Auburn is back at practice. The NFL Hall of Fame Game is on the tube. Guess it’s time to get ready for the best time of year and get a blog post under our belt. Here’s a doosey: Leave 2004 in the history books.
Sure, the 2004 Auburn season was deserving consideration of the National Title. An SEC team went undefeated. That undefeated team played an additional conference game and won a championship. How many undefeated SEC teams before 2004 were left outside looking in?
I dunno. Maybe it was the two previous losses to USC in ’02 and ’03. Maybe it was bewilderment that Auburn put together some offense in just one year – championship runs take years, not one. Maybe Oklahoma or Utah were just better. Who really knows?
Looking back it’s easy to make a good argument for handing a trophy to the Tigers. Four first round NFL draft picks came off that Auburn team. No undefeated SEC team since 2004, or one loss SEC champions for that matter, have been left out of the National Title discussion. Oklahoma got smoked, making mainstream media look like a bunch of chickens.
Chickens Auburn becomes however if we take the Sears trophy without earning it on the field. By “field” I mean the championship game itself. The team obviously earned the right to play in the game. We can’t go back however and ask humans to objectively award a trophy not won in the grid iron. Isn’t that how our system got so screwed up to begin with (money and people)?
No Auburn stands for something more grand than making claim to a title years after the opportunity to earn it has passed. See Tuscaloosa. It’s like the HR record earned on steroids. It’s like winning the Daytona 500 under caution. Or like taking the Presidency without the popular vote. If that trophy was meant to be in Auburn, then it would be there.
2004 was our “Championship Season.” Anyone not connected to Auburn wouldn’t understand. Let’s leave it there. It doesn’t help us today. It doesn’t hurt us. Living in the past never helped anyone.
War Damn Eagle! Cheers to 2010.