It is regarded by many as the best inter sectional rivalry in college football. It has produced a combined 22 national championships and 14 Heisman Trophy winners and countless memories. That makes it is nearly impossible to think this game would ever not be played in front of a national television audience, right? College football fans make like to think so but that may not be the case in the not-so-distant future.
As almost all Notre Dame fans are aware, the USC athletic department wrapped up a three day hearing with the NCAA over the weekend in which the instances of Reggie Bush, Joe McKnight, and former USC basketball star OJ Mayo were discussed. After hearing the allegations and potential sanctions for the Trojans, its not hard to figure out why of all years this is the one Pete Carroll chose to leave for the NFL.
The hearing took three days, the longest any such hearing with the NCAA has taken in at least the past 11 years. The last "power program" to undergo such hearings was Alabama in 2002. Five years of probation, major scholarship reductions, and a two-year postseason ban were handed out to the Crimson Tide who steered off the track for the next six seasons following the restrictions.
Could the NCAA possibly come down harder on USC? Its easy to speculate at a time like this which has got many people thinking USC won't only lose scholarships or be banned from the postseason, but many feel the Trojan football team could be banned from television for a season or two. Can you imagine what that would do for recruiting?
Once again it is all speculation at this point, the official punishment is expected to be handed out in roughly two to three months time. As much as I would like to see USC get busted for their actions and turn into a modern day SMU, I just don't see the Trojans getting much punishment. My expectation would be two years post season ban at the longest with a large number of scholarships being taken away. The NCAA knows USC brings in viewers and large revenue, don't expect the maximum punishment by any means.
Just to play "What If", what would your reaction be if USC was banned from TV and it meant you had to miss the Fighting Irish battle the Trojans for a year or two, possibly starting as soon as this fall?
Can you imagine Notre Dame's potential biggest game of the season being barred from your television set? As much as I dislike USC as a Notre Dame fan this would it not be strange and to a certain degree make you uneasy not being able to see the biggest game of the year with a first year, upbeat head coach?