If USC is stripped of 2004 title, should Auburn get another look?

 Auburn’s undefeated team of 2004 has been back in the news lately because of speculation, most of it light-hearted, that if USC has its BCS title of that year stripped for NCAA rules violations, perhaps the Tigers could get another shot at the ring almost six years after the fact. Maybe the Associated Press, wrote Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News, could take another vote to strip USC of the trophy and just give it to Auburn.

http://blog.al.com/kevin-scarbinsky/2010/05/scarbinsky_if_elected_auburn_s.html

 

Fun to think about but it’s not going to happen. But the mental exercise reminded me how significant that undefeated Auburn team was and how much happened after the Tigers got left out of the Big Game.

It was January, 2005, and I remember standing in the press box about an hour from kickoff for the BCS championship game between USC and Oklahoma in South Florida. Suddenly I feel a tap on my shoulder: It is Tommy Tuberville, the head coach at Auburn. His team had just beaten Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl 16-13 to finish 13-0.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“Just trolling for votes,” said Tuberville. He was joking. At least I think he was.

That Auburn team (Tuberville also joked that Auburn would be named national champs by Golf Digest) remains a sore point to this day in the SEC. It changed a lot of history.

 Tuberville made a conscious decision to take the high road but privately he was convinced that his Tigers, who featured running backs Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown, could go toe-to-toe with USC, which drubbed Oklahoma 55-19.

“We certainly would not have been intimidated,” Tuberville would tell me later. “We would have given them a pretty good shot.”

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, the former judge, was publicly disappointed and privately pretty ticked off to the point where he, with support from ACC commissioner John Swofford, eventually went before his fellow BCS commissioners and put a proposal for a “Plus-One” model on the table. A “Plus-One” was a fancy name for what would have been a four-team playoff instead of the current two-team playoff that is the BCS.

Slive was determined that he needed to do something because, in his mind, an undefeated SEC champion should not be denied an opportunity to play for it all. Urban Meyer’s defeated Utah team of 2004 felt the same way, I’m sure.

The “Plus-One” model was discussed during those BCS meetings I attended in South Florida but no action was taken. The majority of the commissioners wanted to stick with the status quo, which is what we will have until the current contract expires after the games of January, 2014.

A lot has happened since 2004. The SEC has now won four straight BCS national championships and, in the process, has convinced a lot of the voters of the strength of its league. The streak started with Florida (2006) and LSU (2007) simply overwhelming Ohio State in two straight BCS title games. In 2008 and 2009 Florida and Alabama defeated high-scoring Big 12 champs in Oklahoma and Texas.

This four-year streak has changed everything from the SEC perspective. The league office now feels that the SEC has proven its strength to the point where it is highly unlikely—almost impossible—that an undefeated SEC champion would be left out of the BCS title game.

In short, I’m not hearing anything these days about a “Plus-One” model from my friends at the SEC.

“I think with our performance on the field the SEC has positioned itself very well,” Slive told me not long ago.

So I’ll put it two questions to you this morning:

1. Regardless of what conference you pull for, do you see an undefeated SEC champion getting left out of BCS title game again?

2. If USC is stripped of its 2004 by the BCS, what should come of it? Should it remain vacated or should Auburn, which finished No. 2 in the final AP and coaches polls, get some kind of consideration?

The floor is yours.

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417 comments Add your comment

5IML

May 26th, 2010
8:02 am

1. Yes, if it’s Auburn or any of the lesser known, less respected SEC teams.

2. Vacation has been the NCAA’s retroactive disclipline of choice. With vacation, one party is punished but no one benefits.

JollyJay

May 26th, 2010
8:02 am

No..because we (Auburn) don’t want a bunch of retroactive titles like Alabama has begun to claim since the Ray Perkins era.

Greenville Dawg

May 26th, 2010
8:06 am

FIRST!!! Hell Yea, AUBURN should be Nat’l Champs!!! 2004

Greenville Dawg

May 26th, 2010
8:07 am

5IML

May 26th, 2010
8:07 am

Scarbinski’s article caused a 1500% increase toilet paper sales in Lee County for the month.

Jolly, you guys will take anything you can get.

David

May 26th, 2010
8:11 am

I think a more interesting question is whether a 1-loss SEC team should go in while there are only two other undefeated teams say like Virginia Tech from the ACC and Oregon from the PAC-10.

1. A scenario in which I can see an SEC team being left out again is if two teams like Michigan and Texas were both undefeated at the end of the season. The SEC rep would have to be a Tennessee, Auburn, or maybe even UGA in this scenario.

2. Nothing should and really nothing can come of it. Just like Barry Bonds will still claim the HR record despite insurmountable evidence that he cheated.

TonyBFan

May 26th, 2010
8:11 am

Not likely that an undefeated SEC team gets left out. However, what if it is, say Auburn, that is undefeated, but you also have an undefeated Big 10 team or Notre Dame and undefeated Texas. The $$$ says at that point the SEC gets slammed again. Also, forget the “faux title”. We know Auburn was the better team that year.

Kid Ray

May 26th, 2010
8:16 am

Let it go SEC people. Focus your efforts on this season.

Go Rutgers! and welcome Super Bowl

You Ain't-Know Gaily Whacker

May 26th, 2010
8:18 am

Yes, the SEC could be left out.

Yes, Auburn should be considered.

Shug

May 26th, 2010
8:20 am

Seems like if USC has to vacate the title, Oklahoma has more of right to claim it than anyone else.

Agree with Shug

May 26th, 2010
8:23 am

Thought the runner-up (OU) would be the winner

m

May 26th, 2010
8:24 am

The BSbcs is the worst system ever developed by man.

We need a 16 team playoff. Let the teams decide it on the field and not have it handed to them like Alabama did last year.

The reason the sec now supports the BSbcs is because they know they would have trouble winning a fair 16 team playoff.

And Thanks to God and Greyhound, gomer gailey is gone forever.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

May 26th, 2010
8:24 am

No, I see another undefeated SEC team this year and YES, if USC was stripped- 13-0 in the SEC is always impressive- nod should go to Auburn.

Dog Dawg

May 26th, 2010
8:25 am

Auburn was the best team that year.

Vols85

May 26th, 2010
8:26 am

1. I would say it would be extremely unlikely for an undefeated SEC team to be left out of the BCS championship game. The one scenario that comes to mind would be if three BCS schools all finished undefeated and won their conference’s championship game, but due to scheduling, quality of victories, and whatever else makes up the BCS formula/rankings the SEC champion that year lost out to two other conference champions. Unlikely,yes, but possible.

2. As a Vol fan who saw his team lose to Auburn twice that year (with former Vol commitment Ronnie Brown playing a major role –OUCH!), and as an SEC & college football fan, I was upset that we as fans did not get the best championship matchup. The debacle that put OU in that game has been discussed ad nauseum. And it showed on the field. OU couldn’t have stopped Barbara Bush, much less Reggie Bush. So the Aubies were definitely a better choice. Again, having observed them throughout the season they could destroy you physically by opening gaping holes with their running game or through the passing game with Jason Campbell. Their defense, a Tubberville trademark, was stout and fast. Would they have beaten SC? No one knows that. Things can happen in a game that could change the outcome (see Colt McMcoy — does TX lose with him?). One thing for certain, however, the Tigers would not have been blown out before getting off the bus like OU. So, if the title is stripped from SC should Auburn be given the title six years later? I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Will the NCAA do this? No. As stated this “august” body’s history has always been to leave the title as vacated. There’s also the matter, though I hate to say it, that even if the NCAA did decide to award the title to another school, they might have to consider OU for the simple matter that the Sooners actually PLAYED in the championship game while the Tigers were winning a meaningless Sugar Bowl. In the end the NCAA most likely won’t strip their beloved Trojans of anything and life will go on.

Beverly Harrison

May 26th, 2010
8:28 am

Will they have another parade in Opelika riding around in tractors and sitting on hay?

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw Eagle!

Gator Mike (Original)

May 26th, 2010
8:32 am

We all need to let go of the past and focus on the present and this forthcoming season Auburn was the better team in 2004, and they got hosed, but nothing can be done about it today. Do the AU faithful really want to get in the same category as BAMA in claiming retroactive mythical titles.
David is correct in that it is like all of the argument surrounding Barry Bonds and the home runs even though he was probably juicing. I was fortunate to attend a few S F Giants Games and see him hit many home runs. Regardless of the juice, he had the eye contact to really blast the ball.
The same for USC with Reggie Bush. AU should definately have been in the championship game, but it did’nt happen
Let’s focus on the 2010 Season
Go “all” SEC Teams and Go gators!

5IML

May 26th, 2010
8:33 am

It’s probably better this way. Although they would have played better than Oklahoma played, Auburn would have been thoroughly beaten. At least this way, Auburn can claim that national title forever.

Reptiles Rule

May 26th, 2010
8:36 am

It sure is taking them a long time to decide! Makes you wonder if SC is gonna get punished at all.

Big Al

May 26th, 2010
8:39 am

No SEC undefeated team should be left out in the future.

Auburn should get it and that is coming from a BAMA fan—shocking I know.

KR

May 26th, 2010
8:40 am

1. I think it absolutely can happen again – even to such teams as Alabama and Florida. Unless you start out in the #1 or #2 slot in the polls, there will always be a chance of being left out.

2. No, it should not be retroactively awarded to someone else. There is no way to know how things would have turned out if Auburn had played Southern Cal or if they had played Oklahoma. Take the title from Southern Cal, but don’t award it to anyone else. Besides, what point is there in getting the trophy buy default 5 years later?

WAR EAGLE!

Jacket Backer

May 26th, 2010
8:46 am

no question USC was the best team on the field that year…..i do think AU deserved to be in that title game though…..can’t really go back 6 yrs later and award a NC……i personally don’t think much is going to happen to USC…..

on a side note, i really don’t get all of this SEC dominance talk……2 teams rule the SEC at this time, FL and ALA…..nobody in the SEC is beating these teams either…..

Go Jackets!!

Ron Mexico

May 26th, 2010
8:47 am

As with each team in the title game, they should be evaluated based on individual merits, as each undefeated (or top ranked team) should be. Conference affiliation plays a part but shouldn’t (and won’t) be the deciding factor.

Auburn shouldn’t retroactively get the title. Give it to OU or leave it alone. Too many woulda coulda shoulda-s.

Bama Aaron

May 26th, 2010
8:53 am

1) It could happen to the SEC again, but it is unlikely. And only if the said SEC team started the season outside the top 15 like AU did that season.

2) A vacated win is just that…vacated. No one else steps up to claim it. The AP could revote and give them part of the title, but not the BCS crown.

Kid Ray

May 26th, 2010
8:54 am

Didn’t USC open the 03 season by shutting out AUB on the plains by a score of 24-0?? What makes everyone think AUB would have done any better the follow year? USC was the best team money can buy in 04. Case closed. Move on SEC people.

V Dawg.

May 26th, 2010
8:56 am

You’re damn right Auburn should be national champs. Is that really a question?? Don’t we all think they would have beaten USC if given the opportunity?? I sure as hell do!

if we had a playoff, you would have nothing to write

May 26th, 2010
8:59 am

hmm….wouldn’t all this be solved by playoffs?
this is worse than keeping up with congress and the president.
lets do everything but the common sense solution.

KR

May 26th, 2010
8:59 am

Kid Ray: 2 seasons ago, Alabama went 7-6. Using your logic, why would anyone think they could win 12 games the next season or win it all last season? But, as we all know, they did just that.

In college football, you can’t use what happened previously to predict what will happen in the future.

kc

May 26th, 2010
9:02 am

I absolutely believe that, ONLY if the AP were to re-vote in favor of Auburn being the 2004 NC, we should accept and claim that. If it’s a matter of just claiming it after vacated then no, no way.

Also, I don’t care if it’s Vanderbilt that goes undefeated. If an SEC team gets through the gauntlet unscathed then they’re in the MNC game. No ? asked.

merculf

May 26th, 2010
9:02 am

I think what all of you are forgetting is that it would have been Auburn against OU if USC was caught in time and Auburn definitely would have beaten the Sooners. War Damn Eagle!

Cry me a river

May 26th, 2010
9:03 am

You think Auburn is the only team to ever get screwed out of a National Championship? Penn State got screwed in 1968, 1969, 1973, and 1994. If USC gets stripped of the title, then it goes to no one. Stop playing teams like the Citadel and maybe you’ll get another chance…but I doubt it.

The Most Interesting Man Alive

May 26th, 2010
9:03 am

1. Not in the forseeable future.
2. No, just vacate it, since it is mythical anyway.

5IML

May 26th, 2010
9:11 am

If USC is forced to vacate all Bush-aided victories, the AP should vote again. And they should vote Auburn national champions for 2004. But, if the writers voted for Cushing again, they would probably vote for USC again–as stupid as that sounds.

poopdawg

May 26th, 2010
9:11 am

1. Not if its Florida, Alabama or LSU too good of politics. 2. ERECT THE BANNERS NOW! AUBURN 2004 NATIONAL CHAMPS

uga99

May 26th, 2010
9:11 am

An undefeated Florida, Alabama, or maybe LSU would not get left out. However, a team like UGA, AU, or UT would be if 2 other teams like Texas, USC, Ohio St, Mich. or ND were undefeated as well.

And yes, AU should be named NCs.

EW

May 26th, 2010
9:12 am

1. Too many other factors to answer that..the system is too subjective as it stands…People with too little knowledge have too much influence in the voting…(not all, SOME)
2. No you can’t set that precedent, it has to be vacated..you think that would REALLY make that 04 Auburn team feel any better?

NCAA Statistician

May 26th, 2010
9:13 am

Any team caught playing with ineligible players which USC had because Bush accepted cash from agents (thus was a client and thus no longer an amateur) should lose any games he played in and be stripped of any titles. Period!!!

I do not know if Auburn should get the National title or Oklahoma. If stripped of wins….Oklahoma does not lose that game and they were #2 in the nation heading into it. Auburn may have the best argument simply because of luck…they did not lose to USC (which they would have) and thus can still claim they did not lose to anyone with or without ineligible players.

Doug

May 26th, 2010
9:13 am

Cry me a river:

I bet your team has never played a team like the Citadel.

D B Cooper

May 26th, 2010
9:26 am

1 Could easily happen as KR states. If any 2 bcs schools start 1 and 2 and go undefeated they have to play for the title
2 Auburn really wasn’t national champ material. Good but not title good

dawgfan

May 26th, 2010
9:28 am

1. Yes, I could definitely see it happening again. I agree with an above poster that if one of the non-marquee names in the SEC runs the table or only loses one game the voters would give them the cold shoulder. And by non-marquee I’m talking anyone other than LSU, Florida, and Bama. My Dawgs are a little borderline. If there were two media darlings ahead of us we’d be in trouble. I personally think the media is soon going to make a big push to get a Boise State or TCU in the title game come hell or high water. That’s been building for years. If they have to shut the SEC out they will.

2. Auburn should have got a share anyway, especially since USC got one just the year before. What an unbelievable double standard. It was and is a black eye for college football.

rtr13rtr

May 26th, 2010
9:31 am

I would be fine with or without AU winning it in 04.

idi

May 26th, 2010
9:33 am

Vacating it would appear to be the logical choice since we don’t have a “way-back” machine to replace the Spoiled Cheaters with Auburn in the Championship Game. The wartigereaglemen would surely smite the overrated Sooners.

Otto

May 26th, 2010
9:34 am

Auburn would have played USC very well and most likely won in ‘04.

Hugh Nall was OC in ‘03 and was out after one year for Al Borges. The ‘04 team was much better than the ‘02 team that played USC to a 1 TD loss in LA with Bobby Petrino as OC.

Bill King is a ................

May 26th, 2010
9:40 am

Hell Yes!! Btw….i’m a UGA fan.

npgator

May 26th, 2010
9:41 am

Yes and last.

SaintsLSU

May 26th, 2010
9:45 am

Auburn was tough that year. They beat LSU in the memorable “extra point game” I have all the respect in the world for that AU team, but when the NCAA vacates wins, there is no team that benefits from it. There is just no BCS title that year. Maybe they could revote the AP part of it and give the Aubies that one. I hope USC loses the ‘04 title, I don’t like them at all. Even before the AP gave USC half a championship in ‘03, eventhough they did not play in the title game vs LSU at the Superdome. Yes, USC should have been there over OU, but that is the way goes sometimes, just ask AU. Maybe while the NCAA is at it, they can take away whatever USC calls a title from ‘03. “It takes more that one championship to be a dynasty, Pete!” Sorry Reggie, we love having you on the Saints, but USC is going down. And Lame Kiffin is now their coach, sad days ahead for the Trojans. Those fair weather fans will start jumping off the bandwagon in droves. OK, now that I have gotten that USC bashing out of my system I will calm down and read everyone’s thoughts.

Will

May 26th, 2010
9:46 am

I will take it a step farther… a 1 loss SEC team does not deserve to be held out of the BCS title game. I say that because of the pathetic schedules of the teams in the Big 10 and 12. And the Pac 10 as well.

Bob

May 26th, 2010
9:51 am

2004 Auburn was one of the top 3 SEC teams of the decade. And considering what the SEC accomplished in that decade that is saying quite a lot. I would probably only rank 2008 Florida and 2009 Bama ahead of them. Auburn had a smothering defense that year and an explosive offense led by the accurate Jason Campbell and two phenomenal running backs. They would have been extremely difficult for anyone to beat, including 2004 USC. We were all robbed of an epic USC v. SEC matchup. I personally think OU was the biggest culprit in the 2004 mess. They were grossly overrated.

just saying

May 26th, 2010
9:51 am

yeah Auburn was all that then they proceeded to turn around and lose to Georgia Tech in their opener the following year with Reggie Ball. And in 3 years, Tuberville was gone. How does one go undefeated and a possible national champion to having bags packed and gone in 3 years? Same way Richt will be treated if he drops 2 games this season without Bama or LSU on the schedule. Mark my word.

AU_Tiger_Atlanta

May 26th, 2010
9:55 am

As an Auburn fan from birth–and a 1996 graduate–I have strong feelings about this topic.

I firmly believe that we matched up better with USC than anybody they faced that year, especially Oklahoma. I would have bet the proverbial house on the Tigers to win the game were we to have the opportunity to play in that BCS Championship game.

However, we didn’t have that chance and I don’t want to accept a Championship that was “backed into” as opposed to won on the field. I have, and will always call that undefeated Auburn team Co-Champions but that is as far as I go.