The Football Writers Association of America stripped Southern California of its 2004 national title Thursday and asked the school to return the Grantland Rice Trophy.
But the organization will not award the title to Auburn, which went 13-0 that season and finished No. 2 in the major polls. Auburn officials were notified of the decision this morning.
"There was a thorough discussion of all the possible scenarios involving all the appropriate teams,” 2010 FWAA president Tim Griffin said in a press releasee. “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.”
The FWAA's decision came in the wake of NCAA-imposed sanctions against USC for illegal benefits given to star tailback Reggie Bush, who was ruled retroactively ineligible.
The FWAA is the first organization to formally strip the Trojans of their title. The spot will be vacant for the first time since the FWAA began awarding a national title in 1954.
The BCS will do so if USC loses its appeal with the NCAA. The Associated Press voted not to vacate the title.