As Auburn is now set to play for the 2013 BCS National Championship, it’s worth it to take the time to think about Auburn’s past national championships that were won but are yet unclaimed.
Many Auburn football fans don’t realize that Auburn’s claim to having only won two national championships — an Associated Press title in 1957 and a B.C.S. championship in 2010 — fails to account for other seasons in which Auburn was then named, or subsequently retroactively named, national champions by other recognized selectors. Although other universities claim national championships awarded by selectors other than the three that are most well known (AP/Coaches/BCS), Auburn has chosen a very strict standard that is self-limiting and makes it appear that it’s great tradition of college football greatness that dates back more than 120 years is actually less glorious than Ole Miss, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Tennessee, and others that claim to have won more national championships.
The following chart demonstrates how certain other universities claim national championships for years in addition those years where they were named national champion by one or more of the three major selectors.
School AP/Coaches/BCS Total Claimed
Auburn 2 2
Alabama 10 15
Georgia 1 2
Georgia Tech 1 4
Michigan 2 11
Michigan State 2 6
Mississippi 0 3
Notre Dame 8 11
Ohio State 5 7
Pittsburgh 2 9
Tennessee 2 6
Texas A&M 1 3
As noted in the book, Auburn’s Unclaimed National Championships (whiah is also available through Amazon.com), there are seven seasons in which Auburn has been named a national champion, but which Auburn’s Athletic Department fails to claim (1910, 1913, 1914, 1958, 1983, 1993, and 2004). As the book argues, Auburn should claim these seven additional championships. At a minimum, Auburn should claim national championships for the three additional seasons (1913, 1983, and 1993) where it is recognized as a national champion by the NCAA.
After all, in the ultra-competitive world of college athletics, especially in the Southeastern Conference, why should Auburn’s football program not market itself — using the same standard as other programs — as having won at least five national championships. If there is a good reason in this day and age to downplay the football program’s past accomplishments, while competitors are touting theirs to the fullest extent possible, I just don’t know what it is.