As any UCLA fan can tell you, Friday will go down in infamy as the day USC got its comeuppance.
And that is the reason why Pete Carroll left for Seattle.
And the reason why USC athletes have as much as discipline as the baby you get stuck next to on every plane flight.
Yes, the football gods shined brightly on the other 10 teams in the now inappropriately named Pac-10, as the NCAA slammed the Men of Troy with more violations than former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.
Okay maybe not that many, for at this rate, Masoli is going for a record.
USC Football will now sit out bowl season for the next two years, forfeit 10 scholarships annually from 2011-2013, and vacate all wins in which Reggie Bush played while ineligible, including the 2005 BCS Championship Game. Bush may also be forced to return his Heisman Trophy if the NCAA rules he was ineligible.
Did you hear that? That’s the sound of an empire crashing to the ground.
Yes, it did take the NCAA four years just to come to the very obvious conclusion that USC athletes were getting away with anything, while being taught little to no discipline. But ripping on the NCAA is useless, because they know they're doing a sub-par job.
Is it a coincidence that Brian Cushing, LenDale White, and Joe McKnight, among others, have all been under suspicion in the last seven months?
Yes, if it’s also a coincidence that Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” has exactly the same beat as Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure.”
Bashing the University of Scandalicious Clowns is too easy nowadays, like making fun of BP or Kanye West.
So I will instead give them some credit. The NCAA’s sanctions on the Trojans come at an excellent time for the Pac-10. With USC out of the way, they can try to build up what used to be a prestigious football conference.
Now, USC fans might be saying, “But Ross, if you take away the best team, how does it make the conference any better?”
I say to those people, "Take off your cardinal and gold cardigans and wipe the tears from your eyes. When you are freed from your probation, the Pac-10 will be more competitive than ever."
Let’s look at some of those sanctions closely to turn your frown upside down.
The Scholarship Loss
With ten less available slots, the Trojans are likely to still go after the top national recruits and leave the some of the good local recruits to other Pac-10 schools. This spreads the pool of talent across the conference, making more balanced rosters.
So now USC is just like Mark Cuban in The Benefactor. Except that they won’t get cancelled after one season of no one watching.
Which is what I’ve always wanted.
The Bowl Ban
Obviously, players want to go where they can win, which is why so many recruits chose the Trojans in the first place. But with Lane Kiffin’s squad losing its guarantee at postseason play, players may not want to wait until junior or senior year to win on a big stage.
Instead, they might choose teams in the same conference where USC no longer is a threat for bowl seeding.
Small tangent: Could Kiffin have a less impressive résumé for such a highly coveted job? It’s like Roman Polanski applying to be an elementary school teacher.
But I digress.
Also, without the Trojans ability to capture an automatic BCS bid for the conference, other schools will land in the national spotlight. This can be a great selling point for recruits, and a huge boost in donations from alumni who haven’t seen their team in a Rose Bowl.
I’m looking at you, Arizona!
The General Probation
Hey Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott, guess what? Your ExtenZE is coming sooner than you thought it would.
Teams like Texas and Oklahoma can easily move to the Pac-10, where they can dominate, and tap into a good recruiting pipeline, California. No USC allows more teams a shot at winning, and these big dogs should be salivating at the opportunity.
Actually, keep the saliva back. Mike Sherman is gross enough already.
This really has no affect on the Trojan Program, as it’s unlikely anyone will stop calling USC a top football school of the past decade. They will always be known as the West Coast powerhouse of the 2000s.
However, Oklahoma fans everywhere can rejoice after no longer losing the 2005 Orange Bowl. Hooray for parties thrown five years later!
If you did that for most weddings, there would be nothing to celebrate.
Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy
If Bush is ruled ineligible, he has to give away his Heisman. While it doesn’t directly affect USC, he may go down in history as the first person to give back the award. Not exactly a great headline for the school: Bush-League Scandal Causes USC to Hand Back Heisman.
See, I can make horrible puns too. Just like ESPN. And Yahoo. And CBS. The list goes on.
So what are fans of other Pac-10 teams thankful for on this day?
A chance at parity.
The conference has been heckled in both basketball and football for its lack of competition and its low number of quality programs. While there may have been a close race for its football champion in 2009, not many people see the teams as a threat to the other big conferences if USC is left out.
Kind of like the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
So even though it kills me to say it, I’m proud of USC. They finally got their punishment, but they managed to have it at a time that’s great for everyone else. How nice of the Trojans to play the fall guy for the rest of the conference!
Sorry, I gagged a bit. Putting “nice” and “Trojans” that close in a sentence makes me want to polish off some Drano.