Auburn deserved shot at 2004 title

Championships are won and lost on the field. That is, if you get a chance to play for one.

Auburn never got a chance to play for the BCS national championship in 2004 despite going unbeaten, taking down four top-10 teams that season and producing four first-round NFL draft picks.

It’s hard to fathom now how that could happen when you see the SEC’s streak of national championships at five years and counting -- by four different teams.

Nonetheless, the news Monday that the 2004 BCS national championship won by USC would be officially vacated in light of the NCAA’s denial of USC’s appeal was another frustrating reminder on the Plains of how the team that deserved to play for the title that year never got that chance.

How would Auburn have stacked up that season against USC or Oklahoma?

We’ll never know.

What we do know is that USC shellacked Oklahoma that evening in Miami, 55-19, and looked dominant in doing so.

And while it would have been intriguing to at least see Auburn get a shot at the Trojans, it doesn’t make sense to think that the 2004 national title should now be automatically handed over to the Tigers simply because they finished No. 2 in the Associated Press poll that season.

As much as Tommy Tuberville, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown and Co. would love to be sporting those 2004 national championship rings, something tells me they wouldn’t want to acquire them this way.