Auburn football: Analyst believes UCF could be bowl opponent

Jake Crain of “Crain & Company” believes that the college football scheduling gods will match up UCF and Auburn football in a future bowl game based on the pre-existing rivalry stemming from the 2018 Peach Bowl and Gus Malzahn’s move from Auburn to Central Florida creating a pipeline from the Plains to the Knights.

Malzahn was the Tigers’ head coach when AU dropped the Peach Bowl in Atlanta to Scott Frost’s Knights before Frost would make the move to Nebraska — where he has struggled to rebuild the value of a blue blood that has been down on its luck since 2016.

Now, he is bringing all of the Auburn football recruits he personally brought to East Central Alabama and bringing them to Orlando. One such recruit, Lee Hunter, said that UCF would beat Auburn by 65. That was the impetus for Crain’s statement.

Auburn football could be the one to hold up a matchup with UCF

In 2021–which was Gus Malzahn’s first season in Orlando and Bryan Harsin’s first season in Auburn–both teams played in secondary bowls, with AU traveling two hours northwest to Birmingham for the Birmingham Bowl and UCF traveling an hour and a half west to the gulf coast to take on Florida in the Gasparilla Bowl.

It’s conceivable that the eight-win Knights could have been in the Birmingham Bowl considering AAC champions Houston ended up in that spot. On the flipside, Auburn was a six-win SEC squad just like Florida was, so they could have been in the Gasparilla Bowl.

The schedule-makers went a different way, presumably to sell tickets to those local markets, but it’ll be up to Auburn football to qualify for bowl season in 2022 to set up a potential clash this December/January since most national pundits don’t expect a big season from the orange and blue but expect a step forward from Malzahn’s new squad.