Yesterday afternoon the final blow of the Reggie Bush investigation was landed to the USC Trojans as the BCS took away their 2004 National Championship.
Their 55-19 beat down of Oklahoma officially never happened and one of college football’s greatest and most recent dynasties now becomes mentioned with an asterisk.
It was an incredibly sad moment in my sports life. I remember falling in love with that team and its young adult star power that captivated college sports and made it even more fun to watch.
That USC team should’ve been ranked with the likes of those 40’s Army squads, Barry Switzer’s Oklahoma teams, Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler’s Ohio State and Michigan national champions and Jimmy Johnson’s Miami Hurricanes.
We should be telling stories about how Matt Leinart looked like a sure pro prospect as he led USC’s stellar offense up and the field with ease against what looked like feeble opponents. We should look at how Frostee Rucker, Shaun Cody and Lofa Tatupu made life a living hell for offenses and how they shut down future NFL running back Adrian Peterson in the Orange Bowl.
Instead this team will not be remembered for any of that. It’ll be just another example of how the outside factors of college football from greedy agents to overly generous boosters to anyone else giving handouts can turn a program from glamour to shame.
It happened to SMU in the 80’s with the “Pony Express” and all of the benefits that they received, to the “Fab 5” at Michigan and now it’s happened to USC.
To be a football program with such a rich history and watch it go from the elite of all college programs to another school with a bad reputation is hard to swallow. For Reggie Bush has to be even worse.
Look at everything that has happened to Bush ever since this investigation has started and where he stands now; he cost his university a championship, had his Heisman trophy vacated, is now known as a first-round bust because he cant stay healthy and isn’t a regular contributor to the New Orleans Saints and once the NFL lockout ends he’ll likely be out of a job. Not to mention he lost Kim Kardashian.
Bush has taken this on the chin harder than the university has. He went from being the next big thing, a revolutionary figure in the NFL and one of college football’s most electrifying players ever to being the man than brought shame to his school and couldn’t cut it in the NFL.
Bush’s fall from grace weighs heavier than that of Terrelle Pryor and anyone of the “Tat 5” at Ohio State and their scandal. Pryor had all of the hype coming in and never matched it. Bush built up his hype and just looked like he couldn’t miss. Both brought shame to their schools but Bush cost USC a piece of its legacy. They cant show off one of their 11 national titles, his Heisman wont sit with Matt Leinart’s, Charles White’s or Marcus Allen’s on display at the school. Speaking of Leinart his incredible Orange Bowl performance of 2004 will never talked about because now it technically never happened.
Bush cost his school and his teammates a piece of history that they deserved to be apart of and now cant take with them.
For USC the investigation and its aftermath finally and mercifully came to and end yesterday but not without one final blow.
A legendary team and a legendary performance have been wiped away from the record books and will never be discussed among the greats of their sport. The 2004 USC Trojans never happened and that’s a hard pill for everyone associated with that team to swallow.
Especially Reggie Bush.