Despite losing out to Florida State in the final BCS title game earlier this month, Auburn could be flying a handful of new banners at Jordan-Hare Stadium in the very near future. Or, at the very least, recognizing a handful more than they currently do.
Officially, the Tigers claim two football national championships: 1957 and 2010. Unofficially, AU could, as other schools do — hello, Alabama — claim multiple “unofficial” titles.
Utilizing the “all the cool universities are doing it” line of reasoning, AU athletic director Jay Jacobs confirmed that the football program is indeed considering recognizing seven additional national championships in football.
“If other schools are using these same polls to declare a national championship, we should at least consider it,” Jacobs told AuburnUndercover.com. “I don’t think there’s a better time for the Auburn family to consider it than right here at the end of the BCS era.
“As we transition into another playoff format for the national champion, I just think we need to look hard at it.”
The 1910, 1913, 1914, 1958, 1983, 1993 and 2004 teams, the 247Sports.com website notes, are all under consideration. Three of those title teams — 1913, 1983 and 1993 — are recognized by the NCAA in its record book, although not through either the Associated Press or coaches’ poll. The unbeaten 1913 team was named national champion by six organizations (Chicago and Harvard also claim titles for that year), the one-loss 1983 team by 10 (Miami was the AP, FWAA and UPI champ) and the undefeated 1993 team by four (Florida State was the AP, FWAA and UPI champ).
The most noteworthy of the seven under consideration, and the one that would likely cause the most debate, is the 2004 team. The Tigers that year finished the season as unbeaten SEC champions; unfortunately for AU, there were two other Big Five conference teams — USC and Oklahoma — that went undefeated as well. The Trojans and Sooners finished one-two in the final regular season BCS standings that year and met in the Orange Bowl in the seventh BCS title game. Because of NCAA sanctions stemming from the Reggie Bush controversy, however, USC was forced to vacate the title for the 2004 season, with the NCAA officially recognizing no one as that year’s champion.
A book published in 2012 and written by Birmingham attorney Michael Skotnicki laid out the case for his alma mater to claim many more football titles than they already do. In an interview with 247Sports.com, Skotnicki gave several examples of other football programs padding its football résumé, including two from the SEC.
“Texas A&M decided upon entering the SEC that they would add the 1919 and 1927 titles,” Skotnicki said. “Minnesota added the 1904 title last summer. USC added the 1939 title in 2004. Ole Miss claims three national titles and not one is AP, Coaches’ Poll or BCS.
“Why should Auburn be any different? In this day and age, why should Auburn be so stuffy about it?”
Left unmentioned was Auburn’s hated in-state rival. Alabama claims 15 national championships, 10 of which came from the Associated Press, coaches’ poll or, in seven seasons, both. The other five are pre-World War II titles added to the team’s media guide in the eighties.
While not mentioning their Iron Bowl rival specifically, Jacobs made it clear that if it’s good enough for other programs, it’s good enough for his.
“We’re so competitive. We compare ourselves to other schools,” Jacobs, who played on the ’83 team that’s under consideration for title recognition, said. “If they’re counting something that we’re not counting, and we’re on equal footing, wouldn’t it be wise to count it?
“I think it’s something we need to consider right now. It’s been talked about here and there, but let’s get it out there now and look at it and see what we should do.”