- Big blow for Arizona losing senior center Colin Baxter for the Valero Alamo Bowl, which would have been his 49th consecutive start. Baxter taking care of a knee injury now -- an injury he played through late in the season -- will help his NFL prospects. It also will give sophomore Kyle Quinn his first career start against Oklahoma State as he becomes the Wildcats' center of the present instead of the future.
- USC recruiting also got some expected good news over the weekend from receiver George Farmer, the No. 13 overall player on the ESPNU 150.
- Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck became the second consecutive Cardinal to finish second for the Heisman Trophy. And here's some reaction from Oregon running back LaMichael James, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Newton and Luck: “Just finishing in the top four … I think that’s a bonus for me and the program,” he told George Schroeder.
- James, a consensus All-American, also made the FWAA All-American team along with Cliff Harris, who made it as a punt returner.
Here's a statement from USC athletic director Pat Haden:
"Due to the NCAA penalties, we understand the actions taken by the Football Writers Association of America, and we will abide by that ruling. While we know that some fans and former student-athletes may be disappointed, our central priority at this time is our overall commitment to compliance, and this action is in line with the standards we have set for our entire athletic program."
You can read the statement from the FWAA here.
Three quick points.
- As a member of the FWAA, I can tell you this decision was made after much debate and deliberation.
- It makes sense: Whatever you feel about the severity of NCAA penalties, the Trojans used an ineligible player -- Reggie Bush -- that season.
- But USC fans should take solace in this: After all the symbolic slings and arrows are thrown, everyone knows that USC walked away from the 2004 season as the consensus national champion, at least in terms of the football part of football. Nothing it did wrong -- by any measure -- gave it a competitive advantage.