June 9, 2011

Three and Out: USC still the champ

Here is this week's "Three And Out," a weekly feature that will provide a quick but opinionated take from Tom Dienhart on three hot topics.

1. USC remains the champ. News that the BCS is vacating USC's 2004 national championship has sparked debate that Auburn should be named national champs in place of the Trojans. Ridiculous. Titles are won on the field, not awarded by committees in boardrooms six years after the fact. Auburn had a great team in 2004 behind QB Jason Campbell and RBs Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown. But the Tigers were denied a shot to play for the BCS title after finishing No. 3 in the BCS standings behind USC and Oklahoma. With the Trojans and Sooners meeting for the BCS title, Tommy Tuberville's Tigers capped a 13-0 season with a win over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl to finish No. 2 in the final polls. Instead of USC or Auburn, history will show no BCS champion in 2004. And that's fine by me. Still, I don't think stripping a school of titles or victories is much of a punishment. We all know that USC was the best team in the nation in 2004, thumping Oklahoma 55-19 in the BCS title game. Erasing USC's name won't erase the memory of its dominating season from our history books. USC was, and always will be, the best team from 2004.

2. "Coming up next: 'The Real-Life Stories of the West Virginia Coaches.' " Daytime soap operas have nothing on West Virginia. First, there was the messy divorce from Rich Rodriguez after the 2007 season. Now, West Virginia is dealing with a potentially more salacious scenario. Did West Virginia coach Bill Stewart -- or his wife -- fabricate bogus stories about Dana Holgorsen to newspapers in hopes of damaging the coaching transition and Holgorsen's reputation? The school is investigating. A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter claims Stewart called to ask if he could "dig up tawdry details on Holgorsen." The Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail reported that the timing of the internal inquiry matches up with a pause in the concluding phase of Stewart's separation agreement with the school. The paper cited two sources who said the contract has been awaiting signatures for weeks but has been held up as staffers determine who has participated in fabricating stories about Holgorsen. If it's determined that Stewart or his wife passed along inaccurate information about Holgorsen, Stewart almost surely will be fired on the spot. But even if Stewart is cleared, has his relationship with Holgorsen been damaged beyond repair? I think so, which is why I will be stunned if Stewart is on the sideline this fall.

3. What's next for Pryor? With Terrelle Pryor quitting, he now turns his attention to the NFL supplemental draft. But if Pryor is selected, it doesn't figure to be with a high pick. "I doubt if he even will be picked," an NFL quarterback coach who wised to remain anonymous told me. "If he had come out in the April draft, the highest he would have gone is the fourth round." The coach I spoke to also wonders about Pryor's character. "The allegations surrounding him will cast a lot of doubt in the minds of many teams," the coach said. How good is Pryor? "He isn't an accurate passer," the coach said. "And he came from an offense that had a very simplistic passing game. It was atrocious. He's going to need a lot of work." Iffy quarterbacking skills combined with iffy character? I wouldn't want Pryor on my team. I'd be surprised if he's picked in the supplemental draft.

Tom Dienhart is a national senior writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dienhart@yahoo-inc.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.


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