The Kevin Steele era begins and ends tomorrow in Orlando as Auburn takes on Northwestern in the
Outback Citrus Bowl.
If you’re like me, you’re wondering... didn’t we already do this?
Answer: we did. Eleven years ago. New Year’s Day 2010. In a slightly different bowl game in a slightly different Florida town.
Confession, I saw the announcement that we’re playing Northwestern and immediately assumed that it was the Outback Bowl. I guess that game has burned its memory into me as unnecessarily stressful. I’ve also learned that the title sponsor, VRBO, is not pronounced V-R-B-O, but like a whole word... Verbo. Like Verbena, Alabama, but a little different.
Unnecessarily stressful... like 2020 in general, and this game is going to showcase but a shell of the Auburn team that you’ve come to know and love, while showing basically nothing for the future.
Gone is Gus Malzahn. The last time we saw him he was dancing with his players after a win in Starkville. The next day he was fired. More than a week later the new head man, Bryan Harsin, was announced, but he won’t be coaching tomorrow. Instead, we get Kevin Steele as interim head coach.
Some of your favorite players are opting out of this game. I admit, if I was on the team, it’s a tempting route to take, especially since you can essentially keep your year of eligibility for 2021 and act like this season never happened. Anthony Schwartz, Jamien Sherwood, and Christian Tutt are some of the names being mentioned as sitting this one out.
Auburn fans have had a lot to endure over the past couple of weeks, from a coaching firing to a coaching search, from thinking that the athletic department had no control over athletic department hires to the president subtweeting all boosters and beat writers and telling them they’re wrong.
This game won’t mean anything in the long run for Auburn football. Nothing that comes out of it will affect 2021, and the cast of characters that you see tomorrow will likely be much different than the crew that opens next season against Akron.
Still, we’re going to watch, because it’s New Year’s Day, and it’s football.
Auburn vs Northwestern - 1/1/21 - Orlando, FL - Camping World Stadium
Kickoff Time: 12:00 pm CST/1:00 pm EST
Radio: Auburn Sports Network - Find the full list of terrestrial affiliates, and links to listen online via the official athletic site or TuneIn.
Line: Auburn is a 3.5-point underdog against the Wildcats, with an over/under set at 43.5 points.