Wow. Sorry no one's heard a peep out of me until Friday this week. Real life 4.2 has called me to double-time it and demanded my undivided attention. I hope itrealizes that the season begins in eight days and somethings gonna have to give. DISCLAIMER: This is probably the last post I will ever make again regarding the lobbying of the, a, or any national football title for the 2004 Auburn Tigers, their successors and/or assigns. Frankly, I'm done with pleading this case and I'm sure you're all sick of re-hashing it, too. Now that the final piece of the puzzle has dropped into place, it's time I made my peace. Every Auburn fan has their mind made up already, and besides, the season is upon us and good manners dictate that you don't discuss national titles unless you're actually working on accomplishing that feat that particular year.
With word handed down yesterday that the Football Writers Association of America has declined to name another champion after stripping USC of their 2004 title (and asking them to ship their trophy back, post-paid) Auburn's chances of being awarded one of the three major national championships in college football are now over. The AP refused to strip Bush and company a few weeks ago, and although technically the BCS has yet to officially rule until USC's appeals are over, the issue with them is res judicata as well. Probably just as well.
The FWAA, which has awarded a national championship every year since 1954, is arguably the third most respected national championship selector out of the dozens out there, and was the one of the big three rumored to most likely be interested in writing some new case law on the uncharted legal field of vacated national titles. Alas, while a resounding majority of the voters within the organization were in favor of stripping the Trojans, there was no majority in favor of installing Auburn unto the throne even though there was some support for that notion. Some consideration was even given to Oklahoma, who was vanquished by USC in the title game. The very idea seems silly to me because of the definition of a vacated game. With a vacated game, the loser still has the loss, but the winner's victory is stricken. Oklahoma still lost that game and will always have lost that game, unlike the case in a forfeit. Consideration should have been given to Auburn and even Urban Meyer's Utah. Only.
How thoroughly disappointing, FWAA. (Fails With Awarding Auburn) Your members aren't coaches or other sports guys in a media poll who write about a multitude of things, you're FOOTBALL writers, and this was your chance to strut your knowledge of the game. You KNOW that our sport is chocked full of chaos and ambiguity regarding championships in it's history. You KNOW that the NCAA doesn't sanction a championship in the sport's highest category. You KNOW how important national championships have become in the 76 years they've been handed out on a regular basis. You KNOW that we can't return to the wild west days when eight teams could declare to be champions in a given season. You KNOW how important it is to set a precedent in these matters which will surely crop up again. But you did nothing. Nice initiative. Looks like you'll be in the BCS and AP's shadow for quite a while to come.
Does nobody believe this scenario won't happen again? With the NCAA just getting started on vacating games for rules violators, and with the stakes for major programs so high, how long will it be before a national champion is once again declared retroactively to have cheated? Probably not very long. Kyle over at Dawgsports.com has it right with his tongue-in-cheek analogy with the potential need for a first-runner up or a vice-champion to be hanging around in case the declared champ can't fulfill it's duties OR later gets nailed to the wall by the NCAA. (emphasis towards the latter)
Now there's only one thing left to do. Jay Jacobs has to acquire some Tuscaloosa-inspired bootstrapping chutzpa and step up and simply declare at the beginning of next season that Auburn will be openly claiming 2004 as a national championship for the school. It's as simple as that. We had a few minor selectors declare us, so let's run with that. The big three have zilch, so the smaller selectors get to have all the fun. Have the AD make the announcement, not some first-year sports information flunkie. Bring Tubs back and have Pat Dye flank them all for good measure. And just do it. Put the trophies on display at Toomer's or Wal Mart (hmmmm?) And here's the beauty of it. No one can dispute you. NOT the NCAA, because they're not in the title business, NOT the conference, because it's above their pay grade, NOT the rest of the conference, because they respect us and they'd do it, too, and NOT Alabama, because they wrote the damn book on the subject. Done. End of story. Jay Jacobs for Alabama Governor, 2014.
War Eagle! See you guys Tuesday!