Tigers Going to Ring It Up, Tuberville Says

New Orleans, La.--The day after their Tigers won the Sugar Bowl to finish 13-0, Tommy Tuberville and Jason Campbell were still working.

The head coach and the quarterback were making cases why the Tigers deserved to be voted national football champs following their 16-13 victory over Virginia Tech to become the first team in Auburn history and the third in SEC history to go 13-0.

Tuberville said he is convinced that the Tigers will win some type of poll that will name his team the 2004 national champs and he plans to have that engraved on rings for his team. The rings will also have "SEC champs, 13-0 and Sugar Bowl champs" engraved, the coach noted.

"Somebody is going to pick us even if I have to have my own poll," Tuberville said on Tuesday. His quarterback said that the Tigers certainly deserve such an honor.

Tuberville will have another opportunity on Tuesday evening to make his case. He will be in Miami where he will be a guest on the television broadcast of the BCS championship game at the Orange Bowl matching No. 1 ranked Southern Cal vs. No. 2 ranked Oklahoma.

Tommy Tuberville and Jason Campbell make their case at a press conference on Tuesday in New Orleans.

Speaking on Tuesday in New Orleans where he was named MVP of the Sugar Bowl, Campbell said the 2004 Tigers remind him of the last 13-0 SEC team, the 1998 Tennessee Volunteers, a team that won the national title. "I think our team is just as good as that team was in 1998," Campbell said.

The Tiger quarterback said that Virginia Tech should have beaten No. 1 Southern Cal in their head to head meeting to open the season.

Campbell also said the Tigers have a national championship caliber defense, allowing more than 20 points only once this season, something that neither Southern Cal or Oklahoma can claim.

The quarterback made the point that no team in the country played more consistently than his Tigers, who are the only team to own four victories over opponents ranked in the Top 10.

Commenting on Oklahoma, Campbell said that both Oklahoma State and Texas A&M should have beaten the Sooners during the regular season, but noted that Oklahoma State and Texas A&M were both blown out in their bowl games this season. Campbell said that the Texas A&M Aggies were "drilled" by the Tennessee team that Auburn beat twice this year.

The QB also noted that Southern Cal was fortunate to defeat Cal, a team that was dominated in its bowl game by Texas Tech.

"We have done more domination this year than any team this year, from top to bottom," Campbell said.

Tuberville said the bowl trip to New Orleans and the entire season are something he will always remember.

"I brought 123 players to this bowl game," the coach said. "Normally, you don't bring that many, but I wanted all of these guys to be around, at least one time on the road, that normally don't get to travel to be around these older guys and watch how they handle themselves throughout the week in meetings, preparation and practice. They have just been great role models.

"We will have a fight on our hands early next year. We open up with Georgia Tech, which has a lot of their players coming back. Our guys have learned a lot. We have to start over in some areas, but we have a solid group of guys that we brought in that understand how to play, how to work because of these seniors. I am not going to say we are going to win them all next year. That would be almost impossible, but I thought this was impossible this year, but we will have a good football team."

Tuberville noted that the 2004 Tigers are a special football team. "We set a standard pretty high for a lot of us," he said. "It is something that is going to be hard to top. You can't do any better.

"This group of seniors has made a statement. I think there is no doubt we are one, if not the best, football team in the country from top to bottom consistently. We just don't play offense, we just don't play defense, we just don't play special teams. We play it all. When it is all said and done, these players are what college football is all about--about how they care about one another on and off the field, about how they handle themselves, academics, it has been fun."

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