Fourth and Long

Published 5:26 pm Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I am so ready to stop talking about the NCAA and start talking about fall practice I don’t know what to do with myself.

I love college football and, more often than not, I would rather be talking about the bad side of college football than the good side of hockey, but I don’t think I can handle another year of this garbage.

If there is a silver lining in this cloud that surrounds college football, it is that despite all of their troubles, the UNC Football program still looks to be in pretty good shape when all everyone is talking about is Southern Cal and Ohio State University.

I had to chuckle a bit this week when the news came out that the BCS had decided to rescind the Trojans National Championship earned during the Reggie Bush era. Bush already lost his Heisman and now appears to have lost his title as a former National Champion.

I can’t help but wonder though…do you think Reggie Bush even cares. I doubt USC is calling him to ask for their ring back. He doesn’t have to give up his draft status or signing bonus, part of which was based on his reputation as a winner. My point is that none of these punishments actually punish the guy who we know played outside of the rules.

While everyone discusses Reggie Bush, the guy no one is talking about is Ross Burruel.

I know what you’re thinking….who? Burruel was a junior college transfer on the infamous 2005 USC football team.

You don’t remember Burruel from the team I’m sure. I bet most of his teammates don’t remember him very well.

He got as high as second on the depth chart at Center but never did break into any starting lineups and given his lack of information on the USC athletic department website I bet it is safe to assume Burruel rarely, if ever, even made his way on the field.

Burruel wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school (at least not compared to most Division I capable athletes) and in fact chose to first attend a junior college.

Burruel worked hard at Chabot Junior College and eventually earned a high enough GPA to get accepted at the University of Southern California.

After being admitted to USC, Burruel continued to bust his hump and even earned himself a roster spot on the USC Football team. Burruel wasn’t famous by any means. He didn’t get a lot of television time and probably wasn’t recognized around campus.

Burruel did, however, continue to work hard and help lead his team by example on the practice field. Burruel was also a force off the field and often took a leadership role amongst those on the offensive line in regards to charitable activities.

Burruel was eventually named a team captain despite his lack of playing time. It is clear the honor was given to him because of his work ethic and willingness to be a role model.

I tell you about Burruel because the BCS, in an effort to punish the New Orleans Saints’ running back and the Head Coach of the Seattle Seahawks, just took away his National Championship.

Burruel wasn’t paid to play football at USC, at least not that we know of. Burruel wasn’t recruited or begged to be a Trojan. Burruel simply followed his dream of playing for USC near his hometown and hoped that maybe if he worked hard enough he could contribute in some way towards the ultimate goal of winning a National Championship.

Burruel currently works as a football coach at Castro Valley High School near San Francisco and I am willing to bet that while the removal of the National Champions title may not be such a big deal to guys like Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, it is to him.

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publications. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at