Auburn takes on Purdue tomorrow afternoon in Nashville in the Music City Bowl, and with the changes in protocol since the end of the season, I don’t know if anyone’s sure of what we’re going to see. That means that you have to depend on our conjecture as we look ahead to tomorrow’s kickoff!
STAFF PREDICTIONS - AUBURN vs PURDUE
“Alright, so Auburn has more talent, but Purdue probably cares quite a bit more. The crowd won’t be as one-sided as you would think, because Indiana to Nashville isn’t that bad of a drive. I’m fading Auburn in their best interests. Purdue 27, Auburn 23.” - James Jones
“Honestly, don’t have much of a feel for this game. I think it simply comes down to whether or not this offense can get anything going on the ground. I don’t know why but I’m getting positive vibes about this week. I’ll be in a trailer in Phenix City so there’s very little chance I will watch live, but I think AU gets the W. 34-24.” - AU Nerd
“I think Gus is going to try to overdo it a la 2011 Peach Bowl and I’m here for it. I bet he runs so many jet sweeps and trick plays that a portion of Auburn Twitter will vomit. Ryan Davis throws a touchdown pass to Stidham. Shaun Shivers and Anthony Schwartz and Boobee Whitlow all run for scores. Auburn beats the Boilermakers back to the age of the steam engine. 38-23.” - Son of Crow
“Bowl games don’t matter. Not really. Making one matters because you get those extra practices. They matter to the players because they get all that free stuff and who doesn’t like taking a big trip with your friends and teammates? But the game itself is inconsequential to everyone but those who want to harp on Gus’ bowl record. The Tigers are definitely the more talent-laden team, but Purdue will be out to prove they can beat one of the big boys. I think Auburn wins this one, 34-27.” - AU Chief
“For the second straight year, Auburn goes up against one of America’s darlings in their bowl game. Last year it was an undefeated UCF team. This year it’s Purdue, who has a super fan in Tyler Trent, who has captured the hearts of so many with his public battle with cancer. We’re all pulling for you Tyler! As for the game, I haven’t thought a whole lot about it, and while Auburn might be the better team, I think Purdue wants to be in Nashville more than Auburn and that will be the difference. Purdue 27, Auburn 21.” - Will McLaughlin
“Despite being 6-6, Purdue is a much better team than their record indicates. After an 0-3 start where they had a post-game win expectancy of over 60% in each contest, the Boilermakers finished out the year on a 6-3 run, including that blowout win over Ohio State and a 3-point loss to Wisconsin. Purdue was all-around pretty good on offense, finishing with top 30 rushing and passing units. It’s also a senior-heavy offense: QB David Blough, Purdue’s two primary running backs, and two of their top three receivers are all seniors.
Purdue is going to have to score on explosive plays (which they can do) because their 97th-ranked Inside-the-10 offense shouldn’t have much luck against Auburn’s top-ranked Inside-the-10 defense. On the other side, I honestly have no idea what Auburn will come out with on offense. Purdue’s got a pretty bad defense, so maybe Stidham can show something to improve his draft stock. I for one would love a game plan centered around Seth Williams, Shaun Shivers, and Anthony Schwartz, but we’ll see what New Gus (or is it Old Gus?) comes up with. Give me Auburn 31-20 because I can’t take a whole offense with the same level of complaining (or worse) than what we’ve had the last two months.” - Ryan Sterritt
“I’m ready to see the old-fashioned Gus Malzahn attack again. Like Crow said above, we’re probably going to get a little tired of some of the old tricks, but let’s not forget that this is going to be like the moment a Survivor contestant gets voted off and they can eat again. Gus has been living off of white rice for a couple years now, and it’s finally his time at Ponderosa to enjoy some unlimited favorites. Auburn seems loose and ready for this game, but the last few times that they played in a meaningless game against a Big Ten team there have been mixed results. I think that this year is different. Gus is coaching for his job. Every week is another visit with the principal opening up the permanent record and counting the black marks. He’s going to be taking this one a little more seriously, because it could certainly set the tone for next year. Auburn’s going to have few fans outside of the state of Alabama, what with Tyler Trent being at the game and all, but this is a chance for the Tigers to take a full heel turn, and start to play with the kind of intensity and impropriety that the top teams around the country have.
In the end, Auburn’s got more talent than Purdue, but this is just a want-to game. Do the Tigers want to be in Nashville to build upon the offseason, or is this just the game that they have to play to finish the year? If it’s the former, Auburn wins easily. If it’s the latter, not so much. I think the defense gets up to the task, and the offense has success with things that they haven’t done all year long, and Gus rides into the offseason with a little less pressure and a little more confidence. Auburn 31, Purdue 19.” - Jack Condon