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Outback Bowl 2020: Minnesota vs. Auburn TV Schedule, Time and Odds

Jake RillSenior Analyst IDecember 31, 2019

Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck left, celebrates with wide receiver Rashod Bateman (13) after Bateman caught a touchdown pass during the first half of an NCAA football game against Northwestern, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Paul Beaty/Associated Press

At one point this season, Minnesota had College Football Playoff aspirations.

The Golden Gophers won their first nine games of the season, a stretch that culminated with an impressive home win over Penn State. Everything was going great for Minnesota, and it continued to ascend the rankings.

However, the Golden Gophers lost two of their last three games, falling to Iowa and Wisconsin and missing out on the Big Ten Championship Game. From there, they no longer had a case to make the CFP.

Minnesota will conclude its season with an exciting contest, though, as it takes on Auburn in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday. It'll be a matchup between one of the Big Ten's strongest teams and one of the SEC's best.

Auburn had a solid season, but it also had one of the most difficult schedules in the country. The Tigers' losses came against LSU, Georgia and Florida during their 9-3 campaign, and they earned wins over Oregon and Alabama.

Here's everything you need to know heading into the Outback Bowl matchup.

         

Outback Bowl Information

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 1

Time: 1 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Odds (via Caesars): Auburn -7

         

Both of these teams had strong seasons, but each will have one major change from its last regular-season contest: a new offensive coordinator.

Former Auburn offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham left the program to take the same position at Florida State. So, the Tigers went out and hired Chad Morris, who was fired as Arkansas head coach midseason, to be the top offensive assistant under Gus Malzahn.

Morris was hired on Dec. 10, so he's been around the team for a few weeks now. However, Malzahn will still be the one calling the offensive plays during the Outback Bowl.

"In my opinion, he's one of the best offensive guys out there," Malzahn said, according to Field Level Media (h/t ESPN.com). "Really he is still kind of getting acclimated, getting used to our players and how we operate and all that."

It will still be a good opportunity for Morris to work with his new players, a group that includes true freshman quarterback Bo Nix. In his first season leading Auburn's offense, Nix has passed for 2,366 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. But he flashed his potential at times and should continue to get better with more experience in one of the country's toughest conferences.

As for Minnesota, former offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca left the program just this past Thursday. He was hired by Penn State to serve as the Nittany Lions' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

That didn't give the Golden Gophers much time to find a replacement, so head coach P.J. Fleck named wide receivers coach Matt Simon as the interim offensive coordinator. Offensive quality control coach Greg Harbaugh will serve as quarterbacks coach, a duty that was also handled by Ciarrocca.

Fleck said the offensive play-calling will be done on a "collective basis," but he also has faith in his assistants.

"I trust those guys," Fleck said, according to Field Level Media. "If I didn't think they could do the job, I wouldn't let them do the job."

While plenty of focus will be on these offenses, both teams also have strong defenses. Minnesota ranks 14th in the country with 312.8 total yards allowed per game, while Auburn is 20th with 323.9.

This will be the first time Minnesota and Auburn have ever faced off, and it has the potential to be a competitive matchup with a finish that comes down to the wire.