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Thursday, August 26, 2010
USC loses Grantland Rice Trophy

ESPN.com news services

USC was stripped of its 2004 Grantland Rice Trophy and won't be considered for the 2010 award, the Football Writers Association of America announced Thursday.

The FWAA declined to name a replacement recipient for the 2004 trophy.

USC, however, will remain in the 2010 Grantland Rice Trophy preseason rankings, the FWAA announced.

USC received a two-year postseason ban, a loss of scholarships and was forced to vacate victories from the 2004 and '05 seasons for NCAA violations involving former star tailback Reggie Bush. The university is appealing some of the penalties.

"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," FWAA president Tim Griffin said in a statement.

Griffin is a former Big 12 blogger for ESPN.com.

The 2004 vacancy is the only one in the history of the trophy, which the FWAA began awarding in 1954.

USC athletic director Pat Haden said his school would return its 2004 trophy.

"Due to the NCAA penalties, we understand the actions taken by the Football Writers Association of America, and we will abide by that ruling," Haden said in a statement.

"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."

The final 2004 Grantland Rice Poll had USC ranked No. 1, followed by undefeated Auburn (13-0) and Oklahoma (12-1), which lost to USC in the title game. No. 4 Utah (12-0) also finished undefeated.

"There was a thorough discussion of all the possible scenarios involving all the appropriate teams," Griffin said. "The FWAA reached a very fair conclusion based on careful consideration of the strengths of all the teams. We realize there are numerous opinions on this question.

"Nonetheless, this group -- which has more than three collective centuries of experience covering college football and has members representing all geographic regions in the nation -- came to a decision we feel best serves the sport."