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It’s Time for Auburn to Claim More National Championships

By on June 2nd, 2014 in Football 24 Comments »

It’s time for Auburn to claim more national championships. For years we’ve laughed at Alabama fans that drive around the state with those stupid “15” stickers on their cars. But here’s the thing: There are many across the country who actually believe Bama has that many titles.

Perception is reality.

Auburn will tackle the issue of claiming more national titles this month, with a decision expected before the start of the season. At issue is whether to claim the seasons of 1910, 1913, 1914, 1958, 1983, 1993 and 2004 as championship years.

On the surface it’s all very silly; but when you have a rival that uses it as a recruiting tool, then sometime you have to fight stupid with stupid.

By Alabama standards, these seasons easily qualify for celebration. By their measure, so would last year, considering many of their claimed championships came following bowl game losses.

Some in the Auburn family complain the move would make them no better than the morons who came up with the idea in the first place. It’s hard to argue that point. But when you have a national media that readily acknowledges the titles claimed by Alabama, you have to ask yourself, what’s to lose?

For years, the Auburn Media Guide has acknowledged those teams as champions. I wasn’t around in 1913, but until his last dying breath, my great-grandfather claimed Auburn was robbed following the 1913 undefeated season. Only the Billingsley poll had his beloved Tigers number one.

Or was it the 1914 season?

Joking aside, the Official NCAA Division I Football Records Book lists Auburn, Chicago and Harvard as champions that season. I can honestly make a case for that one. When you look at those grainy, black-and-white pictures from that season, there’s no arguing this team was tops in the land.

Years later, former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville is still bitter over the school not doing more to claim the 2004 title following USC being stripped by the NCAA a few years back because of the Reggie Bush scandal.

“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 told USA Today. “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.”

Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs now wants to take a look.

“We want to do what’s best for Auburn, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks or says,” Jacobs said. “The things that I said about it back in January is the same I feel today. If other schools are counting championships a certain way, then we should count that same exact way.

“Those players deserve whatever accolades, whatever recognition that any reputable organization gave them, so why shouldn’t we honor them that way?” Jacobs said. “It’s not about taking it from somebody. We’re not interested in that. Who was crowned a national champion by whatever polls, that’s good. But all we’re interested in is what’s best for our current and former student-athletes as far as recognition goes.”


Nine national titles have a nice ring to it – even if it’s not completely real.


  1. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    This is way over due. Auburn should have claimed them way before now. Michigan, Ole Miss, USC and countless others have done this and since there was no playoff system around it was legit to do it. Almost every year before BCS, has multiple champions. BTW, I think you left 1958 off your list.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      That’s why all those that came before the BCS are called Mythical NC’s – and why a playoff is needed.
      Also thanks for the heads up on ’58; edit correction made in the article.

  2. broken_towel broken_towel says:

    I think this is a dumb idea. Auburn is too late to the party anyway. This will just result in mockery and ridicule

  3. AUcideng42 AUcideng42 says:

    I’m much less opposed to this idea than I once was. In fact, I’m now supportive of AU claiming all on that list except 1993 and 2004.

    It’s hard to justify claiming a title in the modern era if you are banned from the post-season like in ’93…we couldn’t even play for nor earn an SEC Championship that year. In 2004 there was a process for determining an on-the-field champion (flawed as it may have been especially with USC retroactively vacating) and AU failed to meet the standard (although you’ll never convince me AU wouldn’t have won it if given the chance). Maybe ’93 and ’04 are just too recent in my mind – my opinion could certainly change in time. There’s still the “Undefeated” label for those years, which to me is more impressive than some of the more recent BCS Champions’ bona fides.

    But I’m all for claiming the rest! Especially ’83…It was before my time, but I’m convinced after everything I have read/heard/seen about that team that they deserve it!

    • wpleagle wpleagle says:

      Don’t disagree about 1993, However, there’s no reason on God’s Green Earth not to claim 2004.

    • sparkey sparkey says:

      I couldn’t be more against what you’re saying about 2004. That team went undefeated in the SEC. They beat a tough Tennessee team twice. Virginia Tech also took USC to the wire that season. On top of that, the title was vacated by USC and you can’t give it to Oklahoma for throwing a dud out there like that. So, you’re left with one choice: Auburn. We should raise the 2004 banner proudly and I have been yelling it for years.

      • AUcideng42 AUcideng42 says:

        The fact that 2004 doesn’t have a champion is an excellent argument for claiming a title, and Auburn at least won the SEC and their bowl game.

        However, the reason it still doesn’t sit well with me is that AU was part of the same agreement as the other BCS conference teams to use a common process and championship game to recognize the national champion. Even though this was a flawed process (not just in 2004) I don’t agree with us casting aside that agreement when it is inconvenient.

        Again, my opinion could change in time, and the university claiming this or other years will do nothing to change my respect for the teams, love of the school, or support of the athletic dept.

    • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

      I do disagree about 1993. Other teams have been awarded NC’s while on probation (like bama in 2009 for one).

      • AUcideng42 AUcideng42 says:

        It’s not that AU was on probation in 1993; it’s that AU was ineligible to win their conference or play for a bowl. It seems disingenuous to accept the punishment for rule violations that bars you from being on TV, winning the conference, or playing in a bowl, and then turn around and claim a national championship in spite of it.

        Unlike the ’57 team, the ’93 team didn’t have the support of a major poll, and via the Bowl Coalition, Auburn had previously agreed to a process for claiming a champion on the field that they accepted not to participate in due to the sanctions.

  4. Deangelomywayentfans says:

    I’m Glade It’s a matter of time to claims some national champions

  5. SandMountainTiger SandMountainTiger says:

    Considering no NC is in actuality REAL, I say do what you want.

  6. tigrrr tigrrr says:

    Don’t do it. 15-2 shows something is not right in the counting. 15-9 just shows they have more.

  7. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    I What I am about to suggest will be viewed as wildly unpopular.

    As you can guess my opinion hasn’t changed. So since this notion has reared its ugly head again… I think we need to really see what we are becoming. So here is my opinion on the truth… or what I consider being the truth in an age of falsehoods that as the author so eloquently states reinforces the notion that “perception is reality”.

    Face it. We do live in an age of falsehoods. Look no further than each of us. Don’t like how you look? Plastic surgery! To fat? Liposuction! Don’t like your spouse? Divorce! Your car ain’t getting it? Trade it in and get a new one EVEN IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT. Let someone else worry about making the payments. After all, this world is all about getting what you want today.

    That’s who we now are.

    So it absolutely doesn’t surprise me that the folks who have come up with this ridiculous notion to begin with, that the two National Championships that we earned (1957 & 2010) weren’t enough, so now they want more. And like the person who is addicted to an illicit drug we suddenly find out that, hold the phone, no, you are right; the four made up ones just aren’t enough. By goodness, Auburn deserves more. Now we are going to claim 9… Hell, let’s just get it over with and beat bama and the SEC at their own game and claim 16 National Championships from Sear’s and Roebucks… whether it’s true or not is immaterial.

    What I really find disturbing is the way this was done. Over a weekend. It was a done deal. No vote. Amazingly… there was no ethical debate, no moral argument made on the matter. The decider’s just did it. My question to anyone supporting this absolutely lame idea… does it make you feel better about being an Auburn fan? Look in the mirror and tell me truthfully… with this made up crap it actually makes you feel better about being a part of the Auburn family?? What family do you belong too?? Come on. Look deep. Apparently the truth, as is beauty, is only as deep as your trophy case.

    Ok. That’s not entirely fair. But after all in your defense, that’s the norm of today.

    Again, in order to be objective the prevalent argument I heard was “it will help recruiting”. Not to put too fine a point on it, Auburn was doing just fine without this PR faux pas.

    For eon’s Auburn was the Quaker’s of college football. We walked the straight and narrow and followed the Auburn creed. And suddenly, overnight, we are now crack addicts just like those from T-Town. It’s like I am watching some sick reality T.V. show.

    Everyone (or at least I thought everyone) knew that when bama is mentioned no matter how much glitter and gold they have they come across as a greedy, dishonorable program simply because they claim titles they didn’t deserve. Who thinks bama is great? And I mean by someone who counts! For the record, I certainly don’t mean the money loving sports media who promote them unmercifully. Yes, they have enjoyed success in their history… but in their effort to re- the NCAA history books… ultimately they will never get to where they want to go. They will never replace the Ivy League schools that own the vast majority of the vaunted national championships. So what’s the point?

    And lo and behold…here we are… doing it the same way as bama.

    I think since folks are so quick to jump on this band wagon that for the sake of being open and transparent that we re- the Auburn Creed. Here is what I suggest:

    “I believe that perception is reality and that I can do what I want to create the reality I want to live in. Who says’ I have to earn anything? Therefore, the power of the pen is much greater than the power of honest hard work.

    I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully in getting what I want NOW.

    Honesty and truthfulness are way over-rated, who cares what my fellow men think? This is about football and the glorification of money and fame.

    I believe in a sound mind and sound body if it benefits my desires; Auburn is about keeping the collective moving on the same path, after all this is all about Auburn and football glory.

    I pay only lip service to the word obedience because in the end I am going to do what I want when I want.

    Ultimately, it’s all about showing up the other guy. And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it when it suits me.”

    A tactical pause as I move towards my conclusion:

    I hope that fabrication is an abomination to you… just like it is to me. Regardless, welcome to our collective reality!

    If Auburn men and women are smart… we would march to the President’s office and demand the immediate firing of Jay Jacobs and anyone else that has fabricated this nonsense. It has no place in the fabric of who we are. I would also suggest that for those that made these decisions, if they were Auburn graduates… their diplomas need to be revoked because they obviously have forgotten the creed in their unquenchable quest for fame and glory. And I wouldn’t stop there. This concept would be eradicated publicly to every news outlet across the sporting world. Auburn would only retain the two earned national championships. We would live by what we earn. We set the example for everyone else… or did.

    Regardless, for now, this façade is our temporary reality. The benefits some think we are getting won’t last. Speaking from personal experience, eventually… you have to face the truth. And if you have ever lied to yourself about something that had serious consequences… you know what I am talking about. Funny thing about the truth… it never goes bad. And ultimately, that will be what we are looking for when it hits us square on the nose. That truth can be a bitch!

    War Damn Eagle!

    • War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

      Guess you didn’t read the book….
      This guy has done years of research ~ this is not an overnight phenomena. He has given a copy to JJ and this is what started all the thinking on the subject.

      So you should take it up with this author and debate him. This is not a made-up subject. I would imagine that the players do not think they did not earn them. Most of these championship have been acknowledged just not recognized by AU.

    • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

      While I definitely agree with your sentiment, I don’t agree with the practicality of it. You are 100% correct that this should not be done to bolster our egos as fans or to make ourselves look better to recruits. I’ve found that winning and having a coaching wizard that beats up the resident bully and attacks the recruiting trail does wonders for recruiting. I definitely NEVER want to see a “Got 9!?” shirt or some other foolishness that takes credit for championships before the advent of the forward pass. I, like you, want my integrity to stay intact and have the class divide between Bama and Auburn fan remain as wide as the Grand Canyon.

      That being said, those teams deserve recognition. Any team that was undefeated or was named a National Champion by a polling service I think deserves to mentioned in the same breath as those in 1957 and 2010. I’m with you, in terms or not wanting something I didn’t earn, but lets remember that college football has always been a glorified testoterone infused beauty pageant….especially prior to the BCS era.

      I mean, when your fate rests in the hands of sportsrs, where is the justice in that? So, as much as it pains me to admit, we SHOULD take credit for everything that our former players rightfully earned. Just because some sportsr in Philly thinks Howard Shnellenberger is the next Bobby Dodd, doesn’t mean our guys shouldn’t get the recognition they deserve.

      They don’t have to be NCAA champs, we don’t have to lie, give them credit for the polling service that gave it to them, even if its the Golf Digest poll. Let folks snicker if they want, its the truth, and those teams deserve any and all accolades.

      What I don’t like most is the timing. Claiming the titles now looks very reactionary, as if we are desperately trying to keep up with Bama. I’m sure that has a lot to do with recruiting all these dumb, vain kids, but failing to see the world as it is in the world of recruiting is just as bad as failing to see that the style of football is getting faster. It is, what it is.

      You can try to fight the future, but you will lose. Trust me, I have learned to stop worrying and love the Spread HUNH. (of course now we have the right kids to run it). That is the future and claiming the titles WILL help us in recruiting, to some degree. I mean we are one of THE great college football programs and people outside of the south don’t even know what state Auburn is in.

      This is part of standing up and claiming that mantle as one of the all time great football programs. Claiming the titles with Chizik at the helm, amidst our devolution in ’11 and ’12 would have been a mistake. Letting Gus do it at this point, just feels right. We have momentum and a media darling in Malzahn that makes this about as good a time as any. I don’t think it goes against our ethics, no less than taking back something stolen from you doesn’t make YOU a thief….. It makes you a man.

    • zotus zotus says:

      Thanks for your voice of reason, on the subject, WDE1988. About time somebody said it.

      History has shown that Mr. Jacobs is more effective when he allows folks like Mr. Patrick Sullivan & Mr. Vincent Jackson to make the important decisions. And history has shown that Mr. Jacobs is, ahem, less effective otherwise.

      I believe it would have been more consistent with the sentiment of Auburn people — at least, all the Auburn people I know — if Jay Coulter had taken a different tack, this week, and had written an article titled: “It’s Time for Auburn to Clam Up!”

      P.S. BTW, here’s what I wish: I wish that people would, first EXPLICITLY DEFINE “National Championship” — in the context of their thesis — before they start discussing the subject. I believe that, if my wish was granted, this whole flirtation with false measurements of grandiose achievements would end real quick. If anyone could define “Championship” in anyway, in which one gets them by “claiming them” — instead of “winning them” … well, that person is just attempting to make fools of us all, while making a fool only of himself. WDE!

      • AUglenn says:

        I had doubts till I read the book. Respectively recommend it , see :

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        …..I guess I’m with WDE 1988 and Xotus. I’d rather just claim what we won outright from the AP and BCS. I’m not going to lose sleep over it if we add more, but ultimately I don’t think it does the school much good. I know I’ve seen snickers in this space over the 2003 Ole Miss division champion banners they fly in Oxford, when LSU actually won the tie-breaker.

  8. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    Until a true playoff system is implemented, all so-called national championships are suspect. Why would anyone consider a “champion” chosen by a group of sports rs any more legitimate than a “champion” chosen by a laundromat in Tuscaloosa? There are probably dozens of examples of deserving teams being cheated out of championship recognition but I think Auburn folks need look no further than the ’83 travesty, and the hypocrisy of ’09.

  9. DothanTiger DothanTiger says:

    Tommy Tuberville is not the only former Auburn coach that thinks Auburn should claim NC titles. So does Terry Bowden. See his thoughts at:

  10. friedca friedca says:

    I too am in the “no” camp. This does look like desperation. I’m proud that we have our 2 championships and all our undeafeated seasons. We don’t need some made up number to make us look good on the recruiting trail. Most of the recruits that care about that sort of thing only care about the last 10 years anyways. Why would an 18 year old be swayed by a championship won back in 1913. If that was the case then the Ivy leagues would still be winning.

    I’m really hoping this Division 4 or whatever they want to call it comes through. 128 teams is ridiculous, especially since out of that only about 40 are really contenders. Form 6 conferences, everyone joins a conference, each conference has a championship games, conference champs go to playoffs. Problem solved. No committe, no fuss.

  11. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    I am certainly not wanting to lynch anyone here. But I wanted to clarify that I haven’t read the book everyone is referring too. Nor will I read such a book. As far as I am concerned it is a fantasy. And that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the Auburn man (I am supposing) that wrote it.

    My point of view hinges on the creed. I think it is so well written that it should be our goal as Auburn graduates. It’s a part of our culture as a school and community. Did we forget it here?

    How can any fan or the author of the book make the argument that this decision was the right one to make?

    Did you earn the title of NC? No. Then how can you claim it? Again.. I guess we can have some vague third party say we were National Champions… if that is what you want. All I can say is LAME.

    I also want to address the other idea that was presented in responses – while I deeply believe those team’s were deserving… no amount of plaques or honors in the world today can replace the recognition they needed at the time they were playing. To think the gesture is the same is ludicrous. If they are still living – some of them – it will be next to meaningless. You reward events like this when they happen. That’s the cardinal rule. Don’t believe me – try it with your kids or co-workers. Oh, they will be appreciative but it will lack the meaning you are trying to convey. And honestly it will show just how shallow a gesture like this really is.

    And who is to say that what JJ did was the right way to handle the situation?? Perhaps we should have honored those teams and said they are deserving of the National Title? Then… I could stand behind it. But not… here are the 1913 or 2004 national champions. Because that isn’t true.

    If any Auburn player identifies themselves to me or my family – I promise – the love they get will be thanks enough. And after all, shouldn’t that be enough? If it isn’t… what are we talking about again?

    We honor “work, hard work”. And for football that is earned on the field and in the class room. If you are good enough to be recognized as a National Championship team… then and only then do you get that banner in Jordan Hare or anywhere else for that matter.

    To me this decision signifies that once again, we sank to bama’s level thinking if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And the funny thing was… Auburn was doing great on its own. We were finally making headway.

    For those that hated Bobby Lowder… I am surprised you are not speaking up. This is simply a bad, unilateral decision. It’s one we will live to regret. I for one cannot abide by it. It is an aberration. An abomination. And it’s DEFINITELY NOT UNIQUELY AUBURN.