The Auburn Tigers went 12-0 in 2004. They ran through the SEC, beating three top-10 teams along the way, but were left out of the BCS National Championship Game because preseason Nos. 1 and 2 USC and Oklahoma went undefeated, too.
So, Auburn had to settle for a 13-0 season, capped by a Sugar Bowl victory against Virginia Tech, and no national title.
USC won it all that year, beating the Sooners in the championship game. But, due to NCAA violations, the Trojans’ championship was later vacated. Tommy Tuberville, who coached Auburn from 1999-2008, remains unhappy with the school’s administration. He believes they should have pushed harder to claim that season’s national title after it was taken from USC.
Tommy Tuberville: Auburn administration should have pushed to claim 2004 title http://t.co/j4b3mRwM7C
— Eye on College FBall (@EyeOnCFB) May 30, 2014
“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.
“They didn’t step up and say anything,” he said. “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 remains the only team from a “power five” conference in the history of the BCS to go undefeated and not advance to the title game. The Tigers finished No. 2 in the final polls. USC dominated Oklahoma, 55-19, and many felt, at the time, that Auburn, with multiple big wins, would have been a better competitor.
The Tigers’ athletic department made news earlier in May when its website claimed unofficial national titles cited in the NCAA record book. The 2004 title remains unhighlighted by the revamped “Traditions” section of Auburn’s website.
Tuberville, now the coach at Cincinnati, is unlikely to ever again seriously contend for a national title.
Auburn’s athletic director, Jay Jacobs, told AL.com that a committee will meet in June to discuss the possibility of attempting to claim the 2004 championship.