So we’ve already established that this is a major kegger day in Knoxville (click here for the updated USC story). The Lane Kiffin/Weenie Roast officially begins at 3 p.m., when the NCAA is scheduled to drop the probation hammer on USC.
But how do you feel today if you’re an Auburn fan? USC may get stripped of its 2004 BCS national championship, and the Tigers never were allowed to even play in that game, despite going through the season undefeated.
Is this a day for Auburn to feel vindicated or just angry?
Rewind to 2004: Auburn went 12-0 through the regular season but finished third in the BCS standings, behind USC and Oklahoma (which also went 12-0). To any SEC follower, the thought of going through the conference season undefeated and not winding up in the national title game is ludicrous. But the Tigers had to settle for the Sugar Bowl, and they defeated Virginia Tech, 16-14.
Auburn’s case for being in the BCS title game even was supported by Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, who said, “We started out playing Southern Cal and I believe this Auburn team is better.”
So you can imagine what the opinion was of Oklahoma — especially after the Trojans destroyed the Sooners, 55-19, to claim the title.
“Neither team is better than us,” Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville proclaimed. “We’ll play them anytime, anywhere.”
Never got that chance.
Now what? The BCS added to its bylaws in 2007 — after the NCAA began looking into potential violations at USC — that gives it the power to strip a championship from the winner. Quoting:
“When the NCAA or a conference makes a finding of violations … and imposes a sanction of forfeiture or vacation of contests in which an ineligible student-athlete participated, we will presume that vacation of participation in a BCS bowl game is warranted.”
This doesn’t mean the BCS (which is independent of the NCAA) is suddenly going to declare Oklahoma the winner and give Auburn a runner-up trophy. If it opts to strip USC, there just won’t be a champion listed for 2004.
Conversely, the Associated Press will not change its final rankings from that season: USC will remain No. 1 and Auburn (which drew three first-place votes) will be No. 2.
The Tigers probably deserve a little more than that.
But then, they also deserved more in 2004.