USC sanctions probably came at the best possible time. The USC sanctions could eliminate all the wins for a national championship team, and may wipe out a Heisman Trophy from the record books as well. But fortunately for the Trojans, the college football world and the Pac-10 have other things to worry about right now. Yet unfortunately for the Trojans, by the time they become bowl eligible again, they could have to go through a Pac-16 conference with Texas and Oklahoma. But if the Trojans and Sooners meet as conference rivals, the USC sanctions might have wiped out the last time they met by then.
The long investigation into Southern Cal’s football and basketball violations will shortly yield a punishment for the football program. ESPN reported that the USC sanctions will not only result in scholarship losses, and a postseason ban for two years, but a possible loss of wins from a national championship season.
Thanks to the alleged improper benefits received by Reggie Bush, the 2004 national championship may need to be vacated. The Trojans breezed to a championship under Bush, complete with a drubbing of Oklahoma in the national title game.
But if the rumors are true, the USC sanctions will wipe out all of those wins from the record books, forcing the Trojans to give up the title itself. Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy is also at risk as well.
This would be historic for college football, if the USC sanctions stripped a national title from the Trojans. College basketball has made a habit of stripping Final Four berths away – and if Memphis held on to win the 2008 title game, their violations would have cost them the crown anyway. But for college football, this kind of problem is far rarer.
While the past is now under question, there is no doubt about the future trouble ahead. The USC sanctions will keep the West Coast’s most iconic team from the postseason for two years, if reports are true. Yet the program had already fallen off from the Bush years, as they were reduced to a December bowl game in coach Pete Carroll’s last year.
If this happened during the powerhouse USC years, it would have been a bigger deal. But the Trojans’ ban from postseason play might not affect the 2010 and 2011 national title race too much. New coach Lane Kiffin will just have two years to rebuild the program, before they hope to return to power in 2012.
By the time they do, all of college football may have begun a brand new era. The Pac-10 seems to be on the verge of becoming the Pac-16, while the restructuring of the other major conference appears to be at hand. The changes could already be in effect by 2012, so the Trojans might have to face Texas and Oklahoma on a regular basis, instead of just in national title games.
The USC sanctions have already made those two national title games tainted – and may erase one of those games from the record books altogether. But at the least, it is probably not the biggest and most historic story in college football right now.
ESPN- “Source: USC football gets 2-year ban”
USA TODAY- “Report: NCAA hands Southern California two-year bowl ban, scholarship loss”