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The Best Year in Auburn History - Intro

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With the successes of so many different squads, would you call this one of the most successful years in all Auburn athletics? - PlainsmenDoItBetter

This question was asked back in our last mailbag a few weeks ago. While Jack gave a pretty good answer, it got me wondering if there was a way to really determine what the best year in Auburn athletics really was. It’s tough, because while all of our programs have had eras of success before, they never really seemed to line up. In the mid 80’s football and basketball were on a tear, but baseball wasn’t doing much. When baseball got it into gear in the late 80’s and 90’s, basketball disappeared. When football returned to national prominence in the 2000’s, it was pretty much up to them and the non-revenue sports to carry the load. The point is, Auburn sports have never really been all on the upswing at once, which is part of what has made this year so special.

Of course, this problem led to me building a spreadsheet. If I wanted to truly find the best year for Auburn athletics, I needed a way to “score” each year. I started by just assigning points for things that would happen in a “good” Auburn season for each sport; things that would weigh in a fan’s mind when considering if a team had a good year or not. Here’s a breakdown of my final “points” categories for each sport.

NOTE: This table may not come out right on mobile. Check out the Google Sheet here if you’d like.

Possible Points Per Season

Category Football M Basketball Baseball W Basketball Softball Other
Category Football M Basketball Baseball W Basketball Softball Other
Record 1 1 1
Beat UGA 1
Beat Bama 1
SEC Reg Season Champ 1 1 1 1
SECCG Appearance 1
SECCG Win 1 1 1 1 1 1
AP Top 15 1
AP Top 5 1
Bowl Appearance 0.5
Bowl Win 0.5
NCAAT Appearance 1 1
NCAAT 4 Seed 1
NCAAT 1 Seed 1
NCAAT Wins 0.5 each 0.5 each
Regional Appearance 1 1
Regonal Host 1 1
Super Appearance 1 1
Super Host 1
CWS Appearance 2 1
Heisman 1
All-Americans 0.5 each 1 each 1 each 1 each 1 each
National Champion 5 5 5 3 3 2
Total 15 15 15 10 10 3

As you can see, each of the major revenue sports are scored out of 15 total points, while women’s basketball and softball are out of 10 (a good year for either still plays pretty heavily on our minds), while the other sports (equestrian, soccer, golf, swim/dive, all of the track and field and cross country groups, tennis, gymnastics, volleyball) would get credit for an SEC or national championship. Somewhat unintentionally, if every team maxed out all possible points, the perfect season would be 101 points (as of 2001, at least, when Equestrian became the school’s 21st varsity sport. I’ve calculated results for each year dating back to 1946, mostly because pre-WWII sports weren’t exactly the same as they are now.

Alright, alright, enough with the boring math. You want to know what the best year was, right? Well, over the next few weeks, I’m planning on doing a deep dive into each of the top five teams in these rankings. I’ll start with #5 and work my way up to #1, and I’m hoping all of you argue with me and tell me why I’m wrong. I may throw in a few other short articles along the way (like why did Auburn put up a 0 spot in a year much more recently than you’d expect, or what if we only counted the big 3 revenue sports), but I’m really looking forward to the journey through the best years in our history. I’m sure Crow and I will be discussing this on the podcast as well, so be sure to check out Orange and True (coming out each Thursday) as we go.