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Monday Musings: Bowl Practice Edition

Michael Dyer's absence from the Chick-Fil-A Bowl will make things even tougher when Auburn lines up against Virginia.
Michael Dyer's absence from the Chick-Fil-A Bowl will make things even tougher when Auburn lines up against Virginia.

Auburn returns to the practice field today in preparation for its New Year's Eve matchup with Virginia. Something tells me more time will be spent on 2012 than the Cavaliers. Not since Auburn's last visit to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in 2007 have there been so many questions surrounding the team during bowl season.

It will be interesting to watch who gets the majority of snaps at quarterback. If I'm Gene Chizik, I give Kiehl Frazier the start. We know what Clint Moseley and Barrett Trotter can do; let's give Frazier the entire playbook and three weeks to prepare and let him sink or swim.

Trotter's performance at practice in the coming weeks will likely determine whether he returns next season. With his degree already in hand, it's doubtful he'll return as a backup.

Rumors have been floating around for several weeks about running back Michael Dyer. Most of them center on whether he'll be in orange and blue next season. Word that he's been suspended for the bowl game will only add to the talk.

I won't speculate here on the reason for his suspension, but I do hope the young man gets his act together. Auburn obviously needs him; but he also needs the program. His best days are still ahead and I'd hate to see him screw up his life by transferring.

As backup Tre Mason tweeted Saturday night, now is his time to shine. The same can be said for a lot of the young guys.

It appears offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn will return next season. After emerging as the hottest assistant coach in America a year ago, he's been little more than a second-tier candidate this season. That doesn't mean he won't be in the hunt at some of these smaller schools, but at $1.3 million a year at Auburn those jobs will likely be lateral moves.

There's no question some of the luster is off Malzahn. It's hard to argue that he earned his salary this season. For a guy that prides himself on innovation, his unit was as predictable as it gets in the SEC.

Malzahn's biggest failing has been his inability to develop a quarterback. All of that said, he's still one of the best in the game. I will be shocked if he doesn't rebound in a big way next season.

Speaking of coaching, I'm surprised that Alabama's Kirby Smart was not offered a head coaching job. With ESPN's love affair for all things Alabama, you would think schools would be lining up for a piece of Alabama royalty. I guess not.

What a year it has been for Georgia's Mark Richt. Entering the season as the coach most likely to be gone at year's end, Richt overcame an 0-2 start and now is negotiating a contract extension with Georgia. Reports over the weekend say that Texas A&M offered its vacant job to Richt. He politely declined. You can bet he will use that offer as leverage in his negotiations.

Here's a tip on winning your office pool this bowl season. Pick the teams that are excited to be going bowling. That will be Auburn's challenge against Virginia. The Cavaliers are headed to a bowl game for the first time since 2007. They overachieved this season and will be pumped up and ready to go.

Auburn will return to the spot where they won the SEC Championship a year earlier. They've lost their defensive coordinator and have no leader on offense. This game will be a huge challenge for Auburn. Mark my word.

Ted Roof was a polarizing figure from the day he arrived on campus. There's no question a change was needed at defensive coordinator, but that doesn't mean Roof was a bad coach. By the end of last season, Auburn was as good as any defense in America. I hope he has big success at Central Florida.

Looking to kill some time at work? Check out Saban on a Shelf. I have no idea who created it, but it's pretty funny stuff. There are some creative people in this world.

It was refreshing to see the Heisman voters in the southeast show some objectivity. Despite Alabama's Trent Richardson and LSU's Tyrann Mathieu being among the finalist, the voters in this part of the country still placed Baylor's Robert Griffin III ahead of those two in the balloting. Griffin was far and away the best player in 2011.

If this year has you longing for the championship season of 2010, then why not relive it? War Eagle is offering the entire 2010 championship season on DVD. It makes a great Christmas present. If you order from us, we'll actually make a little money. How about that?

Click here to order. When checking out, be sure to enter KB777 in the promotion box. Our children thank you!