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It shouldn't be a surprise that the team backed Zook, a great recruiter who has often

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  • It shouldn't be a surprise that the team backed Zook, a great recruiter who has often

    Oct. 26, 2004 wire reports

    AUBURN, Ala. -- Tommy Tuberville would be shocked if a Southeastern Conference team went undefeated, won the league title game and failed to get a shot at the national title.


    But it could happen -- to Tuberville's Auburn Tigers.

    The third-ranked Tigers (8-0) are fourth in the Bowl Championship Series standings. Southern California has the top spot, followed by Oklahoma and Miami. For Auburn, winning out might not be enough to play in the Orange Bowl for the BCS title.

    "I'd be shocked if a team ever goes through their schedule in the SEC and wins an SEC championship game, be 12-0 and not have an opportunity to win the national championship," Tuberville said. "I think you can just look at the teams in our league, it's very demanding."

    Auburn can lock up a spot in the SEC championship game with a win Saturday at Mississippi, owning the West division title before its first open date next week. The Tigers then host No. 10 Georgia and visit Alabama, so while a spot in the league title game seems to be a lock, a perfect record is far from assured.

    Any team that wins the SEC should get a shot at the national title, Tommy Tuberville says.(AP)
    Just in case, Tuberville started his lobbying.

    "LSU won the (BCS) national championship last year and had a loss in the conference -- at home," Tuberville said. "If we would have an opportunity to win all the way through, I don't think there would be much doubt we would have an opportunity.

    "There would probably be some people who would think I'd be wrong about that, but that's the reason you have polls and the BCS to determine who has fought the toughest battle."

    Auburn almost certainly needs at least one of the higher-rated teams to lose.

    A rematch against either the Volunteers or Georgia would await for the league title game in Atlanta. Oklahoma also must survive a conference title game in the Big 12, while Miami still faces No. 13 Virginia on Nov. 13 and No. 22 Virginia Tech on Dec. 4. USC doesn't have a ranked opponent left.

    Tuberville said for Auburn to win the SEC championship and not get at least a shot at a national title, "I'd say there would be something wrong with the system if that happened. The Big 12 playing the championship game, (it's the) same thing. That's just added pressure and a tougher schedule obviously."

    Auburn won its only national championship in 1957. The last SEC team to win every regular-season game and not get a shot at the national title: Auburn in 1993, thanks to NCAA probation.

    "We've got something special going on with this team," tailback Carnell Williams said. "We've got a chance to do some things that haven't been done at Auburn in a long time."


    Quarterback Jason Campbell said the Tigers are getting "addicted to winning."

    "You just have that urge and want to win all the time," he said. "I think that's what this team's got right now. At the same time, it's been a great ride."

    Lest they get ahead of themselves, the team called a players-only meeting Sunday. The subject: Focus.

    "We kind of sat down and Jason Campbell talked about how we just need to stay focused," Williams said. "We're going to have a lot of stuff thrown our way, with the SEC championship, national rankings, things like that."

    Defensive end Bret Eddins characterized the national championship talk as "interesting."

    "But I think everybody on the team realizes that we're one game away from being out of that picture," Eddins said.