That’s it? The University of Southern Cal gets stripped of its 2004 BCS national championship, and satisfaction is a stroke of an eraser?
A blank line next to the 2004 national champion doesn’t end that season’s story. It isn’t satisfaction, and it doesn’t erase what went on that year. No way.
Fans of Cal football — the program that annually teased Rose Bowl possibilities during the early years of Jeff Tedford in Berkeley — deserve better.
“The BCS arrangement crowns a national champion,” BCS executive director Bill Hancock said after declaring USC’s championship null and void thanks to Reggie Bush’s treasure trove of goodies.
In 2004, the BCS did a whole lot more than that. And, if you weren’t in the Bay Area in 2004, you missed a genuine travesty in the sugar-coated world of college football.
The Bears got screwed. And now they’re getting screwed all over again.
By the end of the regular season, the Bears were ranked fourth in the nation, with the only mark on their 10-1 record a 23-17 loss against the apparently cheating Trojans at the Coliseum.
University of Texas coach Mack Brown then proceeded to whine, cry and strong-arm his buddies on the coach’s poll into rating the Bears as low as seventh.
That got Texas into the BCS at the expense of the Bears, who went to the Holiday Bowl, and, uninspired, lost to Texas Tech. to add further insult to it all.
I still haven’t forgiven Brown. I will never root for the University of Texas. The school’s encouragement of Brown proved the school’s athletic program possesses not a single ounce of class. Not then. Not now. Not ever.
The Longhorns wound up playing in the Rose Bowl that year, finishing off one of the greatest injustices in Bay Area football history. Beats out Stanford and its band by a mile.
Even worse, the Bears-Trojans game that season came down to a quick slant where the receiver slipped, the grass giving out under his cleat when he cut. Aaron Rodgers’ pass flew past him by a couple of feet.
In the Trojans’ end zone. With the Bears driving for a possible winning touchdown.
The Bears, who were that close to playing for a national championship, wound up ninth in the 2004 rankings, a bitter pill for every athlete and fan associated with the program.
Simply erasing the Trojans from the record books will never be enough. It won’t erase the season that could have been for Rodgers, Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, Robert Jordan and company.
Because it could have been their names on that now-empty line.
Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.