Auburn Claims Five National Football Championships
Finally a champion? Former quarterback, Dameyeune Craig, a member of Auburn’s 1993 undefeated team, has been a vocal supporter of recognizing the team as champions. (photo:Brian Bahr/getty images)
For nearly two years Auburn officials have been considering recognizing as many as seven more football national championship teams. Many have taken notice in the last few days that the school has included three additional championships teams (1913,1983, and 1993) on the official web site.
The pro’s and con’s of recognizing additional championships besides the 1957 and 2010 teams have been tossed around for years. So the question is, ‘Why now?’
The short answer is Auburn was prompted to consider adding the three teams to their list of champions in part because of a treatise on the subject researched and written by Birmingham attorney and Auburn grad Michael Skotnicki. His book, “Auburn’s Unclaimed National Championships,” was published in 2012.
It was reported last summer that Shotnicki met with school officials and presented a compelling case for Auburn recognizing at least seven additional teams (1910, 1913, 1914, 1958, 1983, 1993 and 2004). Shortly afterwards, Athletic Director, Jay Jacobs told 247 Sports that, “As we transition into another playoff format for the national champion, I just think we need to look hard at it,” Jacobs said. “We’re so competitive. We compare ourselves to other schools, if they’re counting something that we’re not counting, and we’re on equal footing, wouldn’t it be wise to count it.”
Claiming retroactive championships has been a fairly common practice for years. Notre Dame has followed that path as have USC, Michigan, and many others. Shotnicki pointed out that USC added the1939 title in 2004, and Ole Miss claims three national titles and, “not one is AP, Coaches’ Poll or BCS.” Texas A&M by the way, added the 1919 and 1927 titles when they entered the SEC two years ago.
In addition, one SEC school in particular has for years gotten away with claiming several questionable championships including one were they finished third in the SEC and 20th in the polls. Guess who that might be (hint- got 15 y’all)? Shotnicki cites that last one as a reason that Auburn has been so reluctant to claim teams he feels are more than deserving of the honor. He wrote, “Why should Auburn be any different? In this day and age, why should Auburn be so stuffy about it?”
To use some school’s rationale, Auburn which has had 11 undefeated seasons could’ve claimed at least that many championships. However, Shotnicki argued that unlike many other schools, his seven to nine teams all have a basis for recognition. They were, “All undefeated or won the conference championship, or both. And all were recognized as national champions by several national selectors.”
Although many Auburn people feel like the 13-0, 2004 Tigers are the most deserving of a title … in the end it looks like Auburn chose only to add the three teams that appear in the record book of teams named national champions by one or more of the NCAA’s officially recognized selectors. Whether or not the school chooses to fly the banners in Jordan-Hare remains to be seen.
Nevertheless, some Auburn people will be happy with the news of three additional championships, some may not think the school went far enough, and probably some are of the opinion to not make any changes. This writer would be fine with keeping the status quo or with claiming all seven. Neither way will affect my love for Auburn.
But one thing I do like is when Jacobs said, “The former players that have been on those teams, they all support it.” That was proven by Dameyeune Craig tonight as he defended the move on twitter with this statement, “(AU) was the only undefeated team in the nation that year(’93). Not so far fetched when you think about it.”
Hey, what’s good enough for Dameyeune Craig and Bo Jackson is good enough for me.
(Update 5-17-14: Jay Jacobs told the Auburn Plainsman this afternoon that even though the school has listed five national championships on it’s web site, the actual claiming of the titles is still under consideration. That’s puzzling, if the final decision to recognize them hasn’t been made yet, why are they on the school’s official athletic site?)