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Stewart Mandel Shows Media Can be Rational

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A couple of days ago, ESPN College Football Live analysts Ed Cunningham and Craig James both declared that if the BCS were to revoke the 2004 championship from USC that Auburn should be awarded with the title instead. It's a ridiculous assertion, and shouldn't come as surprise that Cunningham and James were the ones to throw this idea out there. After all, James has a hobby of destroying collegiate football programs. It was SMU in the 1980s, and Texas Tech last season. I guess USC must be on his radar next.

I've often thought that vacating wins was an odd idea. How can the NCAA say to fans that the Trojans' 55-19 win over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl didn't happen? I saw the game. You saw the game. We all know what happened. But the NCAA is eventually going to take its own course of action with little input from the public considered. It's silly to get caught up in the whole speculation game. A decision will be made, and as Trojan fans, we'll just have to live with it. In the meanwhile, however, we'll just have to keep waiting until the sanctions report is issued.

For now, here's an interesting take from Sports Illustrated college football writer Stewart Mandel, whose argument in his weekly mailbag feature makes a lot of sense.

College football's championship race is often referred to jokingly as a "beauty pageant," but do you really want to take that analogy even further? Because that's exactly what you'd be doing if you retroactively rewarded Auburn the trophy. The Tigers would be Suzette Charles, the woman who finished runner-up to Vanessa Williams in the 1984 Miss America contest but got to take over the crown after someone dug up dirty pictures of Vanessa. Even if you did do that, would anyone outside of Alabama consider it legitimate? We all remember the USC-Oklahoma game. We saw what happened. It's not going to vanish from our collective memories just because someone revises the BCS media guide.

A vacated trophy is exactly what it sounds like -- it means that year's championship goes "vacant." However, I'm curious how the BCS would go about enforcing this recently uncovered "policy" of theirs, considering the crystal football awarded to the BCS championship game winner is actually the Coaches Poll trophy. Unless this policy also requires USA Today to void its final 2004 poll, it would seem USC still officially finished "No. 1" that year, just as it did in the AP poll. Both of those trophies are currently sitting in Heritage Hall. I'd be curious to know whether this BCS policy designates someone with the responsibility of flying to L.A. and forcibly removing the trophy from its display case.

Glad to see that somebody out there in the college football blogosphere is keeping this whole investigation in proper perspective. As for now, back to the waiting game.