After falling to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game yesterday, Auburn dropped to #7 in the College Football Playoff rankings and earned an automatic bid into a New Year’s Six game.
With the Sugar and Rose Bowls included in the Playoff itself, that left Auburn to await a destination in either the Fiesta, Cotton, Orange, or Peach Bowls, and it looks like the Tigers will end up heading back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the second straight game.
Auburn was selected to play in the Peach Bowl against the last remaining undefeated team in UCF.
UCF won the AAC Championship in a double-overtime thriller over Memphis, 62-55 in Orlando yesterday afternoon, and bring a 12-0 record and future Nebraska head coach Scott Frost into Atlanta to tangle with Gus Malzahn and the Tigers.
The last time these two teams met was before the turn of the millennium, with Auburn winning back-to-back-to-back games from 1997-1999. This will be Auburn’s second straight New Year’s Six game after the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma last season, and the fourth time the Tigers have played in one of the Playoff/BCS-tier bowl games in the last eight seasons.
UCF is no stranger to this stage, either, as the Knights went to the Fiesta Bowl in 2013 after an 11-1 regular season. UCF beat Baylor in that game, 52-42. For Auburn, it’ll be necessary to avoid the letdown that comes with having lost late in the year and having your biggest goals taken away. We’ve seen the story before, with UCF in 2013, Utah over Alabama in 2008, Houston over Florida State in 2015, and Boise State over Oklahoma in 2006.
Kickoff for the game comes at 11:30 am CST on New Year’s Day in Atlanta.