Despite losing to Georgia and Kentucky and going below .500 in the SEC, Auburn will be playing in the Outback Bowl against the No. 3 Big Ten team on New Year's Day, according to a report from ai.com.
The Outback Bowl, which typically takes the third-best SEC team not in a BCS bowl, hasn't selected an SEC West team since Alabama faced Michigan on New Year's Day, 1997.
The news likely enraged Kentucky, Arkansas and Georgia fans. All three of those teams beat Auburn head-to-head and have the same records as the Tigers. Tennessee lost to Auburn but had a better overall SEC record, going 4-4 in conference.
The bowl representatives must have been encouraged by how close the Tigers played Alabama, because there really is no legitimate explanation. The Tigers are no more or less of a draw than the Volunteers, who are going through their own renaissance under fiery coach Lane Kiffin.
In fact, the Tigers, under cool-headed coach Gene Chizik, are, from a headline-generating standpoint, boring by comparison, and would likely be less of a draw to viewers and fans. This is an awful decision on their part.
For what it's worth, the Tigers will face Northwestern.