Here is what the cry will be when it comes time to strip away the national title USC “won” in 2004: “They won it on the field and just because one player accepted something that was against the rules does not mean all the other young men on the team should be punished.”
Every player who was on that USC team should lose their national title because they had a teammate, Reggie Bush, who violated the rules of the game and common sense. It would stretch the imagination to think that not a single teammate of Bush’s noticed the treatment he was receiving, or even make the venture to the rented house his parents were living in. If you read the NCAA reports you sure don’t see any mention that they were making a beeline to the compliance office to register concerns.
Every player on that team should lose their national title because the head coach at USC, Pete Carroll, was either oblivious about the actions of Bush or did not care what was happening. You would expect more form a guy who made this statement about managing the star power of Bush and then Trojan quarterback Matt Leinhart: “We are about ‘team’ and as long as we maintain a connection and a relationship with how important team is, then the guys who become the highlighted guys in terms of the media shouldn’t factor in to what is going on. We have ways that we talk about it and deal with it.” Really? Apparently they were not very effective.
Every player on that team should lose their national title because their team was cheating when they won it. When the BCS makes their final evaluation and takes the championship away from the USC players they should save their anger for Bush, Carroll and any teammate who knew what was going on and never said a word about it.
You know who should be angry today? Auburn. In 2004 when the Tigers went undefeated they were third in the final BCS standings. They were sent packing to the Sugar Bowl to play Virginia Tech despite a great deal of national speculation that they were more deserving than the Oklahoma team USC ripped apart 55-19 in the championship game. Auburn should be very angry because they played by the rules, and went through the toughest conference in the nation without a loss.
You know who else should be mad? College football fans. They should be mad at themselves for their ongoing support of a culture that rewards cheaters and punishes schools that do things the right way.
Anyone who is defending the idea of USC keeping their national title because of the other players on the USC team needs to step back and gain some perspective. And when we reply to their pleas, the only proper words to say are “War Eagle.”
He is not now, and never has been an Auburn fan.