Tre Mason was a Heisman trophy finalist of the Auburn Tigers. (MGNonline)
Last Modified: Monday, February 24, 2014 11:58 AM
I’m telling you, better keep an eye on Auburn.
The War Eagles are up to something, and it could quickly turn into a disturbing cottage industry.
The school came within a few seconds of capturing the last BCS championship against Florida State. But, never fear, Auburn could end up the big winner here.
Athletic Director Jay Jacobs is floating a trial balloon with his fans these days that could give Auburn as many as seven more football national championships as soon as they can get the festive banners sewn together.
They may have to clear to space on the rim of Jordan-Hare Stadium.
As of now Auburn has but two national championship flags flying, 1957 and 2010. But in between losing this year’s national championship and when the stadium opens shop next season, there could be nine flags a flying.
Keep in mind that Auburn has long been suspicious of the 40-50 national championships that bitter blood-rival Alabama claims — it apparently depends who’s doing the counting — and maybe wants to make up ground quickly.
Maybe that has something to do with the championship grab.
It’s not so much rewriting history as redefining it.
It turns out that if you search hard enough — the Internet is invaluable for this — you can find somebody who will award you a national championship, mostly retroactively, often posthumously, almost always under curious circumstances.
“If other schools are using these same polls to declare a national championship, we should at least consider it,” Jacobs told Auburn.247sports.com
When did this epidemic start? And is there any end in sight?
Auburn is now claiming — perhaps as precedent — that when Texas A&M entered the SEC in 2012, the Aggies suddenly decided to claim long-lost national championships from 1919 and 1927.
I missed that memo. Was it résumé padding by the Aggies?
Auburn’s research also fingers Minnesota and Ole Miss.
Unless this is a sting operation, it turns out there are thousands of previously unclaimed national championships floating around in cyberspace and various elsewheres.
Many of those championships, particularly in the dark ages, unfortunately were awarded before the summer-camp syndrome took over America, where every kid gets a trophy.
But evidently there’s no time like the present to make amends.
“I just think we need to look hard at it,” Jacobs said.
So Auburn is considering adding championships from 1910, 1913, 1914, 1958, 1983, 1993 and 2004.
The separate years will be considered on a case-by-case basis, apparently.
Hopefully when 1958 comes before the Auburn in-house tribunal, LSU will step forward and have a say in the matter, if not outright catcalls and raspberries.
It’s one of three that the Tigers presently claim, along with 2003 and 2007.
I looked it up. In 1958 the Tigers went 11-0 and I’ve never heard that there was much question about who was No. 1 that season.
Auburn, which was on probation in 1958, went 9-0-1.
The two sets of Tigers didn’t play each other that season, but it would seem pretty cut and dry.
But something called Montgomery Full Season Championship awarded Auburn the title.
That was it.
The culprit here is something called cfbdatawarehouse.com, which tosses out national championships as indiscriminately as Mardi Gras beads.
For 1958, for instance, there are 31 organizations, many of which weren’t even born at the time, who now proclaim LSU the national champion.
So apparently LSU can keep the 1958 banner in Tiger Stadium.
But LSU might think about boycotting whoever Full Season Championship.
Regardless, there’s good news for LSU too — if it wants to play that game.
Go to the same website and the Tigers could be adding eight more banners, for a total of 11.
It might have to build another upper deck.
LSU’s misplaced championships go all the way back to 1908, continue on through a back-to-back 1935-36, stop at 1962 to pick up another, then fast-forward very curiously to 2001 and 2006.
In fact, apparently there were at least seven outfits that didn’t see the 2011 BCS national championship game — maybe Jarrett Lee DID get in at quarterback — or didn’t care.
I’m a little fuzzy on the details of that 1908 season, but it was a 10-0 season so maybe “Mel Smith National Championship Foundation” was right.
Maybe it was a countermeasure to the Ivy League bias so prevalent in a day when sane people thought Harvard and Yale played real football.
The Williamson System liked 1935 and 1936 and somebody — or something, who knows? — named Clyde Berryman really fell for the 9-1-1 1962 team.
Bob Kirlin gave a three-loss LSU team the 2001 championship to the three-loss Tigers and also the 11-2 2006 team.
The 2006 team might well have been the most talented, at least since 1908, but had a Murphy’s Law afternoon at Florida and figured out a way to lose a game it almost dominated to what until now I thought were the national champion Gators.
But it opens up a whole new world of possibilities, if for no other reason than to keep up with the Auburns.
Let the bidding begin.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org