Auburn, Ala.--There is a lot of talk around the college football world this season about the BCS just like there has been since it's inception. Coach Tommy Tuberville and the Auburn Tigers are no stranger to the intricacies of the formulas and polls that go into the standings each week because just two seasons ago they were left out of the championship game despite being the undefeated SEC Champions.
This year the Tigers are in the hunt for a BCS berth with a number six BCS ranking and an overall record of 8-1. With four teams in front of the Tigers still having to play each other in the final month of the season there is a good chance that Auburn will move up even more if the Tigers continue to win games. While that is obviously a big accomplishment for any team Tuberville says Auburn's first order of business is to win and hope to make it to Atlanta and play for the conference championship.
"We talk about that and what we have to do," Tuberville says. "We talk about it each week. Two years ago, after we beat Ole Miss, it was over because we were 9-0 (overall) instead of 8-1. When we lost to Arkansas, we knew immediately that the problem we were going to have was we could not control our own destiny. Someone else has to help us. You hate for that to happen, but we got ourselves into this. Our players understand it. The only thing we can do though is go out and continue to try to get better and hopefully win the games that we are playing because if we don't, it doesn't make any difference.
"I hear a lot of talk about 'You might have a chance to get to the BCS if you don't play in the (SEC) Championship game.' A conference championship is what you want. You want to play in Atlanta. The reason that you play in this league is to win the SEC Championship. That is very important. It is very hard to do. We have been very close. We have won one and we've been very close on some others. We are going to have to have some help, but we have a lot of work to do ourselves, so there is really not any reason to worry about it. As I tell our players, we made this problem for ourselves. We have to have some help now."
If Auburn can continue to win games there is little doubt they'll be one of the teams in consideration for a bid into a BCS bowl game when the time comes no matter if they make it to Atlanta or not. Because of that Tuberville says that his team should be helped by the fact that they've been as consistent as anyone in the country over the last three seasons.
"We have been in the top 10 pretty much for the last three years on and off," Tuberville says. "I think we are becoming more of a household name and I think that has to happen for you to have the opportunity for people to vote for you that are in other parts of the country. You can't fool the computers, and I understand that our non-conference schedule is not as tough as some others. It's not that much different. We have beaten two top 10 teams, I do know that. You could probably look at the top 10 teams and there probably hasn't been anyone else to do that. I haven't checked it, but most have not even played that many top 10 teams.
"But again that is part of it. I have learned not to complain about the system because it's the one we came up with a couple of years ago just to have the opportunity to play one and two. When I was at Miami, there were a lot of times when one was at one bowl and two was at another bowl and you didn't have the chance to play. We are to the point now where we are at least having a chance for so-called one and two to play and that is a better alternative that not playing at the end of the year."
Tuberville celebrates the victory over Florida.
Last week Notre Dame's Charlie Weis made national headlines when he complained about his team being jumped in the polls by two teams, one of which had the week off. This week the same thing happened to Auburn as Florida jumped the Tigers after a victory over Georgia. This was the same Gator team the Tigers defeated two weeks ago in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Tuberville says that is just something that comes with the territory in today's college football world and he's learned to live with it.
"Charlie (Weis) is obviously upset but that is the first time that has happened to him," Tuberville says. "That has happened to us many times, so it is nothing new to us. Someone asked me about that, saying 'You struggled,' but I see other teams in front of us that struggled. Some teams are in front of us that probably should have lost games, but they are still in front of us. I don't know whether there is a bias, I'm not talking about against us. I think that there are certain teams that people vote for just because of maybe the name. I think that is pretty obvious, but again that's to their benefit. I'm not complaining about that. For us, we just have to go out and keep winning and try to make a name four ourselves."