Auburn football landing transfer portal QB would make Music City Bowl major inflection point

Auburn football landing a QB out of the transfer portal would make the Music City Bowl a major inflection point, says one analyst.

Dec 30, 2023; Nashville, TN, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Hugh Freeze watches against the Maryland
Dec 30, 2023; Nashville, TN, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Hugh Freeze watches against the Maryland / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
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AL.com's Matt Cohen saw the possibility of Auburn football landing Wazzu transfer Cam Ward, who's considering the NFL in addition to another year at the collegiate level, turning the Music City Bowl into a major inflection point for Hugh Freeze's program in hindsight.

"Regardless if Auburn manages to get Cam Ward, to go from publicly saying you don't like the 'speed dating' of the transfer portal and the difficulty of finding the right QB fit there, to then saying the QB room is 'wide open' and reportedly making a last-second effort at the top QB in the portal is pretty telling on where Auburn's heads are at after the Music City Bowl," Cohen said.

Ward ultimately declared for the NFL draft, spurning Miami and Auburn for a chance at NFL millions; something On3's Justin Hokanson didn't believe was actually on the table during the former Wazzu/Incarnate Word star's recruitment.

But landing a portal quarterback is still on the table based on Freeze's recent declaration that the QB competition is wide open in 2024.

Hugh Freeze making major Auburn football coaching pivot that should be praised

Freeze having the humility to adjust his gameplan after an outing from Payton Thorne during the Music City Bowl (13/27 passing, 1:1 TD-INT ratio, 20.4 QBR) that made the coach's confidence in the former Michigan State star fade is a pivot that could define the 2024 season on the Plains.

If the hard-to-sit-through Music City Bowl, a brutally cold day with a brief cameo from snow, an Auburn fan's unfamiliar adversary, leads to the Tigers becoming more competitive -- which undersells the potential impact such a portal addition would have considering Ward is the kind of QB who nearly single-handedly changes the national narrative on AU -- then it will have been a bigger win for Auburn than it for the soon-to-be Taulia Tagovailoa-less Maryland.