I knew it was improbable, but I was secretly hoping that the Independence Bowl would end up with as intriguing of a matchup as that bowl is going to get. Sadly, against all logic and reason, the Outback Bowl has announced that they will likely take Auburn assuming that Alabama and Florida both end up in BCS games.
From Track em Tigers:
Tuesday's news of Auburn securing a spot in the Outback Bowl sounded almost too good to be true. As late as Monday night it appeared the Tigers were all but certain to be headed to Shreveport and the Independence Bowl. With six SEC teams sharing 7-5 records, there's no arguing Auburn came out the big winner among those teams. In the end, Auburn beat out both Tennessee and Ole Miss for the spot.
They go on to talk about the decent fight Auburn put up in the Iron Bowl against Alabama, but the writing on the wall is pretty clear here. Coaching a bowl game in Shreveport against a team that runs more on emotion than talent against a guy you got rid of as a coordinator a year ago is nothing but a trap game, and both Chizik and the SEC know it. So they pay a little visit to the Outback Bowl offices. "Nice SEC tie-in you've got there... it would be a shame if something were to happen to it."
Half-hearted conspiracy theories aside, I'm a little bummed. Iowa State will now likely end up against a somewhat good SEC team instead, and Auburn fans will delude themselves into thinking that "Chizik coached them into a New Year's Eve Bowl game."
In the Independence, South Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky are all still possible opponents. It will be interesting to see how things shake out.