Auburn football: B/R projects Citrus Bowl matchup against Wisconsin

Auburn football Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn football Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /

Auburn football may have a light at the end of the tunnel in this 2020-21 season: a top-non New Year’s 6 Bowl game matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers.

Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller didn’t take it easy on Auburn football in his latest College Football Playoff Projections…nor should he have. Off the bat, he pointed out how little of a shot the Tigers had of making the postseason even before this past Saturday’s loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide:

"Three of those five teams—Auburn, North Carolina and Texas—were already long shots to play in a New Year’s Six bowl and lost to higher-ranked opponents. Texas perhaps should have won its home game against Iowa State, but not one of those three outcomes was surprising."

Mr. Miller, it stings how right you are about that. I was in Austin this past Friday so by proxy I figured the Longhorns had an advantage against the Cyclones, but Alabama was always going to beat Auburn in Tuscaloosa. 

What I’m more worried about is tomorrow’s matchup against Texas A&M…but that’s tomorrow’s bridge to cross.

Since we’re dabbling in the future, let’s revel in the fact that at the current moment, the Tigers are actually projected to land in a featured non-New Year’s 6 bowl game against the Wisconsin Badgers:

"Citrus (Jan. 1): Auburn (5-3) vs. Wisconsin (2-1)In the Citrus Bowl, getting smashed by Alabama in the Iron Bowl didn’t hurt Auburn’s bowl outlook. The Tigers are still clearly on an island as the fifth-best team in the SEC—behind Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M and Georgia—but well ahead of everyone else. Maybe they wind up in the Gator Bowl or Outback Bowl, but they’re pretty much locked onto this tier."

As Miller points out, the expected Iron Bowl beatdown at the hands of the Tide shouldn’t knock Auburn football out of the festivities. Remember, the SEC being excluded from said events doesn’t help anyone financially, but it certainly hurts not to have such a prominent program on the big stage.

Eat your hearts out Marshall/BYU/Coastal fans.

As for the matchup itself, the Badgers have looked good early this season, but the Big 10 has not allowed their teams to have much of a season so far. It doesn’t help that the Badgers had a highly anticipated matchup with the Minnesota Golden Gophers cancelled–followed by their chances of winning the Big 10 Championship because of falling short of the arbitrary six-game benchmark for qualifying for it.

A pissed off Badgers team looking for revenge on the NCAA could make for quite the New Year’s Day matchup, but given Auburn’s lack of a backbone against national powerhouses this season (We’re looking at that Georgia matchup in addition to the Iron Bowl), it could be a scary proposition as well.

The War Eagle reserves the right to recant this opinion if the Auburn shows up against the Aggies tomorrow, but if Texas A&M takes down the Tigers as expected, I would hate to see Gus Malzahn’s squad take on a defiant Wisconsin squad in a bowl game…not after seeing Northwestern run away with the Big 10 West.

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