The Heisman trophies have been returned, and now USC has lost something else: The Bowl Championship Series stripped Southern California of its 2004 title yesterday, leaving that season without a BCS champion. The announcement was not a surprise—BCS officials had said USC was in danger of having its championship vacated after the Trojans were hit with heavy NCAA sanctions last year for rules violations committed during the 2004 and '05 seasons. The association ruled star tailback Reggie Bush received improper extra benefits during those seasons, and was ineligible when he played.
The BCS waited until USC appealed the NCAA sanctions (which included a two-year ban from postseason play) to make a decision about its championship. The NCAA denied USC's appeal on May 26, so it was only a matter of time before the Trojans' 55-19 victory against Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange Bowl was wiped from the record books. The team must also vacate its participation in 2006 Rose Bowl. USC lost that game, 41-38, and the national championship to Texas. (Read more NCAA football stories.)