Last Saturday Auburn honored it’s 2004 football team on it’s tenth anniversary. This was a great football team. They won the SEC going away and should have played for a national championship. Officially they finished second in both polls after they defeated Virginia Tech, 16-13, in the Sugar Bowl. But was this team the greatest to ever take the field at Auburn?
There certainly have been quite a few great football teams at Auburn. The 1913 team went 8-0 and gave up only 13 points all season. They were recognized by Billingsley as the National Champions. The 1957 team, National Champions according to the AP voters, had a 10-0 record and gave up only 28 points that year. The 1983 unit finished the season 11-1 with a 9-7 victory over Michigan in the Sugar Bowl. They were proclaimed National Champions by the New York Times, Rothman and the College Football Researchers Association. The 2010 team defeated Oregon, 22-19, in the BCS National Championship Game which culminated a 14-0 season.
And how about last year’s Auburn Tigers? This team came absolutely out of nowhere to win the SEC Championship. Who woulda thunk it? Seriously, did even the most dyed-in-the-wool, orange and blue Kool-Aid drinking, War Eagle screaming, optimistic Auburn fan think that the 2013 Tigers had even a remote chance at winning the SEC and play for the BCS National Championship? I had them at 9-3 and third in the West Division… TOPS!
All of the aforementioned teams were superb. They all deserve their rightful places as SEC and, in the minds of many, National Champions. But which group of Tigers is the best in school history?
A compelling argument can and should be made for Auburn’s 2004 team. First let’s take a look at the scores:
Auburn 31 LA-Monroe 0
Auburn 43 Mississippi State 14
Auburn 10 LSU 9
Auburn 33 The Citadel 3
Auburn 34 Tennessee 10
Auburn 52 LA Tech 7
Auburn 38 Arkansas 20
Auburn 42 Kentucky 10
Auburn 35 Ole Miss 14
Auburn 24 Georgia 6
Auburn 21 Alabama 13
Auburn 38 Tennessee 28 (SEC Championship Game)
Auburn 16 Virginia Tech 13 (Sugar Bowl)
Auburn averaged 32.1 points per game, first in the SEC, and their opponents averaged 11.3 points per game. That is a 20.8 average margin of victory which put the Tigers first in the SEC in that department.The 11.3 points allowed per game was first in all of college football. As a matter-of-fact the Tiger defense DID NOT ALLOW A RUSHING TOUCHDOWN UNTIL THE NINTH GAME OF THE SEASON! That same defense gave up an average of only 237.4 total yards per game.
In 2004 Auburn defeated FOUR teams that were ranked in the top ten when they played the Tigers. Southern Cal and Oklahoma, who played in the BCS National Championship Game, came up against only three teams ranked in the top ten, when they played them, COMBINED.
Auburn had four players (Ronnie Brown, Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, Carlos Rogers and Jason Campbell) selected in the first round of the NFL Draft off of the 2004 squad. Rogers was named the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award which is given to the best defensive back in the country.
1913, 1957, 1983, 2004, 2010 and 2013. In every one of these years Auburn achieved excellence on the gridiron. But last Saturday, September 6th, the 2004 Auburn Tigers were recognized for their accomplishments. The view from here is-that outstanding group of players and coaches, led by head coach Tommy Tuberville, was the greatest to ever wear the burnt orange and navy blue.