The BCS Guru continues his excellent series examining the 10 years of the Bowl Championship Series with a look at the 2004 season.
After the grandmother of all BCS disasters in 2003, officials decided to overhaul the formula to correct blaring errors. It didn't help.
USC, Oklahoma, Auburn, Utah and Boise State finished undefeated. The Trojans and Sooners met in the title game with USC winning, 55-19. Utah and Boise State were never seriously considered title contenders, but Auburn was and Southeastern Conference fans screamed bloody murder when the Tigers were excluded from the title game.
Two factors did in Auburn. First, the Tigers were lightly regarded and No. 17 in the Associated Poll preseason poll before fighting their way to the No. 3 slot. Second, Auburn did itself no favors with a nonconference schedule of Louisiana Monroe, Louisiana Tech and I-AA Citadel. Seven of the Tigers' 11 regular season games were at home.
Auburn defeated Virginia Tech, 16-13, in the Sugar Bowl and finished No. 2 in the AP poll. The Tigers declared themselves national champions and a championship logo was designed and trademarked. To this day, the Auburn "title" lives on, with a national championship ring appearing last month on eBay.