USC stripped of ’04 BcS title

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Shortly after sanctions were handed down/slammed onto the USC football program for the Reggie Bush fiasco, it was widely expected that the Trojans would be stripped of their 2004 BcS championship.

Nearly a year after those sanctions were levied on the program, and shortly after the school’s appeal of those sanctions was denied, the Trojans have indeed been stripped of the title.

According to a statement by BcS executive director Bill Hancock, USC’s 2004 title has officially been wiped off the books. The Trojans become the first football program to have a title vacated in the poll era.

The Associated Press had previously announced that USC would keep their 2004 AP title regardless of the sanctions and subsequent appeal, while the Football Writers Association of America, like the BcS, stripped the Trojans of their ’04 crown.

“The BCS arrangement crowns a national champion, and the BCS games are showcase events for post-season football,” Hancock said. “One of the best ways of ensuring that they remain so is for us to foster full compliance with NCAA rules. Accordingly, in keeping with the NCAA’s recent action, USC’s appearances are being vacated.

“This action reflects the scope of the BCS arrangement and is consistent with the NCAA’s approach when it subsequently discovers infractions by institutions whose teams have played in NCAA championship events.”

In addition to the vacated national title, USC is also forced to vacate their 2006 Rose Bowl appearance, a 41-38 win by Texas in the thrilling title game following the 2005 season.

And, no Auburn and/or Oklahoma, there will not be a new champion; rather, there will be no official winner of the ’04 title, although unofficially people will still remember the 55-19 pounding the Trojans put on the Sooners in the title game.

It’s unclear whether USC will return the crystal football trophy as it did with their copy of Bush’s Heisman.

As of this posting, there’s been no official comment from the school on this admittedly expected development.

UPDATED 5:01 p.m. ET: USC athletic director Pat Haden has released a statement on the BcS’ decision.

“This was not an unexpected outcome. We will comply with all requirements mandated by the result of this BCS vote.”

Additional, a school spokesperson confirmed to the Orange County Register that the BcS trophy was removed from the Heritage Hall lobby this morning.  It remains unclear if the university will be shipping the crystal hardware back to the BcS.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.