Three days ago, tucked into routine legislative business, Alabama State Senator Tom Whatley introduced a resolution recommending for Auburn University to recognize nine national championships in football.
The Tigers have two that are recognized by everybody, 1957 and 2010, but Whatley's resolution called for the Tigers to also claim championships in 1910, 1913, 1914, 1958, 1983, 1993 and 2004.
This idea didn't come completely out of left field, as Auburn has investigated claiming titles from a few of those years. There wasn't a BCS or playoff system in 1910, after all, and if some obscure computer ranking declares Auburn a champion, why not claim it? Minnesota, Texas A&M and others have recently decided to claim additional historical titles.
Auburn has a stronger claim on some of those titles (they went 11-1 against a tough schedule in 1983) than others (they were on an NCAA bowl ban in 1993). The Washington Post has a breakdown on which years might give Auburn the best arguments, in case you have very strong opinions on the 1914 season.
But you know who is likelier than you to have those strong opinions? Auburn alumnus Whatley, who explained his resolution to me over the phone. This interview has been edited for clarity.
SB Nation: So, Senator Whatley,
Sen. Whatley: Please, call me Tom.
Auburn's gonna be good!
Auburn's gonna be good!
SB Nation: Okay, Tom. I'm curious, did you have some constituents specifically ask you to remedy this situation, or is this an idea you came up with on your own?
Tom: Well, what this is, is that we had a little lull in the action working on the budget for the state of Alabama, and we pass a lot of resolutions that are accommodation resolutions, which urge the government to do things, urge the federal government to do stuff, and we had a little lull in the action before we got down to the actual budget.
I brought two resolutions up. One was recognizing my constituent Tim Hudson for beating all 30 major league baseball teams -- only 14 other people in history have done that -- and the other one was this one here.
This is just something fun to do with football season upon us. Football is big business here in Alabama, and we just wanted to start the discussion and have some fun and start this thing off in the right way. And that's what we've done.
SB Nation: What did your colleagues think? I suspect that maybe some Alabama fans might have rolled their eyes a bit.
Tom: Well, everybody took this in good fun, and we sent that resolution to the Rules Committee ... and that's probably where it will stay. Some Alabama fans put it there, and I told them, "I don't know if you want to get into the merits of that 1939 Betty Crocker National Championship, but I will tell you this. It only takes a second to change the world!"
SB Nation: That will never stop being funny.
Tom: I mean, again, this was all done in good fun, and after that, we got on to the business of the budget, and we've still got some work to do, and we'll continue to do that when the government calls us back.
I mean, Alabama claims 15 national championships, and I am proud of the University of Alabama. They're a great economic engine for our state, and I get along very well with the senator from Tuscaloosa. He sits right next to me in the Senate.
This resolution is to help start that conversation, since football is a big business in our state, and if this goes to get more people to come to our state, and spend some money, then it overall helps our state.
SB Nation: What do you think the score of the Iron Bowl is going to be this year?
Tom: Oh, of course it's going to be 42-0, Auburn.
You know, people ask me, "How many games is Auburn going to win?", and I always tell them, well, let's see, there's 12 games, then the SEC Championship, the two-game Playoff, so 15-0 will be their record, and that's my answer every year. I represent probably equal numbers of Auburn and Alabama fans, and I hope that my Alabama fans take this with the humor that it is intended for.
I agree, and quite frankly, support state legislators deciding to decide national championships in the statehouse, especially if they decide to do that during the offseason. War Damn Legislative Committee, as far as I'm concerned.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go look up what the heck a Betty Crocker National Championship is.