Bitter feelings remain from Auburn debacle


Published: Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, whose undefeated 2004 team did not have a chance to play for the national title, went on a rant against the lack of a playoff system in college football Wednesday on the weekly Southeastern Conference coaches' teleconference.
Tuberville took some nice shots at university presidents, saying they love the money football produces, but couldn't care less about the game or having a true national champion crowned every season.
"They look at our situation and to them it's more for the money than really having a national champion on the field," Tuberville said. "They keep coming up with lame excuses about academics and missing classes. Football players miss fewer classes than anybody.
"The first step (to having a playoff system) is to get the presidents to agree. Most of them couldn't care less about a playoff system. It's all about the money in our sport. The presidents just take the money and go spend it and don't worry about the business of making it better each year.
"They keep coming up with lame excuses. It makes no sense. It's hypocrisy. Until we get the presidents to understand they need to do something for these athletes and this sport, (a possible playoff) is not going to make any headway."
Tuberville said the coaches and athletic directors need to step up and put pressure on the presidents. He said if that happens over the next few years there could be a playoff system in place within 10 years.
He said that probably won't happen.
"We're done," Tuberville said. "In my tenure, I don't see them changing."
Tuberville's disappointment lingers over not having a chance to play in the national title game despite going undefeated in perhaps America's toughest conference. While Oklahoma and Southern Cal played for the N.C. in the Orange Bowl, the Tigers were relegated to playing a relatively meaningless game against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.
Tuberville and the other league coaches think a team coming out of the SEC undefeated merits a spot in the title game.
The problem now is it's almost impossible to go undefeated in such a strong league. Not even midway through the season, there are only three undefeated teams remaining Auburn, Georgia and Florida. And those teams all play each other.
"The last several years, it's been very difficult to win them all in this conference," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "Auburn did it a few years ago. They had an unbelievable year and didn't get to play in the big game.
"There are so many good teams in the SEC and we all play each other, it's hard to go undefeated these days. In the mid-1990s when we made our run at Florida, there were not quite as many good teams. Now, probably six of the 12 are capable of winning championships."
When he was coaching the Gators, Spurrier was a strong proponent of a playoff. He admits he hasn't spent much time lately thinking about one.
"When I was coaching at Florida, I talked a lot about a playoff, but it didn't do any good because the people who run college football don't listen," Spurrier said. "I don't worry about a playoff now. I worry about us winning more games than we lose. Maybe one day we'll have a team capable of competing for an SEC championship."

Spurrier on Grossman

Spurrier has been tracking the progress of Rex Grossman, one of his best quarterbacks at Florida. Grossman is starting to emerge as a potential star with the Chicago Bears.
"Rex is with a very good team and he's a very good player," Spurrier said. "When you put that combination together, the quarterback usually shines.
"Rex is a beautiful passer, an excellent quarterback, and he has a good team around him. He's in the right situation."
Spurrier said Grossman is the best pure passer he had at Florida. Spurrier was quick to point out, though, that his favorite UF quarterback was Danny Wuerffel.

This, that and the other

Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson is quickly developing into a player. The sophomore has thrown for more than 200 yards in all five games this season. ... Arkansas is 2-0 in the SEC for the first time since 1998. ... Auburn is 3-0 in SEC play for the sixth time in seven seasons. The Tigers have won 19 of their last 20 regular-season conference games. ... Georgia leads the nation in scoring defense, giving up just 6.8 points a game. The UGA defense has two shutouts and has surrendered only three touchdowns - one rushing and two passing. ... Watch out for the 'Cats. Kentucky has won three of its last four games and came up with 11 turnovers in the last three games. ... LSU hasn't beaten Florida three consecutive times since 1977-80. ... Believe it or not, Duke used to be good in football once. A long, long time ago. In 1945, the Blue Devils beat Alabama, 29-26, in the Sugar Bowl. Duke, of course, is winless heading into Saturday's game against the Tide.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com.

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