FWAA to USC: We'll take that '04 title, thank you very much

23 Comments

It’s not exactly the BcS crystal, or even the Associated Press title, but the Reggie Bush greed-grab has finally cost USC a piece of hardware from their undefeated 2004 season.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports.com reports that the Football Writers Association of America voted Thursday morning to vacate USC’s 2004 national championship.  As part of the process, the organization has requested that the school return the FWAA’s Grantland Rice Trophy, given annually since 1954 to that group’s national champion.

(Given Pat Haden‘s questioning of Bush’s soul yesterday for not returning his Heisman, it would behoove USC to return the FWAA trophy yesterday.  And while they’re at it, if they had my soul, they would return all of the title trophies they won in 2004 while using a player who turned out to be ineligible.  After all, you can’t have selective soul when it comes to tainted hardware, can you?)

It’s the first time, incidentally, the FWAA has ever stripped a school of the trophy.

As indicated by the vote to vacate, the FWAA will not retroactively award the trophy to either Oklahoma, which was trounced by the Trojans in the BcS title game, or Auburn, which was left on the outside of the title picture looking in following an undefeated season.

The AP has already publicly stated that there will be no vacating of the 2004 honor they bestowed upon USC, although the BcS may still strip the Trojans of the title based on Bush being declared retroactively ineligible for receiving illegal benefits.

Vacating or stripping awards won’t change the fact — sorry, Auburn fans — that USC was the best team on the field in 2004, but it is a nod to the seemingly antiquated notion that you must do the right things off the field as well as on in order to hold on to your accolades.

Nick Saban, on QB controversy: ‘there isn’t one’

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Consider The Nicktator perturbed.  Again.

Jalen Hurts (pictured, right) helped lead Alabama to the national championship game as a true freshman last season and is seemingly the Crimson Tide’s unquestioned starter as we trudge toward summer.  Five-star 2017 signee Tua Tagovailoa (pictured, left), however, had an impressive first spring in Tuscaloosa, capped off with an excellent showing in the annual A-Day game this past weekend.

The true freshman passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns in what amounted to a glorified scrimmage, while the incumbent threw for 301 yards and a pair of scores.  Hurts also tossed the lone interception between the two on the day.

Tagovailoa’s showing throughout the 15 spring practice sessions had led some to wonder whether there could be a quarterback controversy brewing at ‘Bama.  According to Nick Saban, that’s just the media being the media.

“Jalen Hurts played a lot of good football for us last year, and he’s certainly made a lot of progress this spring,” the head coach said by way of al.com. “Even though all of you in the press are trying to make a quarterback controversy out of nothing, which is what you’re doing right now, there isn’t one.”

LOOK: Jim Harbaugh hooks Pope Francis up with Michigan helmet, pair of Jordans

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s a series of words I’d never imagined I’d string together in a headline.

As you may have heard, Jim Harbaugh has taken his Michigan football team to Italy for an offseason European vacation.  As part of the trip, the team is in the Vatican City today and took in the Pope’s Wednesday address to the masses in St. Peter’s Square — the players and athletic director Warde Manuel sat amongst the crowd while the head coach and his wife were seated on the same stage as Pope Francis.

Following the address, and after a wait of nearly a half-hour, Harbaugh was able to meet with and speak to His Holiness.  The coach didn’t come empty-handed, either, as Pope Francis was gifted with a Michigan football helmet and a pair of Air Jordans.  Michigan-themed, of course.

“This is as good as it gets,” Harbaugh said according to mlive.com after his meeting with the pope. “This has been the experience of my lifetime.”

Tulane turns to Jonathan Banks as starter at QB

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Last season, there was just one FBS team — Army and its triple-option (967) — that passed for fewer yards than Tulane’s 1,360.  Tulane’s team passing efficiency rating of 93.12 was 128th of the 128 teams at this level of football.  Their completion percentage of 42.2 was, again, 128th in the FBS.  Their 5.3 yards per attempt was… 127th.

This season, the Green Wave’s passing hopes in a run-heavy offense will likely land on the shoulders of a junior college transfer.

Throughout the spring, Jonathan Banks had taken the majority of reps with the first-team offense.  Tuesday, Willie Fritz confirmed that Banks will be his starter under center heading into summer camp and, presumably, for the program’s season opener against Grambling at home Sept. 2.

At least for now, Banks has staked his claim to the job after a competition that included Glen Cuiellette and Jonathan Brantley, the starter and backup, respectively, last season.

“He did a good job this spring picking things up,” the head coach said according to nola.com. “We evaluated practices 1 through 15 and I thought, for a guy coming into a new situation, he did a very good job. He provides us with both a passing and a running threat, which in our offense you need to have.

“We’re excited about his development.”

Drew O’Bryan leaves Western Kentucky, drops down to FCS level

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Another day, another FBS player has transitioned away from his first college football home.

On his personal Twitter account recently, Drew O’Bryan acknowledged his decision to transfer from Western Kentucky. Additionally, he announced his next destination for good measure — Eastern Kentucky.

The linebacker said he made the decision “[a]fter talking with my family and many prayers.”

As EKU plays at the Football Championship Subdivision level, O’Bryan will be eligible to play immediately for the Colonels in 2017.

O’Bryan was a two-star member of WKU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 18 player at any position in the state of Kentucky. He took a redshirt as a true freshman.