The Football Writers Association of American is considering a rewrite of history.
Executive director Steve Richardson said the FWAA will decide before the start of the season whether to strip USC of its 2004 national championship and give it to Auburn.
"This is unprecedented, but it's an unprecedented situation," Richardson told the Mobile Press-Register.
Oklahoma edged Auburn in the Bowl Championship Series standings to earn a shot against USC, then was routed by the Trojans, 55-19, in the title game. Auburn completed a 13-0 season by defeating Virginia Tech, 16-13, in the Sugar Bowl and finished No. 2 to USC in the BCS standings and polls.
After the season, Auburn issued rings to players with the inscription "National Champions." One turned up on eBay in 2008.
"Auburn was unbeaten and many people thought they should have been in the national championship game," Richardson said. "It would be similar to what occurs in the Olympics [when a result is vacated because of a failed drug test]."
Auburn was edged out by Oklahoma in the BCS standings in part because of the Tigers' nonconference schedule, which featured Louisiana Tech, The Citadel and Louisiana Monroe. Oklahoma's nonconference lineup featured Oregon, Houston and Bowling Green. The Sooners were 12-0 before losing to USC.
Utah also finished 2004 undefeated, capping a 12-0 season with a 35-7 victory over Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl.
Tommy Tuberville, Auburn's coach in 2004, said Tuesday he believes a new champion should be named instead of the title being vacated, which is the plan of the BCS should USC lose its appeal to the NCAA.
"Why in the world would you not give it to anybody, whether it's Oklahoma or us or Utah?'' he said. "Everybody played that year. Why would you not give it to somebody? There's other teams that did the right things. We didn't even get a chance to play. We had a heckuva football team that year. I don't think people really realized how good we were. If they take it away from them, give it to somebody else. There is no reason to keep a group of players who say, 'Hey, I was a national champion.' I'm not saying it was us. But somebody.''
He added this about USC: "They cheated. They're out. But we're not going to re-vote it because it happened five years ago? That's not right ...That season is over with and forgotten about, but not by a bunch of fans from three or four schools. People do care. You're talking about kids' lives and resumes.''