I don’t need to remind any Auburn fans of what happened back in the 2004 season. For everybody else, here is a snapshot of their schedule that year:
Louisiana-Monroe – 9/4 – W 31-0
@ Mississippi State – 9/11 – W 43-14
LSU – 9/18 – W 10-9
Citadel – 9/25 – W 33-3
@ Tennessee – 10/2 – W 34-10
Louisiana Tech – 10/9 – W 52-7
Arkansas – 10/16 – W 38-20
Kentucky – 10/23 – W 42-10
@ Ole Miss – 10/30 – W 35-14
Georgia – 11/13 – W 24-6
@ Alabama – 11/20 – W 21-13
Tennessee (SEC Championship) – 12/4 – W 38-28
Virginia Tech (Sugar Bowl) – 1/3 – W 16-13
On June 10, the NCAA vacated 14 victories from USC’s 2004 and 2005 seasons as part of the penalties stemming from the Reggie Bush investigation. Bush essentially competed while ineligible for two seasons because he had taken money and benefits from marketers trying to win him as client when he turned pro.
Because the NCAA doesn’t stage a championship in Division I-A football, it does not control postseason football. The BCS began in 1998 as a way to streamline college football’s national championship race. Human and computer formulas are used to determine the top two teams to play for the national title each year.
The Associated Press has announced it will not revote the 2004 final poll. However, the Football Writers Association of America is expected to address the issue next week. USC was presented with the association’s Grantland Rice Trophy signifying a national championship that year.
The BCS’ leaders have faced the question of whether to remove USC’s championship for years. The NCAA took four years to flesh out all the details. Last week, incoming USC AD Pat Haden announced that the school will return its copy of Bush’s Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trust. The trust was to have met Tuesday to discuss its own decision on dealing with Bush’s trophy. A Heisman winner has never had his name removed or been asked to return his trophy.
In NCAA language, a “vacation” differs from a forfeiture. Forfeits not only take away wins from offending school but award them to the losing team. Per NCAA rules regarding vacations, USC’s wins and Bush’s records will be removed from all NCAA record books and USC media guides. Also, Pete Carroll’s wins during that period will not count toward his career total.
USC is not appealing to the NCAA to get any of the wins back. It is trying to reduce the two-year postseason ban to one year. (Information in the previous 6 paragraphs pulled from this CBS article)
Tommy Tuberville SpeaksFormer Auburn football coach during the 2004 season, Tommy Tuberville, spoke this week at the Big 12 Media Days event where he now coaches Texas Tech. In the talk, he lobbied for his undefeated 2004 Auburn team to be elevated to national champion in the wake of the USC penalties. “Somebody needs to be national champion from that year,” Tuberville told CBSSports.com. Here is what he said according to this article:
“Why in the world would you not give it to somebody? Oklahoma, us, Utah? It doesn’t make any sense,” Tuberville said. “Everybody played that year. So you give it to a team that wins it on the field – uh oh, they cheated. They broke rules. We’re gonna take it away from ‘em. Well, give it to somebody. Because there’s other teams that did the right things that were there.”
USC and OU were ranked 1-2 all season, and Auburn climbed to No. 3 after starting the preseason at No. 20. The Trojans, with a player the NCAA has determined was ineligible, beat OU 55-19 in the Orange Bowl. Auburn beat Virginia Tech 16-13 in the Sugar Bowl.
The Football Writers Association of America has discussed awarding its 2004-05 Grantland Rice Trophy to Auburn. The AP and BCS both said they wouldn’t revote.
“If USC loses the appeal, the championship will be vacated,” BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Tuesday. “The feeling here in the commissioners group is that there was no game. Yeah, most people think Auburn would be the team, but how would they have done against Oklahoma? We don’t know.”Tuberville said it would suit him to award both Oklahoma and Auburn the title, which Hancock said was unlikely.
“The presidents could decide to do something else,” Hancock said, “but I think it’s most likely they would vacate it and there would be no title that year.”
Keeping the title empty, Tuberville said, is a bad idea. Awarding a split crown to OU and Auburn, on the other hand, is a good idea.
“I think it’d be great. I mean, anything,” Tuberville said. “Then you’re awarding two groups, which is fine. That season is over with and it’s forgotten about. But not by a bunch of fans by three or four schools.
“So give (USC’s) championships back and revote both the BCS and the AP and make a bunch of kids and fans happy. I mean, that’s what this is about.”