Chick-fil-A Bowl: Latest News, Notes and Analysis for Auburn vs. Virginia
The Chick-fil-A Bowl has always been one of the better bowls that is not played in January.
One of the reasons for the success is the committee gets to choose one of the top teams from the SEC as well as one of the top teams from the ACC.
This year's contest should be one of the better ones to date as Auburn squares off against Virgina. Both teams had solid regular seasons and look to end their season with a huge win on New Year's Eve at the Georgia Dome.
Here's some news, notes and analysis from the days leading up to the big game.
Run, Run, Run
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Michael Dyer, who is Auburn's leading rusher and was selected First-Team All-SEC, will not play in the game due to being suspended for undisclosed reasons.
So this leaves an opportunity for backup running backs Onterio McCalebb and Tre Mason to carry the load.
In the official press conference on Wednesday, Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said that McCalebb will get the majority of the carries on Saturday, while Mason, who is a true freshman, has a great opportunity to show the rest of the Auburn nation how good of a player he will be the next few years.
The World of Gus Malzahn
Nobody has to do more work the last month than Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahan. Not only is he putting together a gameplan that hopes to shred a tough Virgina defense, he is also the new head coach for Arkansas State, so he is busy recruiting and getting a staff together for the upcoming season.
When Malzahn talked to the media on Thursday, he said he focuses on Auburn in the mornings and focuses on Arkansas State at night. He also said he has been extremely busy, but it's also an exciting time for him.
Welcome Back, Matt
Cavaliers wide receiver Matt Snyder suffered a broken foot in mid-Octber, and he thought there would not be another chance for him to get back on the field ever again with him being a fifth-year senior.
But when the Cavs defeated Maryland on Nov. 5 to become bowl eligible, Snyder knew he would have one more chance to go out there one last time.
Snyder, who had 19 catches in six games this season, started his career as an invited walk-on and hopes to get his first career touchdown on Saturday.
Gene Chizik Doing Double Duty
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Looks like Chizik has some work to do once the Chick-fil-A Bowl is over. Not only will Chizik be head coach, he will also have to play the role of defensive coordinator because Ted Roof has left the team for the same spot at Central Florida.
Before being the head man at Auburn and at Iowa State, Chizik has been the defensive coordinator for Stephen F. Austin, Central Florida, Texas and Auburn.
It should be interesting what type of game he calls against a team that averages nearly 400 yards per game.
The Game Before the Game
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
Before the game kicks off on Saturday, both teams have been taking part in the Battle of the Bowl, where they compete in various games such as racing, making milkshakes and basketball.
Virginia won the first two competitions, which were video game basketball and an eating competition, while Auburn won the next two competitions, which were making Chick-fil-A milkshakes and kart racing.
They have one more event, which will be a football version of the Family Feud.
This has always been a tradition of the Chick-fil-A Bowl because it helps the players have fun and enjoy the time off they have before the hit field.