Vacating wins thanks to a NCAA scandal is one thing, but vacating a loss? That appears to be what the USC Trojans are trying to pull in their game notes for their upcoming clash with the Texas Longhorns.
As per this snapshot of the game notes shared by Joaquin Sanchez of Spectrum News Austin, USC is claiming to be 4-0 against Texas thanks to a “vacated loss” (which would be the famed 2006 Rose Bowl game for the national title, where they lost to 41-38 to Vince Young and the Longhorns).
Update: According to ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, this instruction to vacate the loss came from the NCAA, not USC. That doesn’t seem to really align with other NCAA practices in dealing with football records, but perhaps the official NCAA records are different from the ones commonly seen elsewhere. Original post, and a photo of the media guide, follows.
Oh really? ? pic.twitter.com/IKbrpme7Gi
— Joaquin Sanchez (@JoaqSanch) September 11, 2017
The game notes are available here, and we can confirm that they’re as portrayed; the full sentence in question comes on the first page, and says “USC is 4-0 in its series with Texas (not including 1 loss vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record, 4-1).”
Not so fast, USC! Of course, some college basketball records do include vacated losses, especially in the NCAA tournament. That’s not a commonly-accepted practice in college football, though; SportsReference’s list of vacated and forfeited games is all but entirely wins, and their one comment on Ohio State vacating its loss in 2010 in addition to its 12 wins seems to be inaccurate as per that team’s Wikipedia entry, which has its official record as 0-1. 2005 USC has the same 0-1 record. The Associated Press story on NCAA punishment against USC also only mentions vacating wins, not losses.
So, that loss to Texas and Vince Young seems to count by all typical standards of college football record-keeping. And that makes it odd that USC tried to expunge it this way. That only sets them up for more ridicule.
[Joaquin Sanchez on Twitter]