Semi OT: USC to keep 2004 AP title, likely to lose BCS

Submitted by bronxblue on June 11th, 2010 at 6:58 PM

A little bit of a surprise, but USC will be able to keep its 2004 AP title, though it is extremely likely that they will lose the BCS title.  As much as I dislike USC's football program, I like the logic employed by the AP.  FTA

The poll is intended to measure on-field performance. If teams are allowed to play, they're allowed to be ranked and USC certainly played in 2004.

This is a similar sentiment that I feel should have been applied to the Brian Cushings defensive POY award revote after he was found guilty of performance-enhancing abuse - the records might be wiped clean, but the games were still played and USC won the title in 2004.  Strip them if you want and put a big asterisk, but nobody will forget that they were probably the best team in America that year, and employing revisionist history just seems like a PR stunt.  Same with the call for Bush to lose the Heisman - he was still the best player in college football that year, so make a note in the books and just let it go.



June 11th, 2010 at 7:04 PM ^

And I think the NCAA should make them give it up. If the NCAA can force them to turn down bowls, they can force them to give up the AP title (effectively not promote it officially in any way).

Realistically, this is the only penalty that matters. If you can cheat heavily and only get caught every 20-30 years and still keep the NC's, it's not a bad deal for many schools. If you are forced to give up the NC's, then why cheat in the first place? This is not about winning a few extra games, it is about NC's. They should be forced to give up the NC's.


June 11th, 2010 at 8:31 PM ^

I guess my take is that everybody who will care to know will know that USC cheated during the 2004 season, and I doubt you'll ever see USC put out some promotional material touting their 2004 AP title, since it will inevitably lead to people wondering why the heck they didn't win the BCS title, dragging up the cheating issues, etc.  Also, and this is my jaded perspective, but most major football teams have skeletons in their closet; given, USC's were pretty grave, but if the NCAA really cracked down on the rulebook, teams would be forfeiting wins and titles for years.  USC's football team will struggle immensely in the coming years, their "1-peat" decade will be forever tainted, and just like Michigan basketball, one of the first things that will pop into the casual fan's mind about USC football is that they cheated by paying Mr. Former Kim Kardashian.  To me, though, they still won those games in 2004, and I don't see anything meaningful in stripping them of a designation by the AP.  


June 11th, 2010 at 7:18 PM ^

Especially at the individual level. Should Guerdwich Montimere be able to keep a Mr. Basketball award because he was the best high school player? You can't unplay games where he schooled a bunch of teens while he was a 22 year old posing as a high schooler.

skunk bear

June 11th, 2010 at 7:26 PM ^

I've never liked forfeits or "revisionist history" , but I want USC to wish it hadn't cheated. One way would be to make the penalties going forward severe enough so as to more than counter-balance the winning through cheating (including the NC's). But, the penalties handed down are not severe enough to accomplish this.

Then again, if you make the penalties going forward too extreme, you destroy the cheating program instead of correcting it.

It seems to me that whatever you do in a situation like this is going to be flawed at best. The only perfect justice would be for schools (schools ! ) not to cheat in the first place.


June 11th, 2010 at 8:37 PM ^

Cheaters usually win in the short term, but over the long haul they usually feel the wrath of karma.  Let USC keep the AP title - say what you will, but they were arguably the best team in the country in 2004, and I'm sure there were other top teams with skeletons in their closets.  But going forward, history will remember this period in USC history not as a return to national dominance, but one tainted by gross disregard for the rules, rampant lack of institutional control, and a level of cheating that will haunt them like Free Shoe U, the Miami thug machine, and what has regrettably followed UM since Ed Martin.

To this day, you mention UM basketball and the casual sports fan remembers only Webber's TO and the Ed Martin scandal.  This is going on its second decade.  USC is going to be haunted by these penalties for a generation, if not longer, and so I really don't care if they keep some meaningless designation by the AP about being the best team in 2004.