Should the Football Writers, BCS make Auburn their 2004 champions?

Tommy Tuberville has been known to get into trouble because he has this nasty habit of speaking his mind.

Earlier this summer you’ll  recall that the Big 12 was about to go out of business. Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-10) had already left  the conference. Then Texas threatened to also go to the Pac-10 and take four more teams (Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State) with them. It was a mess.

 The remaining 10 members of the Big 12 eventually stayed together because Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M used their leverage to get sweetheart financial deals to stay that the other seven teams in the league did not get.

Tuberville, who coached 14 years in the SEC (10 at Auburn, four at Ole Miss) before becoming the head coach at Texas Tech last January, publicly questioned how long the new Big 12 could stay to together with that kind of financial inequity (not to mention animosity) among the members. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe didn’t appreciate the comments and publicly reprimanded Tuberville. Of course Tuberville raised a legitimate issue that many in the media had already written about. And he  will likely be proven right in the long run.

“I just say what I think is going on,” Tuberville said.

On Wednesday Tuberville called and he was ready to speak his mind again. A couple of news items had just come to his attention:

Item No.1: BCS executive director Bill Hancock, appearing at Big 12 media days on Tuesday, said that if USC does not get any relief in its appeal of recent NCAA sanctions, there was a great likelihood that the Trojans’ 2004 BCS national championship will be vacated. Among the penalties handed down to USC in the Reggie Bush case was that 14 victories would be vacated from the 2004 and 2005 seasons. USC won the BCS championship in 2004 and lost in the title game to Texas in 2005.

If the BCS vacates the championship, it will simply be stricken from the record books. No one will be the champion of 2004. It will be as if the game was never played.

 Item No. 2: The Football Writers Association of America has presented the Grantland Rice Trophy to its national champions since 1954. Most of the time the FWAA goes with the BCS champion but not always. In 2003 the writers chose USC, which had finished the regular season No. 1 in the AP poll but did not get into the BCS championship game. LSU beat Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl for the BCS championship that season.

(In the interest of full disclosure, you need to know that your humble scribe is a former president of the FWAA).

Among the things that will be discussed, FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson said, is stripping the 2004 title from USC and awarding it to another team.

 One option is Oklahoma, which lost to USC in the BCS championship game to finish 12-1.

 But another option for the FWAA would be Auburn, which went 13-0 and won the SEC championship but did not get into the BCS championship game, setting off a storm of criticism in our part of the world.  Auburn did finish No. 2 in the final Associated Press and coaches polls. Given the fact that the SEC has proven its worth by winning four straight national championships, it remains a bone of contention that an SEC champion went undefeated and walked away with no national recognition.

Tuberville,  who was 85-40 in 10 years at Auburn, thinks it is time to change that.

“To me it doesn’t make any sense to just vacate those championships. Somebody should win those. And the players who played by the rules deserved to be rewarded,” said Tuberville. “If you’re going to take the championships away because people didn’t play by the rules then fine. But don’t act like those championships don’t exist. That’s not fair to the kids.”

Tuberville obviously believes that Auburn would be deserving of both the BCS and the FWAA championships. Earlier this year the Associated Press, which is not at part of the BCS but has crowned a national champion every year since 1936, announced that USC would remain its 2004 champion regardless of how its case with the NCAA is resolved.

The BCS has a presidential oversight committee that must sign off on anything the 11 commissioners decide to do. Presidents, by their very nature, are risk averse. They don’t like to rock the boat. And taking a championship from one team and giving it to another would certainly rock college football’s boat. And, as it turns out, the rules of the BCS do not allow them to do it.

“Our bylaws allow the presidents to vacate the championship but not to reassign it,” said Bill Hancock, the executive director of the BCS. “We couldn’t do it if we wanted to.”

But Tuberville believes that this is an unprecented situation that requires a little courage to do the right thing.

“A team that won the national championship (USC) may lose the wins that gave it the national championship in the first place,” he said. “If you believe that they should not have that championship, how can you not reward a team that  played championship football that season?

“Give it Oklahoma, give it to Auburn or, shoot, give it to Utah (Urban Meyer’s team was 12-0 that season). But give it to somebody. I think it should go to Auburn because we were really good that year and we won all of our games.”

Yep, Auburn was pretty good in 2004 as four players (Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, Ronnie Brown, Jason Campbell, Carlos Rogers) were taken in the first round of the next NFL Draft. Auburn became the first school in SEC history to have four first round picks in a draft. Brown was the No. 2 overall pick by the Dolphins.

So what do you think? Put your own school loyalties aside, if that’s possible. If you were in charge of these organizations what would you do? If the NCAA takes those victories away from USC, do you still let them keep the national championship? If you take the national title away, do you give it to some other deserving team or do you just vacate it and act like it never happened?

The floor is yours.

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299 comments Add your comment

Tom, Resident Georgia Fan

July 29th, 2010
7:30 am

Give it to Auburn. they deserve it.

mike

July 29th, 2010
7:36 am

Get the players from the rosters of Auburn and Oklahoma in 2004 back together for a game to decide it all. Half the proceeds go to charity, other half to the players.

Will Collier

July 29th, 2010
7:39 am

As an Auburn grad, I have to say that I don’t want it. Not because the team wasn’t deserving–it certainly was–but because I’m not interested in preserving the myth of poll-generated “championships.” The collected opinions of a bunch of media employees, whether here or in the AP or Harris polls (don’t get me started on the SID–whoops, I mean “coaches poll”), aren’t worth a cup of warm spit to begin with, and they certainly don’t add up to a “championship.” I’d just as soon tell them where they can shove their fake championships, especially when they’re trying to make up for being idiots, six years too late.

Burdell

July 29th, 2010
7:40 am

I agree Tom…give it to the Tigers, errr, War Eagle, errr, whatever they call themselves.

CRIMINOLE

July 29th, 2010
7:42 am

Hell, just give it to my noleys:)

NC DAWG

July 29th, 2010
7:43 am

As much as I hate to admit it. Auburn got screwed that year. Any SEC team that goes undefeated deserves a chance to play for the National Championship. Auburn should get it.

WDE

July 29th, 2010
7:45 am

As an Auburn fan, it is depressing to think that a team so perfect (in the SEC, no less) would have been denied a chance to compete for the championship. In my mind, its better to be the standout example of the SEC getting screwed than to still have gotten screwed but had it made up for 6 years after the fact. There wouldn’t be any real excitement or reason to celebrate this long afterward… True Auburn fans should think back to that season with good memories regardless of the BCS snubbing us. Plus, we aren’t Alabama- we aren’t in the business of bragging about retroactively-awarded national championships.

piper

July 29th, 2010
7:45 am

oklahoma was the runner up in ‘04. if we’re wiping out what usc did, that includes the nat’l title game. who’s to say auburn beat oklahoma?

Jon Matrix

July 29th, 2010
7:48 am

Auburn should definitely get it. The year before they shut out the University of Southern California at home 19-0. http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/watch?client=mv-google&xl=xl_blazer&v=gGbqLwbfu2M

Jon Matrix

July 29th, 2010
7:55 am

Auburn also played the toughest non conference schedule ever in the country that year versus Louisiana Monroe, Louisiana Tech and The Citadel. USC played against teams I’ve never heard of AT Virginia Tech, Colorado St., AT BYU, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. There is no way that USC could ever beat an SEC team, especially Auburn.

Gen Neyland

July 29th, 2010
7:56 am

Beebe and Slive don’t want to personal opinions from their leagues HC’s, especially when they’re right. I’m talking officiating and money, which by all accounts, go hand in hand.

The NC of 2004 should be hauled out of Southern California. Where it should be delivered is an enigma. What’s the point of ‘giving’ it to Auburn if in fact they didn’t ‘earn’ it by playing for it..? I’d love to see more Crystal Footballs in our home territory but not as an after thought.

Mikey in SAV

July 29th, 2010
7:56 am

In a word, No.
Retroactive “champion” doesnt sound right.

82Dawg

July 29th, 2010
8:00 am

Do you think Auburn would really want it now? Different coach, players……

TommyP

July 29th, 2010
8:03 am

Auburn’s non-conference slate was embarrassing that year.

So if USC vacates all their victories, then the Oklahoma game never occurred and they’re undefeated.

No way you can give it to Auburn…..or Oklahoma…..or Utah. Just vacate it.

Chipper Jones would've graduated magna cum laude had he chosen to matriculate at Florida

July 29th, 2010
8:04 am

Vacate it or let USC keep it. Otherwise, Oklahoma ought to get it. In any event, give it a rest.

Sowega

July 29th, 2010
8:06 am

Maybe Auburn should vacate the decision to get rid of Tuberville if they are awarded 2004 NC. No way he gets forced out if had won that NC!

H-Back

July 29th, 2010
8:08 am

Auburn didn’t even make the NC game, OU deserves it more.

Mel Gibson's #1 fan

July 29th, 2010
8:10 am

The only way Allabarn can win a National Championship is by DEFAULT…

Total losers

Richipoo

July 29th, 2010
8:11 am

Tony,
Should USC pay back the millions of dollars for playing in the BCS championship game?

How2fish

July 29th, 2010
8:12 am

I think you keep the trophy in the USC trophy case and NEVER let them move it out of the public view they have to have it in the same trophy case as the NC’s trophy’s they have already earned and anymore they earn in the future ..you merely change the words from 2004 NC..to 2004 Member of the College Football Hall of Shame..and that’s what you do going forward to any team that voids a NC..can’t you see the impact on recruits..here are our NC trophy for and I don’t know what years USC won NC but lets say 1936,1947,1956 etc oh and the one in the middle is the 2004 Hall of Shame trophy that Reggie Bush and Pete Carrol got for us.I think taking the trophy out of the case sort of lets them off the hook sort of out of sight out of mind…keep it there as a permanent reminder.

richham

July 29th, 2010
8:15 am

How many times do we have to rehash this subject? If they are required to vacate the wins from that season by the NCAA, yes!!!!

I don’t care who gets it but give it to someone else. This is a stupid topic and one you have already covered on multiple times.

Please we are all looking forward to the upcoming season, we don’t care about the disgraced USC football and basketball teams.

Frank

July 29th, 2010
8:15 am

That Auburn team was loaded all over the field. It’s ashamed they didn’t get the chance to play for the title. I would think even the biggest Georgia and Alabama fans would agree with that. And yet, we still don’t have even a four-team playoff system…

Jim

July 29th, 2010
8:19 am

I hope Auburn fans would not want that from the FWAA. Why? Simple, AU didn’t earn it on the field, they got it by default. No one would really consider them champions. Sure they got hosed back in 2004 by not even playing for the title, but life stinks and you move on. But do you want to brag about a championship that you didn’t really win, but only had your name associated with it due to something you had absolutely nothing to do with?

George P Burdell

July 29th, 2010
8:20 am

FWAA should make a rule that the second place vote getter is automatically given first place if the first place school is forced to vacate its games. The rule should be applied retroactively.

Chi Town

July 29th, 2010
8:23 am

Maybe they should give it to the Necks.

That way the Barn will have another parade with tractors going thru the metropolis of Opelika.

Loved those pictures. What a great school.

RomeDawg

July 29th, 2010
8:24 am

The BCS blows. Football championships should be decided by players on the field, not writers. If it were going to be decided by writers, lets just have a preseason publication and not play the games. College Football needs a playoff, just like almost EVERY other sport.

Ttuberville

July 29th, 2010
8:27 am

These are all great and intelligent debates it is too bad there is no way to see how USC vs Auburn would look on an actual playing field with basically the same teams. http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/watch?client=mv-google&xl=xl_blazer&v=gGbqLwbfu2M

AU1985 Alum

July 29th, 2010
8:34 am

George Burdell has it right. These polls are like a beauty contest. If the #1 team has to vacate due to being a cheater, then it should automatically go to the #2 team (i.e. the first runner up).

Lane Kiffin

July 29th, 2010
8:35 am

I find it absolutely fascinating that college writers, college fans, and the NCAA all snort at the notion of awarding Auburn the 04 championship retroactively….yet every single one of them still claims bama has 13 national titles…half of which are now claimed retroactively. I also find it hilarious that the loudest opponents of the notion for AU to be awarded the 04 championship retroactively….are none other than the very same bammer fans who cling so desperately to their beloved “13″…knowing that most of those 13 claimed titles are nefariously self awarded retroactively.

As for AU, they don’t need a retroactively awarded title to make themselves feel worth something like bammers do.

How2fish

July 29th, 2010
8:38 am

Chi Town as always keeping it just as classy as we have come to expect..your a real piece of work. Not a peep out of you about the cheaters of USC but you can spew about Auburn..nice.

Butts Wagner

July 29th, 2010
8:41 am

It doesn’t matter who gets it. Every record book will have a note that says USC won it and Auburn(or whoever) was awarded it 6 years late due to NCAA infractions. And at some point in the future, the fact that Reggie Bush was paid may be the norm in college football, which means that future generations may think that USC should have never lost the title in the first place.

Faurot in Fall

July 29th, 2010
8:42 am

How can you give a team a title from a game they never played? I realize Auburn got screwed out of playing in the NC that year, but how do we know if they would have even beaten OU? We can arm chair quarterback our opinions all day, but the game never happened. And, a rep from the BCS just said at Big XII Media Days if the decision is to take it from USC, then that year will sit vacant which is the right thing to do.

TJ

July 29th, 2010
8:42 am

I’d say that Utah has a much claim to that title as Auburn does!

How2fish

July 29th, 2010
8:44 am

AU1985 Alum I agree with you and George..I still think USC has to keep a Hall of Shame trophy displayed with the 10-11 NC’s they won fair and square.

Galen Hall

July 29th, 2010
8:45 am

Bout as well, they have the best case.

Typical Gator Fan

July 29th, 2010
8:45 am

I think the Gators should be crowned national champions for 2004. The Gators are pretty much the best team in the last 20 years, hands down.

O.J. Simpson

July 29th, 2010
8:47 am

Hey How2fish, does my Heisman trophy belong in the Hall of Shame too?

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

July 29th, 2010
8:50 am

You know, before reading all this, I thought, “Hell yeah give it to Auburn!” That team was fantastic and got hosed by the system.

However, I just can’t bring myself to do that anymore. We can’t say that Auburn would’ve beaten OU if given the chance (I think they would have, but that’s just one man’s opinion). There’re too many variables to consider in such a scenario.

So what do I think they should do about the 2004 title? Vacate it, but leave it in the record books and add this little item next to it: *

That’s right, put an asterisk next to it (for the record, that’s what they need to do with Barry Bonds’ homerun “record” as well) and, instead of hauling the crystal football out of LA, go paint a huge asterisk on the crystal itself and leave it prominently displayed for all to see.

Nothing more shameful than that, if you ask me.

bjohndawg

July 29th, 2010
8:51 am

Nothing debatable here. The BCS by laws say you cannot do it.
So strip it from USC and make it a vacant year.

But truth be told…Auburn still deserves the title.and still got the shaft.

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

July 29th, 2010
8:52 am

O.J., to be fair, you were eligible while playing at USC and you didn’t butcher your wife and her friend until years after you graduated. So your statue stays where it is.

jsmith

July 29th, 2010
8:53 am

i think alabama already claimed it as one of their 18 national titles???????

Spike

July 29th, 2010
8:53 am

Auburn an undefeated SEC Champ, did indeed get screwed that year. Okay, I said it and I feel better. But I’m tired of hearing about this six years later.

Ron Mexico

July 29th, 2010
8:53 am

Disappointing Tony, what’s the problem, you go for a day without beating the SEC drum and fear your fans are disappearing? USC won the game. Nothing changes that. The title was already tainted that year by having three candidates. Trying to rewrite history won’t take the taint off of anything. Just let it die already. USC was the champ, and Oklahoma, Auburn, and Utah were all “pretty good”.

hammer

July 29th, 2010
8:54 am

As an AU fan if we got it retroactively it would not be respected by many, and be scoffed at by most (Alabama fans). But heck we might as well take it just like bama has taken all the ones they have received over the years.

thad

July 29th, 2010
8:54 am

This was university of awebren’s reaction after the 2004 season
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TDqvD34hEA

the real Old Gold

July 29th, 2010
8:55 am

heathem

July 29th, 2010
8:56 am

You can’t just vacate titles or trophies. If you want to make sure you are doing everything you can to stick in the memory of fans and record books that a team/player should NOT be recognized at the champion/winner you have to award it to someone else. If you leave it vacant, it doesn’t do anything. If nobody is given Bush’s Heisman it will always be “his” in the eyes of fans looking back. If the 2004 title is vacant it will get filled in the minds of fans….likely as USC since nobody else is “named” to that spot. Whether or not you should take the titles or trophies from them is a different question. If you do take them, I think you have no choice but to award it to someone else. Otherwise it does no good at all and everyone across the board will remember it as USC’s title and Bush’s Heisman. You have to fill the hole if you decide you are going to strip this stuff.

RamblinWrecker

July 29th, 2010
8:56 am

Yes, if the BCS does remove USC as the 2004 national champion, then it should go to Auburn since they did finish #2 in the final BCS poll. Since they cannot make Auburn play Oklahoma for the 2004 national championship, the only thing left to provide an “objective” (and I use that term very loosely when referencing the BCS) standard is the final BCS poll.

KR

July 29th, 2010
8:56 am

I am an Auburn graduate.

No, Auburn should not be retroactively awarded the BCS championship and neither should Utah. Each could make a case that they should have been in the game, and yet, neither team actually made it. There’s no way of knowing which of those two would have faced Oklahoma if USC hadn’t been there. And, there’s also no way of knowing (other than speculation) if either team could have beaten Oklahoma.

IF someone HAS to be awarded it retroactively, it should go to the other team that actually played in the BCS championship game, even though they did lose.

Frank L

July 29th, 2010
8:57 am

No. Should I get last night’s lottery because I WAS going to pick those correct numbers. Of course you would really like for the sec to have another NC last decade wouldn’t you tony. Too bad your fav team couldn’t get one.