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Dr. Saturday

Oklahoma’s not interested in USC’s ’04 title, if anyone’s asking

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

Oklahoma wants the world to know that it doesn't want the 2004 national championship title that was stripped of USC earlier this week, which is good since no one was offering it to the Sooners anyway.

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Stoops

USC defeated Oklahoma 55-19 in the Orange Bowl to claim the national championship. Earlier this week, the BCS stripped the Trojans of that title shortly after NCAA sanctions were upheld stemming from improprieties during the 2004 and '05 seasons.

But just because Oklahoma happened to play in the game with the Trojans doesn't mean they're the national champions by default.

Bear in mind, all of this is a moot point because the BCS has already said that particular national championship would remain vacant. But for arguments sake, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was asked for his thoughts about the Sooners' stake in the title.

"I don't have any thoughts (on USC's situation) and we're not claiming any championships," Stoops said Wednesday night.

And really, the Sooners have no claim even if the trophy were up for grabs. Sure, one could say that since USC lost the title that the game itself should have never happened and Oklahoma would have finished with an unbeaten record. OK, I'll buy that, but Auburn and Utah also had unbeaten records and both teams would have then played an extra game.
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At that point, most would say the nod goes to Auburn because of the SEC gauntlet it had to face to go undefeated. Not to mention at the time, there was a lot of uproar about Auburn not getting into that Orange Bowl game over Oklahoma, which played a dubious schedule against a weaker Big 12.

Again, all a moot point, but definitely a talking point.

As for Stoops, he's acutely aware of how quickly the NCAA can change a season. In 2005, the Sooners lost some wins after quarterback Rhett Bomar and two other players were found guilty of accepting improper benefits. The wins were later restored, but Stoops knows it could have been a lot worse.

"There has to be measures for players to know the consequences for their actions," Stoops said. "So, if this sends a message for other people that all of a sudden your season didn't exist, maybe it's a strong enough message that, 'Am I going to be loyal to my team and teammates and do things right, or am I going to be loyal to myself?'"

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