When Auburn started the season 1-2 and looked absolutely listless on offense, most Tigers fans were simply hoping for any sort of post-season birth to close the season. If we'd said back then that Auburn would be playing in the Sugar Bowl as the 2nd highest ranked SEC team in the College Football Playoff rankings, we would have been ridiculed as absolutely crazy.
Yet, here we are. Auburn went on a 6-game winning streak in the middle of the year, but injuries to starting QB Sean White and starting running back Kamryn Pettway (along with almost every other running back being banged up in some way, shape, form, or fashion) saw the Tigers falter down the stretch with losses at Georgia and Alabama.
Still, the Tigers finished the regular season 8-4. In a down year for the SEC, Alabama was the only team to finish with less than four losses. Auburn's close game against Clemson and the injuries that are supposed to be healed by the bowl game were enough for the Committee to place the Tigers into the Sugar Bowl against the BigXII Champion.
Thw game will take place January 2nd at 7:30pm Central on ESPN.
The Tigers' opponent will be the Oklahoma Sooners. For Auburn fans who love bowl matchups against teams we rarely play, this is a good one. The Tigers and the Sooners have only met once before, in the 1972 Sugar Bowl following Pat Sullivan's 1971 Heisman campaign. It did not go well for the Tigers, who lost 40-22.
This season, the Sooners started off just as Auburn did: dropping two of their first three. The Sooners fell to G5 darling Houston, which does not look as good now as it did months ago. They then fell to Ohio State in Week 3. The difference is that they then went undefeated for the rest of the season behind power running backs, the arm of Baker Mayfield, and one of the best wide receivers in college football in Dede Westbrook.
Auburn will face a very tough test against the BigXII Sooners. It's going to be a fun few weeks between now and then. Be sure to check out the SB Nation Oklahoma blog Crimson and Cream Machine for their coverage of the game.
We owe Oklahoma. Let's go out and win this one, Auburn. Get revenge on the Sooners for the Women's Collge World Series and for inflicting Sunny Golloway on us.