College Football Mailbag (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday May 30, 2007 11:02AM; Updated: Tuesday June 26, 2007 4:31PM
If USC is stripped of its 2004 national championship due to the poor judgment of Reggie Bush's parents, who would the title go to: Oklahoma or Auburn?
First, I wouldn't pin all the blame on Reggie's parents. You can't tell me he didn't know he was breaking the rules when he allegedly found himself staying at the Venetian free for a weekend. Or receiving $13,000 to buy a car.
If it seems like I'm being a little harsh on the guy, it's because I find the whole thing really disappointing. Because of USC's dominance during his time there, I spent a whole lot of time around that program and, in turn, a whole lot of time interviewing Bush. He always struck me as a great kid, albeit a little cocky at times. And he's drawn raves for his extensive community-service work in San Diego and New Orleans. I'm not na´ve, and I realize Bush is far from the only college star to cash in on his exploits, but his smug flaunting of the authorities since then has certainly changed my perception of him.
As for Brian's question, this is possibly the most misunderstood aspect of the whole thing: The NCAA can't "strip" USC of its national title because the NCAA doesn't award a national title in Division I-A. The Trojans won two major trophies that year: The AP's and the BCS's. The AP is not going to hold a re-vote of its final poll from three years ago, so that trophy isn't going anywhere.
The one that would seem to be in jeopardy is the BCS, but even that is a little unclear. BCS officials have said they will hold off until the final verdict is in before deciding what action, if any, to take against USC. Just like with the AP, however, the BCS' crystal trophy is technically awarded not to the winner of the title game, but to the team that finishes No. 1 in the coaches poll (the two organizations have an agreement requiring the coaches to vote the winner No. 1). Once again, I can't imagine USA Today is going conduct a re-vote. So if the BCS were to take away the Trojans' trophy, it would have to do so unilaterally and with no real precedent.
I'm not entirely sure how it would work, but whatever the case, the NCAA would have no basis with which to retroactively name a "new" national champion. My guess is that year would just go blank in the record books.
Stewart, if the NCAA finds that Bush did illegally accept gifts/money from agents while he was playing for USC, what are the chances that his Heisman gets stripped, and more importantly, will Vince Young be awarded the Heisman as he should have been in the first place?
A lot of people have been theorizing about this possibility since the day the allegations first surfaced. My advice: Don't count on it. First, the NCAA has no jurisdiction over the Heisman -- which is administered by a completely separate entity -- so it's not like the NCAA could take away his trophy. That decision would lie with the Heisman Trophy Trust, a nine-member committee that oversees the award, and there is, in fact, a provision that says candidates must "be in good standing with the NCAA." However, the Heisman, in general, is an extremely conservative organization, and I simply can't envision them doing something as brash as stripping a former winner of his trophy, something that's never occurred in the 72-year history of the award.
Will anything ever come of the Reggie Bush/USC situation? It feels like it's been five years since it happened.
Don't be surprised if it takes another five years to resolve itself.
Hopefully everybody feels a little bit more informed and a little less confused now. We don't have a lot of room left to address other topics, but I'm going to squeeze a few in -- including a couple of Mailbag-specific issues.
Three years ago, Urban Meyer's dad convinced him to choose Florida over Notre Dame. So what if that does not happen? Does Florida win the national title without Urban? Do the Notre Dame faithful have the same patience with Meyer as they do with Charlie Weis? Does Brady Quinn's draft stock drop off the charts in Urban Meyer's offense?
That's a lot of "what ifs?" First, I think Urban knew all along Florida was the better fit; his dad may have helped affirm the decision, but I don't think he made it for him. Knowing what we know now about the personnel at both programs, it's truly difficult to imagine Meyer at Notre Dame. Obviously, Quinn is not his type of quarterback (though neither was Chris Leak), and who's to say Quinn would have improved so dramatically without Weis' tutelage? And while Meyer had the luxury of elite defensive talent in Gainesville, we know that wasn't the case in South Bend. Meyer most likely would have won games at Notre Dame, particularly in his second season, but the initial transition might have been more clunky than it was with Weis and therefore he might not have built up the same level of patience.
Meanwhile, if Meyer had spurned Florida, I think Jeremy Foley would have then gone and hired Bobby Petrino. I don't know if the Gators would have won a national title, but they'd probably have been pretty darn good -- and Petrino likely wouldn't be coaching Michael Vick now.
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