Auburn football: Ranking the Tigers' 3 best bowl options
So the tumultuous 2018 season is mercifully over. Auburn limps into bowl season with a 7-5 record, having lost two of its final three regular-season games and four of the last seven.
The Tigers are bowl eligible for the sixth consecutive season. But does anyone care? Does it really matter which bowl game the Tigers are invited to?
Checking around Twitter, it doesn’t look as though there are too many fans excited about it.
I'm interested in seeing what bowl game Auburn goes to and who the opponent is. Then again, under @CoachGusMalzahn the tigers have only won the Birmingham Bowl.
— Paul Kelsey (@pkelsey530) November 25, 2018
That’s a good point. Under Gus Malzahn, the Tigers have gone to a bowl game in each of the previous five seasons. But only once has Malzahn’s Auburn team prevailed. The Tigers beat Memphis 31-10 in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl.
Here are some of the latest bowl projections for Auburn:
SB Nation: Liberty (vs. Oklahoma State)
SI: Taxslayer (vs. Northwestern)
CFN: Birmingham (vs. Temple)
Bleacher Report: Music City (vs. North Carolina State)
NBC Sports: Liberty (vs. Baylor)
CBS Sports: Texas (vs. Iowa State)
Projections are all over the place for Auburn’s bowl destination – everything from the Birmingham Bowl to the Taxslayer Gator Bowl, with opponents equally diverse, ranging from Temple to Northwestern.
Of those possibilities, we rank the three best destination for Auburn.
This is easily the best bowl of the ones mentioned. You can tell by the projected opponent, a Northwestern team that will be playing for the Big Ten championship. The game is played in Jacksonville, and the venue is TIAA Bank Field, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Anytime you have an opportunity to play a game where the pros play, it’s a good deal for the players. The Tigers have not been bowling in the state of Florida since an Outback Bowl appearance in 2014. Jacksonville is on the Atlantic coast, and high temperatures are in the upper 60s for late December. The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve, so making it to Landing Courtyard to ring in the New Year is a must.
2. Music City
Nashville is a fun place to visit for bowl season. The game is on Dec. 28, so it wouldn’t necessarily interfere with either Christmas or New Year’s celebrations. It’s an outdoor stadium, but the game will be played at 1:30 p.m., so cold weather shouldn’t be as much of a factor as it would during a night game. Auburn hasn’t played in this bowl game since 2003. As far as the projected bowl opponent, it could be better than North Carolina State. But when you finish with a 7-5 record, you can’t and shouldn’t expect to play the top-tier teams.
This wouldn’t be the worst bowl destination. Houston is a big city, and if you can’t find something interesting to do, well, then, you just aren’t trying. Having lived there for many years, I can tell you that getting around can be a challenge; it’s a sprawling big city, widely spread out. As far as the game itself, weather is not a factor because NRG Stadium has a roof. As mentioned earlier, for players, the NFL venue is attractive. The Tigers have not played in this bowl game. The last time Auburn played a bowl game in the state of Texas was the 2006 Cotton Bowl in Dallas.