans run up the scoreboard and beat the Buffaloes by more than 41 points or will the game be closer?


Who has a better chance of winning today: USC or UCLA?

Rose Bowl Renovation

Andres Aguila/KPCC

The Rose Bowl will host the UCLA - Houston game Saturday night.

The second-ranked USC Trojans travel north to battle the Stanford Cardinal this afternoon in what promises to be a excellent Pac-12 matchup. 

Meanwhile down in Pasadena Brett Hundley and his 22nd-ranked UCLA Bruins host the winless Houston Cougars at the Rose Bowl tonight.

Both USC and UCLA are undefeated in the young season and they each have something to prove.

Trojan quarterback Matt Barkley has never beaten Stanford and the Bruins would like to confirm that they deserve to be a ranked NCAA football team.

Las Vegas considers UCLA a 17-point favorite over Houston and USC is an 8-point favorite despite playing on the road.

So even though both teams are predicted to win, do you think they will?


Junior Seau left no note in apparent suicide

Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots

Elsa/Getty Images

Junior Seau

No suicide note was left by Junior Seau, the former USC All-American and 12-time NFL Pro Bowl linebacker, found dead by his girlfriend Wednesday morning at his Oceanside home, say authorities.

No foul play was suspected, and though few details have been released, police say the athlete appears to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

"Life-saving efforts were performed, however they were not successful," said Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy, reports NBC LA. "This case at this point is being investigated as a suicide," McCoy continued.

His mother Luisa Seau said she was in church when she heard the news, "I pray to God, 'Take me, take me, leave my son.' But it's too late," she told reporters at an impromptu press conference.

A neighbor said he saw Seau smiling and happy and playing the ukulele on his balcony just two days ago, notes the L.A. Times.