PASADENA, California - There are two parts to this national championship business.
Part One: Winning them.
Part Two: Recognizing them and celebrating them.
Auburn’s been better at the first part than the second part, but AD Jay Jacobs plans to change that.
At the moment, the school gives full recognition as national champions to its undefeated 1957 team, which won the AP title, and its unbeaten 2010 team, which won the BCS championship, but other Auburn teams have been named national champions by various selectors.
Jacobs said Auburn has been studying the subject, and there’s a good chance you’ll see other special teams from the past earn the same recognition from the school itself. He wants input on the subject from Auburn fans.
“I think we should go back and claim them,” he said. “I think we should count our national championships just as our peers do.”
The most likely candidates to be added to Auburn’s honor roll, according to the AD: 1910, 1913, 1914, 1983 and 2004.
Along with 1957 and 2010, that would give Auburn seven national championships with a chance tonight in the BCS Championship Game against Florida State to earn No. 8.
Jacobs himself played on Pat Dye’s 1983 team, which finished 11-1 after winning the SEC title and the Sugar Bowl and was named national champion by the New York Times.
“That one’s a little personal to me,” Jacobs said.
Tommy Tuberville’s 2004 team went 13-0, won the SEC and finished No. 2 in the AP and USA Today polls, but was shut out of a chance to play in the BCS Championship Game. USC won that game big over Oklahoma, but the BCS later stripped the Trojans of the title because of NCAA violations that included playing an ineligible player in Reggie Bush.
The BCS declined to name anyone as champion in USC’s place.
You’ll notice one of Auburn’s undefeated teams not on Jacobs’ list. It’s Terry Bowden’s 1993 team, which went 11-0 but was denied a chance to play in the SEC Championship Game and a bowl game because of NCAA probation from the Dye regime.
For that reason, Jacobs said, “the only one that gives me a little pause is 1993,” even though the National Championship Foundation named Auburn as a champion for that season retroactively.
“What you don’t want to do is make somebody think you’re making something up,” Jacobs said. “But if other schools are claiming their championships, why shouldn’t we claim ours?”
Alabama didn’t start recognizing some of its earliest national championship teams until the early 1980s, a move spearheaded by then-sports information director Wayne Atcheson. He claimed five titles from the pre-Bear Bryant years. Alabama now claims 15 total national championships.
A year ago, Texas A&M claimed national titles for 1919 and 1927 to bring the school’s total to three.
The whole debate can get a little silly. National titles have been awarded before bowl games and after bowl losses. They’ve been awarded decades after the fact when certain organizations went back and crunched the numbers.
If someone with some credibility has named your school a national champion, why not hang a banner and hand out rings?
“Let’s get them all championship rings,” Jacobs said. “That’s what I say. Why not?”
Edited by CrimsoNation713, 14 January 2014 - 08:58 PM.