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Auburn selected to play in the Music City Bowl against Maryland

todayDecember 3, 2023 5

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Auburn is going back to Nashville.

The Music City Bowl has selected Auburn to play in this year’s game against Maryland.

Maryland finished fourth in the Big Ten East with a 7-5 record. Auburn and Maryland have played three times in their history, with Aubrun winning two of three. The last matchup was in 1983.

“The entire Auburn football program is excited to accept an invitation to the TransPerfect Music City Bowl in Nashville,” Auburn first-year head coach Hugh Freeze said. “Nashville is a great destination, and the TransPerfect Music City Bowl is a great way to end our first season at Auburn. We have the best fans in college football and can’t wait for the Auburn Family to travel to Nashville and take over Broadway. We are thrilled for our players to have another opportunity to compete against a very good Maryland opponent.”

Heading into the bowl’s selection on Sunday, most projections had centered around Auburn playing in either the Music City Bowl or the Texas Bowl. The decision point essentially came down to whether the Texas Bowl wanted the local team — Texas A&M — that beat Auburn and had a better record by one game.

The SEC’s bowl order got some chaos on Sunday with Ole Miss getting moved up into a New Year’s Six spot and Tennessee playing in the Citrus Bowl. But it did not alter Auburn’s bowl slot.

A senior bowl representative told AL.com earlier in the week that they were intrigued by the possibility of hosting Auburn in Nashville because of its relative ease of travel for Auburn fans. The bowl also paid attention to Auburn fans taking over Vanderbilt’s stadium this season for Auburn’s win over the Commodores in November.

The fit of Auburn in Nasvhille made sense.

The Music City Bowl is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023, at Nissan Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. The game will be aired on ABC.

The kickoff time on a Saturday means some Auburn fans could easily make a day trip to Nashville, a bowl representative suggested.

“On behalf of President Dr. Chris Roberts and the Auburn Family, we’d like to thank President and CEO Scott Ramsey and the TransPerfect Music Bowl for an incredible opportunity in Nashville, Tennessee on December 30,” Auburn Athletics Director John Cohen said. “We look forward to being in Nashville and can’t wait to compete against a quality Big Ten opponent.”

Auburn has been to the Music City Bowl twice in its history and won both times: beating Wisconsin in 2003 and Purdue in 2018.

This is Auburn’s first bowl appearance since 2021 where it lost the Birmingham Bowl to Houston. Auburn’s 2018 Music City Bowl win against Purdue is the program’s last bowl win.

Auburn is 24-20-2 in its bowl game history, but just 3-7 in bowl games since winning the BCS National Championship Game in 2010.

Auburn finished the season with a 6-6 record in Hugh Freeze’s first year after not making a bowl game last year under head coach Bryan Harsin and interim head coach Cadillac Williams.

Auburn’s 2023 season was a year of streaks. It began the year with three wins in a row before struggling immensely on offense and losing four straight games to open SEC play — against the gauntlet of Texas A&M, Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss.

Freeze then stepped in to assist more in offensive game planning and the team saw a significant turnaround, winning three games in a row, albeit against weaker SEC opponents.

Auburn clinched bowl eligibility with a dominant 48-10 win against Arkansas in Fayetteville, but blew its best chance to finish the regular season with a winning record as it promptly followed the Arkansas win with the team’s worst performance of the season in an embarrassing loss to New Mexico State.

The next week, in the Iron Bowl, Auburn came within 43 seconds and 31 yards of upsetting Alabama. Auburn’s defense allowed a 31-yard touchdown on 4th-and-goal to lose the game as a crowd that was prepared to storm the field had suddenly been quieted.

Should Auburn win the bowl game, it would be Auburn’s first winning season since 2020.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Auburn and Maryland to our game this year,” Scott Ramsey, President & CEO of the TransPerfect Music City Bowl, said. “As we look forward to the unique matchup, we hope it will become another memorable chapter in the history of our bowl game and for Nashville as a whole, as we welcome back Auburn and introduce Maryland and its fans to our great city.”

Matt Cohen covers Auburn sports for AL.com. You can follow him on X at @Matt_Cohen_ or email him at mcohen@al.com





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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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