"We're probably going to move forward without playing FCS opponents, and I think our fan base wants to see better opponents".
- Will Muschamp on the Gators playing FCS opponents May 27th 2014 Destin, Fl., noting that his reasoning primarily has to do with getting his team in the best position to make the college football playoff that begins next season.
There are usually 3 times a season SEC teams can donate to the smaller colleges, get jitters out early in the season or take a break without a bye week; hence the cupcake games on an SEC teams schedule. Given 8 Conference games and 1 game against an opponent from the "Power 5" (for Florida that is always FSU) you cannot really fault SEC teams for scheduling a breather here and there. So is it really about getting a team ready for the playoffs and the fans are demanding a tougher schedule; or is the Saurian Supervisor still smarting over last year's Georgia Southern debacle? Well let us take a look at how Muschamp history speaks for his words.
Will was brought in 2010 to take over for an ill and family-time seeking Urban Meyer and the three opponents on the schedule for Florida that year were FAU, UAB and Furman. OK we will give Muschamp a pass on that one: the schedule was set when he came in, but I do not recall hearing him complain about going to the Gator Bowl on the back of a 3-0 record against them (Florida was just barely bowl eligible at 6-6 before beating Ohio State in the bowl to end up 7-6).
So in 2012 Muschamp had Bowling Green, Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State beefing up the Gators schedule. OK maybe again schedule was set and Muschamp had very little control. Last season, Florida filled their schedule with Toledo, Georgia Southern and Miami...OK a little harder, but I still see FCS schools in there Will. Losing to a 7-4 SoCon team stung a little.
Surely by 2014 if Muschamp wanted to beef up the schedule, please fans and place Florida in the running for the playoffs; FCS teams and the bottom tier of FBS would be off limits, right? Nope, this year Florida faces Idaho, Eastern Michigan and Eastern Kentucky. 2015?? Nope again New Mexico St, East Carolina and TBA (no FBS but look at that SoS), 2016?? UMass, North Texas and TBA...Ok not loaded with FCS teams but some of the fans might prefer a quality FCS team over these tough opponents Will has set up for the future. If you want to be taken seriously Mr. Muschamp you have to practice what you preach.
"We want to do what's best for Auburn, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks or says, The things that I said about it back in January is the same I feel today. If other schools are counting championships a certain way, then we should count that same exact way."
-Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs, May 29th 2014 on Auburn looking into claiming National Championships in 1910, 1913, 1914, 1983, 1993, and 2004 in addition to the recognized 1957 and 2010.
OK I am not going to argue about the 2010 ($cam and crew won them all)
or 1957 (Shared with Ohio State) (see comments by The984) and the NCAA record book agrees, but let's look at the rest of those and tell you why you should not claim them. Let me start with prior to 1936, there should not be a national champion. It was then that the AP started recognizing a team at the end of the year as a National Champion. Any "champion" before then has been done retroactively. I will start first with the ones where no body but Auburn thinks they won a National Championship.
1910: Auburn went 6-1 and lost to a 5-2-1 Texas Longhorn team. The recognized Champions this year were Harvard (8-0-1; the only blemish was a tie with Yale at the end of the year) and Pittsburgh (9-0 and totally unblemished...I mean totally even on the scoreboard. Pittsburgh outscored their opponents 282-0 in 1910). No chance in claiming that one guys.
1914: Auburn held their opponents scoreless all season long and still had a blemish on the record. What no one scored on them and there was a blemish? Yes, Auburn tied UGA that season in Piedmont Park 0-0. So 8-0-1 is where Auburn found themselves at the end of this season. Who was better? Army went 9-0, Illinois went 7-0, Texas went 8-0 and all three were recognized by one poll or the other as the Champion. OK so some guy named James Howell went and retroactively awarded Auburn the Natty that season, but tell me again who James Howell was and why should we care?
2004: Really Auburn you still harping on this one? About the only thing that lasted longer than the NCAA investigation into Reggie Bush is how long Auburn is harping on this. That year there is no National Champion. So USC cheated, USC had to vacate all wins, basically USC played no games that year. Going into the Bowls that year USC was #1 and Oklahoma was #2. Since USC had to vacate all wins, Oklahoma is still undefeated and should claim the trophy. For that matter Utah went undefeated that season as well. Give it up. No Championship to be found here.
Now for the ones where somebody actually recognized Auburn as #1.
1913: Harvard, Chicago and Auburn all went undefeated. 4 polls recognized Harvard (and by the way two of those were the Helms Athletic Association and the National College Foundation - which seem to be the ones that the NCAA is really concerned about), Parke Davis recognized Chicago and Billingsley picked Auburn. Sorry Auburn gotta roll with the NCAA on this on.
1983: Auburn is seriously going to question the Bowls/Polls era. When there were 3 major polls; AP, UPI and USAToday...Guess what Auburn all three of them selected Miami. You want to recognize it from the New York Times??? And I thought you were in the SEC.
1993: About the same argument from the '83 season. A team from Florida (FSU this time) was selected by the AP, UPI and USAToday (EDIT and they were on probation - thanks TKK).
So come on Auburn, ya'll have done enough to embarrass yourselves and the SEC, don't go down this road. I mean if all it takes is some dude to put some numbers on a spread sheet and select his national champion for a school to claim it, I may get bored and may be able to recognize the Memphis Tigers as Natty Champs 20 or so times in their long, storied history.
Less than 3 months to go and I am already feeling the warm glow of football hatred spread through my veins...this is gonna be a good year. Still waiting on the quote bomb from Spurrier or the annual Nick Saban defense of Grey shirting quote...