Category Archives: Auburn’s Cast of Thousands

Tater Tot on his ’93 national champions

Jon Solomon’s updated his piece about Auburn’s search for more national champs with a quote from Terry Bowden, who coached the 1993 team that’s supposedly under consideration.  He’s pretty good about it, to be honest, ranging from awkward (his dad won the ’93 title) to sensible to honest:

“You’ve been in the same world I’ve been in,” said Terry Bowden, Auburn’s coach in 1993. “In the last 20 years I think this argument hasn’t come up that much. My dad’s Florida State team is the only team we’ve kind of recognized from 1993.”

Bowden said he’s not sure why the Auburn debate is happening now — “Isn’t this about what Alabama does, then Auburn does (for counting national titles)?” he speculated — but added he would be proud if the 1993 team is recognized as a national champion.

“In light of the fact we’re talking about a mythical proclamation that’s not chosen by the NCAA or an NCAA-sanctioned playoff, everybody has the right to claim what they want to claim,” Bowden said. “All I can say is I wouldn’t want to get into that argument, but I’d be proud if they’re recognized. I do know that football team and those young men beat the defending national champion and at the end of the season was the only undefeated team left in the country. Somebody chose them. I don’t even know who that is, to be honest with you.”

It’s a helluva lot less cringeworthy than anything Tuberville’s had to say on the subject.

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Everyone’s a winner, baby.

Tell me, is there any money in claiming old national championships?  Because I’d hate to think Auburn’s flirting with national ridicule simply to try to keep up with Alabama’s example.

Jacobs said the consensus from Auburn fans so far is “pretty strong” that the university should retroactively count past championships.

Alabama, the bitter in-state rival of Auburn, has questionably counted national titles for years. Alabama claims 15 national championships, but counted only six until the mid-1980s.

One of the titles claimed by Alabama is from 1941, when the Crimson Tide lost two games and undefeated Minnesota was widely recognized the consensus champion. Alabama had a final AP ranking of No. 20 and finished third in the SEC. Alabama claims 1941 because it was No. 1 in the Houlgate System, a mathematical rating from 1927 to 1958 that ran in syndicated newspapers.

How truly silly is this? This silly:

For instance, the National Championship Foundation recognizes Auburn as a national champion in 1993 (when the Tigers were on NCAA probation and served a postseason ban) with Florida State, Notre Dame and Nebraska. Florida State is widely considered the only national champion in 1993.

The National Championship Foundation was created in 1980 by Mike Riter of Hudson, N.Y., to retroactively count pre-1980 national titles. The foundation also started naming champions in current time.

So, like I asked, is there any money in this?  ‘Cause I’m wondering if we’re underutilizing the Mumme Poll.  I can be as open for business as the next Mike Riter of Hudson, N.Y.

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“We also understand that other traditional dates may not stay in the same window of times…”

I am getting so tired of this.

Georgia and Auburn officials say it hasn’t been discussed officially, but moving the deep South’s oldest rivalry to earlier in the season is “on the table.”

That was how it was put by Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity, who said his school’s priority is keeping the date of the annual game with Florida. Moving that game would be difficult because of being in Jacksonville and it involves an NFL stadium.

The reason, of course, that they take this cutesy position is because of the scheduling shift adopted last year, which leaves both schools playing rivals on the road every other year to wrap up the season.  It’s cutesy because they’re not saying they’re gonna move it, but…

McGarity and Georgia head coach Mark Richt have said they are fine with playing two rivalry games on the road that close together. Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs said he was open to moving the Georgia game if it’s decided that’s best.

“Right now we’re committed to playing just like we have, the Georgia game at home or away, then a non-conference game, then Alabama home or away. I think there’s merit to taking a look at that down the road,” Jacobs said. “In the perfect world I’d prefer it to be where we’d have another game at that back end, whether it was a Texas A&M or moving Georgia up or whatever it may be but it’s hard to argue with 2013, how it worked out for us having those two games at the end of the year.

So much for decades of tradition wrapping up division and conference titles in that rivalry game.

When you’re done jerking things around, could you let us know, fellas?  Assuming that’s a when, not if, question, that is.

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Saving Private Tuberville

So, one firing and two schools later, Tommy Tuberville is still chasing his great white whale.

Though Auburn laying claim to a national title that year would get into tricky territory since there was a designated championship game in 2004 and the Tigers weren’t selected to play in it, they were an undefeated champion of a major conference and won a significant bowl game.

“What I was disappointed with is we didn’t have the media step up and say, ‘OK, there’s got to be a champion so who is it? It obviously should have been us,” Tuberville said. “Oklahoma lost. Maybe they could say it should be split because they played in the game. But Auburn went undefeated.

“If it’d been Michigan, if it had been Alabama, there would have been more of a push toward saying, hey they should be named No. 1. But Auburn, for some reason, we never got to first base on it. There was no support out of the administration.”

Sense of shame?  Recognition that it’s hard to claim a BCS title without playing in a BCS title game?  Who knows.

But it may now be a thing.

That could be changing.

Jay Jacobs told AL.com that a committee will meet in June to discuss whether the school should officially recognize more than the two national titles for which it officially hangs banners.

That sounds like fun.  Especially when Auburn rationalizes claiming a 2004 championship due to USC’s ineligibility and a 1993 one in spite of its own ineligibility.

I just hope they have another parade.

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“The NCAA recognizes Auburn as National Champions in 2010, 1993, 1983, 1957 and 1913.”

Auburn is now apparently claiming a national championship for its 1993 season – you know, the one (one of the ones?) during which the Tigers were on probation.

Does that mean Southern Cal’s 2004 championship is still recognized on the Plains?  I bet Tubs is pissed.

(h/t Jason Kirk)

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“I mean we got away with some things at times last year.”

Believe it or not, Auburn’s Rhett Lashlee is referring to the national title game there.

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So how badly do we want to keep this rivalry, anyway?

I’m a little surprised Gus Malzahn didn’t smack this suggestion down more forcefully.

It’s possible Auburn and Georgia could agree to a non-conference game if the cross-divisional match-up is removed from the schedule, but the schools have not entertained that option.

“You know, we haven’t gotten that far but that’s very important to our fan base and Georgia’s,” Malzahn said.

Okay, that’s not a “yes”, but that’s also not a card you want to concede could be played until you don’t have any other option left.

A “non-conference” conference game is oxymoronic. In today’s SEC, there’s no reason to volunteer a course of action that lets others dispense with the oxy.

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The Auburn Way

I know we kid about it, but, damn, Auburn, do you really have to get this in your face about who receives a scholarship?

Bruce Pearl looks like a match made in heaven, doesn’t he?

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“I kind of get tired of it sometimes…”

Poor Ricardo Lewis.

With just 25 seconds remaining, Louis etched his name in Auburn lore on the contest’s final score — an incredible 73-yard touchdown catch-for-the-ages off a deflected pass — which helped Auburn walk away with a 43-38 victory.

Now the play follows him like a shadow.

“Every time I’m out (fans want me) to do the pose or ask me what was I thinking,” he said. “After I caught it I was getting the same response. I just smile and I tell them it was one in a million. A feeling like, I can’t replay the feeling that I felt at that time. I just embrace it. I didn’t know what to do.”

What he was thinking?  What he was thinking was some variation of “man, I’ve got to be the luckiest sumbitch on the planet right now”.

As for being tired of it, during the week leading up to the Auburn game, if Georgia’s coaches aren’t making the defense relive that play to the point of nausea, shame on them.

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You’ve got to spend money to lose money.

In a year in which it won the SEC and played in the national title game, Auburn managed to turn in an athletic department operating deficit.

Severance payments totaled $2.7 million in 2013, largely for Chizik and his staff after the Tigers went 3-9. Auburn Senior Associate Athletics Director Jack Smith said the athletics department drew upon a cash reserve of more than $15 million to cover last year’s operating deficit.

Jay Jacobs is the bizarro Greg McGarity.

But that’s not even the most remarkable part of the story.  This is:  “Student fee subsidies also prevented Auburn from reporting deficits on its NCAA reports in 2011, 2010 and 2009.”

How do you win a national football title and lose money (but for what you forcibly extracted from students)?  Shoot, Tennessee used to be my gold standard for financial mismanagement in the conference, but at least the Vols have the excuse of not winning anything for a while.

Even Maryland managed to avoid finishing in the red last year.

Maybe Saban’s master plan is for Alabama to spend so much money that it forces Auburn into bankruptcy trying to keep pace.

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