Actually…

by J. Henderson

auburn-magazine-hemphill.jpg

Renowned author Paul Hemphill (AU ’57 – he was Plainsman sports editor that year) has an excellent piece on Auburn’s 1957 national championship team featured in the latest issue of Auburn Magazine, the cover of which, by the way, was illustrated by the incomparable Phil Neel. Judging by the detail of research, I imagine that the story was merely excerpted from his up-coming book, a new history of Auburn football. And if so, I therefore hope that the article’s introduction was written by someone other than Hemphill, perhaps a fact-checker who’s internet was down, for it contains this glaring inaccuracy:

“But the biggest news at Alabama Polytechnic Institute that year was

the Tigers’ first undefeated football season…”

I’m sure that whomever actually wrote that was simply looking for a turn of phrase with championship-ish synonymity, but, just for the record, a total of ten Auburn football teams have gone undefeated – the great 1957 squad was the 8th to do so, not the first. Auburn went undefeated in 1893 (won two, tied two), 1897 (won two, tied one), 1900 (won all four games), 1904 (won all seven games), 1913 (won all eight games – named National Champions in several polls, including the Billingsley Poll, and the by College Football Research Center, the numbers from which are factored into BCS rankings — actually, should we ever apply Bama standards, the shirts might read “Got Eight?”), 1914 (won nine, tied one), and 1932 (won nine, tied one). Auburn was, of course, also undefeated in 1993 (11-0) and 2004 (13-0).

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