Living in the past, part two

I have to say that I’m a little surprised about the sentiment expressed in the comments to yesterday’s post about the 2004 season that Auburn should have been the number one ranked team that season, even without taking the Reggie Bush matter into consideration.

No offense to anyone who asserts that position, but based upon the teams’ stats and strength of schedule, what are you people thinking?  It’s not a close call.

And besides that, because of the margin of victory in the BCS title game, people tend to discount the merit of Oklahoma’s team from that season.  The Sooners weren’t exactly chopped liver.  Find me a team on Auburn’s 2004 schedule of similar quality that the Tigers totally destroyed.

I certainly don’t condone the cheating and the blind eye turned to it, if that’s what happened, and won’t lose a wink of sleep over whatever sanctions are visited on USC.  But I don’t see how you can argue that the Trojans didn’t trot out the best team in college football that season.

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52 Comments

Filed under College Football

52 responses to “Living in the past, part two

  1. kckd

    Thanks to the current BCS system. We’ll never know. It’s the best thing since sliced bread……for blogs and message boards at least.

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  2. Phocion

    Agreed…but since Auburn, rather than Oklahoma, was the team denied the opportunity this is what you will get from many SEC types. Had it been reversed, the Sooner faithful would be singing the same chorus.

    See what happens when you have a system that doesn’t decide the champion “on the field”?

    BTW: Anybody hearing much from Lawrence or Lexington these days about Duke not being the accepted baskeball champ for last year?

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    • See what happens when you have a system that doesn’t decide the champion “on the field”?

      Where did those stats and records come from?

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      • kckd

        LOL, haven’t you made the claim on here that had there not been a preseason poll, Auburn might have been in the game and not OU?

        I think if you were a lawyer you would start the trial as the defense attorney and end up the DA by the closing arguments.

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        • LOL, haven’t you made the claim on here that had there not been a preseason poll, Auburn might have been in the game and not OU?

          Please tell me how that equates to the assertion that Auburn would have beaten USC if they had faced each other.

          I’m not saying that Auburn wasn’t jobbed by the preseason polls. I’m saying that the Tigers weren’t the best team in the country in 2004. Why are you having trouble seeing the difference?

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          • kckd

            Just as I told you before, if OU wasn’t chopped liver as you said and based on what they had done if you started the poll at the halfway point, they would still have started at no. 2 and Auburn would not have passed them. Not by a long shot.

            My point was that was a bad year to talk about what ifs with the preseason poll and as I said before, if OU had not played SC and AU had. If SC blows the shite out of AU, we’re still stuck wondering what if OU would’ve played them.

            I like the Mumme poll and think it’s an interesting concept in how you vote, but not so much how it starts. Nothing would’ve changed that year. OU did nothing until the NCG to make themselves look not as good as Auburn.

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            • In the business, we refer to that as a non-responsive answer. 😉

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              • kckd

                and you’ve never shown one iota how Auburn would have really benefited from a later poll. So in the past, you’ve been pretty non responsive yourself.

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                • Mayor of Dawgtown

                  Both of you guys are missing the point. Southern Cal was paying a player (the best player in the country I might add). SC is DQ’d. What they did or did not do should not matter. The Trojans will have to forfeit the win against OK. So OK is undefeated just like Auburn. It comes down to those 2 teams (forget Utah). With SC out of the way the undefeated champion of the best conference in college football, the SEC, absent a real playoff, should get the nod.

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                  • Mayor, USC wasn’t paying Bush, was it? I thought the issue is that the school ignored/covered up clear evidence that Bush was getting payments/benefits from people he shouldn’t have been receiving them from, which meant that he wasn’t eligible to play college ball.

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                    • Mayor of Dawgtown

                      If the USC program didn’t have knowledge, express or implied, of what was going on why would USC be under investigation and subject to NCAA sanctions at all? And possibly subject to getting stripped of the BCSNC? Pete Carroll doesn’t have to be handing money to Bush personally, does he?

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  3. Doug

    Given that Oklahoma got blown off the map by USC in the Orange Bowl, I think Auburn would’ve made a stronger national-title opponent for the Trojans almost by default. But AU had to survive Virginia Tech by 3 points in their own BCS bowl, if memory serves, so I think USC still would’ve won the title handily.

    Here’s my question: If USC does get pounded with penalties, and the BCS does retroactively award the ’04 title to Auburn, does Tuberville then go to his bosses at Texas Tech demanding a raise because he is, after all, a coach with a national championship on his résumé? ‘Cause he seems like the kind of guy who would do that.

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  4. ConnGator

    As a Florida fan I hate Auburn almost as much as Georgia fans do (I was at both Auburn losses in ’06 and ’07).

    However, they _did_ get shafted in ’04. Saurian Sagacity did a very good post on this three years ago:

    http://sauriansagacity.blogspot.com/2007/06/sec-is-more-difficult_28.html

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  5. After the 05 NFl draft several voters did say that they migjt have been remiss in not putting Auburn in the MNC Game. I agree. Auburn was good enough to have won it all.

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  6. Reptillicide

    It’s the SEC!SEC!SEC! Homerism at it’s best. You’re a damned idiot if you think that Auburn was a better team than either Oklahoma or Southern Cal that year, and it doesn’t matter HOW bad oklahoma lost.

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    • Macallanlover

      I can have total respect for anyone that THINKS USC was the best team in 2004, they may have been. I have ZERO respect for someone who makes a statement that “your a damned idiot if you think Auburn was better than either USC or OU that year”. In fact, that may be as preposterous a non-political statement as I have ever seen on this blog.

      Auburn is the most heavily credentialed team to ever be denied a chance to play in the BSC finale since it’s inception. As the link in ConnGator’s post shows, Auburn had more quality wins than either USC and and OU. An SEC has NEVER lost when given a chance to play for the faux title, and this was an unbeaten team with 3 draft picks in the Top 12 of the NFL the very next year.

      I watched that USC team struggle mightily with average and sub-par teams while I watched Auburn dominate solid teams that were highly rated. To think USC could not be beaten is absurd, and says you didn’t watch that Stanford at all, much less the one play differential games against Cal and UCLA. An idiot for thinking perhaps Auburn MIGHT have been able to play above that level? None of us will never know but your argument loses all credibility when you fail to respect the facts just to shout insults. Seems you are more an SEC wannabe/hater than we are homers. Jealousy is a very unattractive trait, even on a message board.

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      • Reptillicide

        It just doesn’t require much of an argument. The only people who try to argue that are sec homers. Absolutely nobody else does. When they selected the teams in 2004, only Auburn fans were pissed. Now that the SEC had produced a national champion 4 years in a row, suddenly everyone wants to engage in revisionist history.

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        • Gamecock Fans

          That said, my initial comment was a bit harsh, and I do apologize for using a remark uSually reserved for Gators on any of my fellow dawgs. I still feel that you aren’t looking at it reasonably, but I am sorry for the tone I took.

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          • Reptillicide

            Err.. That was me

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            • Puffdawg

              At long last we discover the 3rd person perpetrator(s)!

              I have to agree with Mac here. Has Oklahoma done anything in recent history at the BCS level to warrant us taking them seriously as an opponent for USC in 2004 (and thus lend extra credibility to USC’s blow out)? I sat in Sanford-Hare stadium in 2004 and watched Auburn handle us pretty easily. I’ve always thought Auburn would’ve given USC a run that year. Have you noticed in recent history when all these great offensive teams face SEC defenses in the title game? Typically they’ve been slowed significantly. Not saying who I think would have won, but I just think Senator et al are selling the Aubies a little short.

              And no, Mac, this does not change my position on (extended) playoffs!!

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              • I sat in Sanford-Hare stadium in 2004 and watched Auburn handle us pretty easily. I’ve always thought Auburn would’ve given USC a run that year.

                Georgia was 45th nationally in scoring that season. USC was sixth.

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                • Dawgaholic

                  UGA played in the SEC and USC played in the Pac-10.

                  You can’t tell me you don’t believe those offenses would have been much closer statistically if either team switched conferences.

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                  • Again, by all accounts, USC had the better SOS that season. So, no, I don’t think they would have been much closer statistically had they switched.

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                  • By the way, this “USC in the SEC” thing – take a look at the ’06 season. Arkansas went 7-1 in conference and played in the SECCG, where the Hogs lost to the eventual MNC 38-28.

                    USC waxed them 50-14. At Arkansas.

                    I think USC would have done just fine no matter what conference it played in.

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                    • Reptillicide

                      Agree completely. This “SEC” thing gets taken too far many times. This is one of those instances. That USC team was incredible, and they would have knocked the shit out of any SEC team that year.

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                    • Puffdawg

                      I thought you might bring this up. What I am getting at is that, based on the performance of the cream of the SEC over the last 7 years, you cannot dismiss Auburn as easily as you are.

                      I don’t doubt USC would do fine in the SEC, but to dismiss Auburn’s chances against that 2004 USC team is ridiculous.

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                    • USC played a tougher schedule than Auburn. Even with that, it was almost Auburn’s equal defensively and it was far superior to Auburn offensively.

                      I’m not saying Auburn wasn’t a quality team, but it wasn’t in USC’s class that season. No team was.

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                    • Dawgaholic

                      McFadden did not play and Arky did not have a QB yet. Arky without McFadden was like UGA without HW in the early 80s.

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                • Puffdawg

                  Ohio State was #8 in scoring offense in 2006. Texas was #3 in 2009. Just because those teams racked up big points and yards in thier conferences doesn’t dispell my argument that top SEC defenses have significantly slowed them in BCS championship games.

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                  • Texas was #3 in 2009.

                    Not trying to knock your overall argument here, but don’t you think McCoy’s injury had a significant effect on Texas’ offense in the title game?

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                    • Puffdawg

                      Undoubtedly it did, but (without having the data to back this up) I would say that in the past 7 years, when an SEC team played in the BCS champ game, they held their opponent under their season scoring average – usually SIGNIFICANTLY. Which supports my theory that USC’s offensive season rank is a bit irrelevant in this discussion.

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                    • How would you know? The only top-30 offense Auburn faced all season was Virginia Tech’s (and that was just scoring; the Hokies were #65 in total offense).

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  7. Atlchris

    One thing we can look at is the talent of the teams… THe matchups… USC did not overwhelm AU in that regard. Jay Raitliff, Jason Campbell, Caddilac, Ronnie Brown, Aromoshadu, Carlos ROgers.. All who are very good NFL players…

    THat year, Auburn beat three top 10 opponents, and beat one, UGA, badly.. And beat UT twice,,, USC only played one top 10 team all year before OU.

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  8. Dawgaholic

    Cal (10-2), Stanford (4-7), UCLA (6-6), and Oregon State (7-5) were all less than ten point games for USC along with an 11 point win at VaTech.

    OU had ten point or less games against K-State (4-7), OK State (7-5), and TX A&M (7-5).

    AU had ten point or less games against UTK (9-3, two losses to AU), LSU, (9-3)(Defending champs), Bama (6-6) and VaTech (10-3).

    Yes, Auburn’s OOC was weak but OU’s included Bowling Green, a 6 loss Oregon team that lost to Indiana, and an 8 loss Houston team. USC played in the PAC-10.

    Considering that 8 of Auburn’s 11 games were against SEC competition it is hard to argue that their overall schedule was weaker than either USC or OU’s schedule. Auburn only had one game (Alabama) where they did not blow out a mediocre team where the others all had several.

    Other than the BCS game, there is little to say that either team was better than another.

    I’m not saying Auburn was definitely more deserving than OU or USC but I am saying definitively that USC and OU were not more deserving than Auburn.

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  9. gernblanski

    Auburn started the year out ranked behind USC and Oklahoma because:

    1. Oklahoma had just played in the 2003 NC game.

    2. Auburn was ranked #1 in many 2003 preseason polls only to finish that season 8-5.

    3. They opened the 2003 season at home against USC and lost 23-0.

    4. The administration was so upset with the 2003 season that they contemplated replacing Tuberville with Bobby Petrino.

    Also, the 2004 non-conference opponents for all three teams were as follows:

    Auburn – La Monroe, The Citadel, La Tech
    USC – Va Tech, Colorado State, BYU, Notre Dame
    OU – Bowling Green, Houston, Oregon.

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    • Reptillicide

      This says it all. You cannot look at Auburns non-conf schedule and say they deserved a shot. That’s just pathetic.

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  10. One thing I am sure of: I am not a damn idiot. Not sure you can make the same statement.

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  11. ruteger

    “No offense to anyone who asserts that position, but based upon the teams’ stats and strength of schedule, what are you people thinking? It’s not a close call.” “But I don’t see how you can argue that the Trojans didn’t trot out the best team in college football that season.”

    I personally don’t think Auburn was better than USC that year, but I don’t see how you can argue that you can’t argue. You can make stats say anything, especially in college football. You can only judge a team based on who/how they played, and given the small data sample (12 games) and minimal overlap of opponents, it’s always going to be flawed and arguable to compare teams based on records and stats.

    Sagarin states that USC had the 7th toughest schedule and Auburn the 60th? The NCAA states Auburn had the 5th and USC the 18th:

    http://web1.ncaa.org/d1mfb/2004/Internet/toughest%20schedule/ia_9games_cumm.pdf

    (As a side note, I noticed that Sagarin had every single PAC-10 team’s schedule strength rated above every single SEC team’s. Not saying that wasn’t true, but….really?)

    Then looking at team stats, you can’t just look at numbers and rankings without trying to comprehend the competition that they compiled those against. And that’s as nebulous as it gets.

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    • All the NCAA does to rank SOS is add up opponents’ won-loss records. You could play an entire slate of 1-AA opponents with glittering records and by the NCAA’s measure, SOS would come out better than that of a school who played tougher D-1 schools with lesser records. It’s a pretty useless measure.

      If it makes you feel any better, Colley saw it USC 18, Auburn 25 and Oklahoma 9. That’s the closest ranking I could find. Compare that with Howell’s. Sagarin is far from alone in how he ranked SOS that season.

      There’s a legit reason for the Pac-10’s SOS being stronger than you might expect. The nine-game conference schedule basically eliminates one cupcake, making the overall SOS look better.

      I’m not just going on numbers, by the way. If you watched both teams play, there isn’t a game from that season in which any other school played at the level USC did in the BCS title game. You guys can sit there and tell me that Auburn would have hung in there, and sure, anything can happen, but it’s not like the Tigers were that great a shakes against USC the two previous times those teams met.

      A backfield with two Heisman Trophy winners and Norm Chow with a month to prepare – you really think Gene Chizik is that much better of a defensive coach than Bob Stoops?

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      • Dawgaholic

        UGA played that well against LSU. Had we had USC’s schedule, it is completely possible we would have duplicated their result.

        We saw what AU did to us.

        It is much easier to play a bunch of teams in the 40-70 range than to play 5 or 6 teams (some back-to-back) in the top 30, 3 or 4 in the 70-90 range an a couple in the 100-120 range if you are a top 5 team. That’s not true if you are a 25-50 team.

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        • LSU lost three games that season, hardly in the same class as Oklahoma. Since you bring them up, though, I should mention that Auburn beat them 10-9.

          Auburn beat Georgia soundly, but it wasn’t anything like what USC did to Oklahoma.

          Georgia’s SOS was better than Auburn’s that season, but, again, I can’t find anyone who ranks it higher than USC’s. USC beat three top-10 teams that season. I don’t believe any other school matched that.

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          • Dawgaholic

            Both beat 4 top 20 teams. Had USC played Cal twice like AU did UTK, then UTK and Cal would have been ranked just about the same.

            I’m still not convinced LSU could not have played with OU in 2004. They lost two SEC games to two elite level SEC teams on the road and then lost a bowl game on a hail mary.

            USC struggled against 3 mediocre teams in Stanford, UCLA, and Oregon State. Alot of the reason the Pac-10 wasn’t worse in SOS is because all of their conference games kept them from getting exposed.

            Auburn deserved a shot as much as anyone.

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      • ruteger

        I’m with you with thinking USC was better than Auburn. Pete Carroll impressed the hell out of me during his stint at USC with his ability to get his teams playing at scary levels in big games (Aside from the UGA/LSU 2007 comparison, I’m not so sure that USC wasn’t the best).

        But, the fact that we’re just looking at numbers/rankings/observances leaves a lot of doubt about who would have been the best if they’d actually met. It makes it a pretty arguable deal. Look at the computer rankings from before the MNC game:

        http://www.nationalchamps.net/NCAA/2004_final_polls.htm

        4 of 6 crunched all the numbers and thought Oklahoma was better. Then they played.

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  12. bad

    And the Patriots had the best team in 2007-8. Giants were 10-6. We should go back and give NE the Lombardy trophy.

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  13. bad

    Lombardi

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  14. In terms of Auburn’s scoring offense, I think you’re ignoring the Tommy Tuberville factor. Remember that Tubbs considered an ideal game to be 17-0 victory running 48 total offensive plays. I’ve never seen a coach quicker to call off the dogs when winning a game.

    Statistically USC far outshone Auburn, but I think if Tubby had let Auburn’s offense run wild, the stats would be much closer.

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