Reggie Bush: The Fall of the USC Empire and the Heisman Trophy "Winner"

Dan ScofieldAnalyst ISeptember 15, 2010

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10:  Running back Reggie Bush #5 of the USC Trojans poses with the 2005 Heisman trophy after winning the award at the 71st Annual Heisman Ceremony on December 10, 2005 in New York City.  (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Gone from existence and record books, Reggie Bush is no longer in the eyes of college football.

Forfeiting his 2005 Heisman trophy just minutes before the committee yanked it out from under his arms, Bush did the noble and right thing by handing over the hardware. While many have been calling for his head and requesting him to return the trophy, Bush owned up to a mistake and saved himself from critics somewhat by giving his most valued honor up.

Now what? Where does Bush lie in the eyes of college football fans? What happens to USC?

Wiped clean of his stats and wins during his time in the Empire of Troy, Bush was never even a part of a college football program. After receiving financial benefits during his time at USC, he has buried the Trojans into a hole that will take Lane Kiffin years to get out of.

A loss of 30 scholarships, two-year suspension from post-season play, four-year probation, and all 2004 victories were vanished thanks to these direct violations.

They say the higher you are, the harder you fall and that holds true to the USC program. Thanks to the Bush violations, Lane Kiffin not only must overcome the penalties, but the loss of many critical players to the program due to transfer.

Only because how great they once were during the time of Bush and company, the NCAA decided to crack down (and hard) on the program. Now, only time can heal the wounds inflicted by one of USC's greatest Trojans to ever step foot on the field.

But even that Trojans legacy has been vanished.

Now a villain of college football, Bush is no longer thought of as the game-changing, once-in-a-lifetime player while wearing the USC uniform. The touchdowns, victories, and rings will all be forgotten, and the forfeited Heisman trophy will be the new acquaintance with Bush's name.

He may have done the right thing by handing over the trophy without force, but no one is kneeling down to praise the former USC running back anymore. Instead, cries for the Heisman to be handed over to Vince Young can be heard all throughout college football nation.

The tale of Bush reminds me of the many failed emperors of their time. An emperor who had it all, and lost it all in a heartbeat.

USC may climb back to the top, but the bush has burned in the eyes of college football.