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Bowden, Auburn still got championship rings

Associated Press Published: October 9, 2012
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What's brewing with the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes ...

BUCKEYES BUZZ: Not many teams which are hamstrung by NCAA probation and a bowl ban have ever made a run at winning The Associated Press national championship trophy.

One of them was coached by current Akron head coach, Terry Bowden. Another might just be the Buckeyes, who are ranked eighth and stand 6-0 heading into a string of four games against unranked opponents.

Bowden led the 1993 Auburn Tigers to an unbeaten season and a No. 4 ranking in the AP poll, which does not exclude NCAA-sanctioned teams from its ranking.

Bowden took a break from his Zips' preparations for a showdown with another unbeaten team from the Buckeye state, Ohio University, to reflect on what was a magical year for Auburn.

"One thing I remember, we had gotten to 9-0 and if we won the next game against Georgia, we would have been the conference champions," said Bowden, whose team could not win the Southeastern Conference title because of its NCAA sanctions and postseason ban. "We had beaten Florida and Alabama was behind us. I said to our players, 'You guys would have a ring.' I said, 'If you win, we'll get you a ring. We're not allowed to say, 'SEC Champs.' It's going to say, 'Best in the SEC. On the Field.'"

So Bowden and the Tigers went to Athens, Ga., and beat the Bulldogs 42-28.

They couldn't win a conference title, they couldn't play in a bowl game and they couldn't win a trophy or championship rings. But all of that didn't stop them.

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