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Football writers strip USC of its 2004 national title trophy

August 26, 2010 |  9:45 am

Usc_300 The Football Writers Assn. of America announced Thursday it was stripping USC of the 2004 Grantland Rice Trophy as a result of recent NCAA sanctions levied against the school.

The Grantland Rice Trophy has been awarded to the nation's top team by the FWAA since 1954. This is the first time a school has had to vacate the championship. The FWAA also announced it would leave the 2004 title vacant. Auburn finished unbeaten that year but finished third in the BCS standings. Utah also finished with an undefeated season.

No.1 USC defeated No. 2 Oklahoma, 55-19, in the Orange Bowl to claim the BCS and Associated Press championships.

Citing the June 10 NCAA Infractions Report, Tim Griffin, 2010 FWAA president, stated in his letter notifying USC of the FWAA's decisions: "Had these facts been known, USC would not have been selected for the award ... in light of standards applicable to FWAA poll participants, award candidates and award recipients. All finalists for FWAA team and individual awards, including the Grantland Rice Award and Trophy, reasonably are presumed to have been in material compliance with certain qualifying standards at the time of award issuance."

The FWAA added that while it reserved the right to pick a substitute national champion or award winner in the future, a majority of the FWAA special committee nevertheless could not agree on the selection of a 2004 replacement for USC.

The BCS is expected to vacate USC's 2004 title once the school's NCAA appeals process is completed.  The Associated Press has decided to let USC keep its trophy for 2004.

The FWAA also announced USC will not be eligible for the Grantland Rice Trophy this year. The FWAA is an independent, nonprofit made up of 1,200 journalists, publicists, broadcasters and others with special college football expertise.

Photo: USC Coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Matt Leinart after beating Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4, 2005. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times