Before we get into this media guide cover — and thanks to devoted reader/serial e-mailer Andy Rosenberg for the tip — there is a movement afoot to appease Auburn in its national title claim for the 2004 season.
Rewind: Auburn, USC and Oklahoma all went undefeated in the regular season in 2004, but only two could go to the BCS title game. So Auburn was snubbed, went on to win the Sugar Bowl and finish 13-0, and coach Tommy Tuberville and Tiger Nation screamed injustice. The Trojans won the championship game but, as you might have heard, just got put into NCAA timeout and now must vacate that win (among others).
Now comes this: The executive director of the Football Writers Association of America said at the Big 12 Conference’s preview that the organization may take away USC’s 2004 title and award it to Auburn. “I wouldn’t say we’re definitely going to do that, but it’s a possibility,” Steve Richardson said. “As we survey the scene, we have an opportunity to consider for the first time of vacating, in the modern era, a national championship.” (It’s worth noting Tuberville now coaches in the Big 12, at Texas Tech.)
The FWAA honor might be all Auburn gets. The BCS has said it won’t make its decision until after USC’s appeals to the NCAA are complete. Even then, it probably will just vacate the championship. The Associated Press will not change its final rankings, even though Auburn finished second to USC.
Meanwhile, the poor USC sports information department doesn’t know what to do. Note the hysterical media guide cover. It references 11 national championships (including 2004). But the original cover that listed seven Heisman Trophy winners now has been changed to six. This is kind of bizarre, given that while the school made a big show of returning Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy, the Heisman Trust hasn’t done anything yet and won’t make a decision until after the appeals.
In summary, Bush, whose family lived in a home rent free, is not recognized by the school, but O.J. Simpson, who killed — excuse me, may have killed — two people is still embraced by USC.
Now, about the guy on the cover. I’m not sure who that is. But given the way those numbers are super imposed over his proud stance, I guess he had something to do with 11 national championships, 31 bowl victories, 6 Heisman winners, 156 first-team All-Americans and 437 NFL players.
Maybe he mentored John McKay or something.
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