Ignore the picture of USC’s 2004 AP National Championship trophy sitting in the John McKay Center.
At least, that’s what Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs would like you to do.
Because, according to Jacobs, the Tigers are the true national champions of 2004 and they intend on recognizing that officially, according to 247 Sports.
“The 2004 team are national champions,” Jacobs said. “I just find it hard for us to not recognize teams in the same manner that sister institutions have given the same criteria.”
“There is no national champion in 2004, and I think there should be,” said Skotnicki, who holds two degrees from Auburn and is currently a practicing lawyer in Birmingham.
Currently, Auburn recognizes just two championships: 1957 and 2010. However, the Tigers are seriously considering adding up to seven new banners including the 2004 crown.
Auburn went undefeated in 2003-2004, but were left out of the championship game in favor of the also undefeated USC and Oklahoma. The Tigers beat ninth-ranked Virginia Tech 16-13 in the Sugar Bowl.
The Trojans handily defeated the Sooners 55-19 in the championship game but under NCAA sanctions the Trojans were stripped of that title. That didn’t stop the AP upholding their award of the championship to USC, so the statement that their was no champion in 2004 is a inaccurate.
Of course, the biggest problem for Auburn is that they finished second in all of the major polls behind USC and can only claim a championship through such reputable sources as the “People’s National Championship” poll and GBE College Football Ratings, a computer formula.
If Auburn goes ahead with plans to recognize all seven new titles, they would be tied with Pittsburgh with nine total and fifth all-time.
UPDATE: As Bruce Feldman astutely pointed out, several Auburn players admitted to receiving extra benefits throughout their careers, including that undefeated season. No word on whether Auburn plans to vacate the title after they claim it officially.