If the Southeastern Conference asks its member schools whether to continue its football championship game, nobody could blame Auburn for saying, “No thanks.”
With a 28-7 loss to Georgia in the league title game, not only did the Tigers fall out of the College Football Playoff, they dropped into an awful bowl pairing.
They’ll face unbeaten and unhappy Central Florida in the Peach Bowl.
We could say Central Florida got snubbed by the playoff committee, but to get snubbed, somebody has to know you exist. Not only was Central Florida not going to get into the four-team playoff, the Golden Knights wouldn’t have made an eight-team bracket either. They didn’t get rewarded for their special season, and it seems likely they’ll go to Atlanta with major motivation to prove something.
Meanwhile, Auburn is facing what amounts to a glorified exhibition. There’s nothing good at stake for the Tigers, but if they lose, they’ll serve up exhibit No. 1 about how the current playoff system is terrible! The Golden Knights beating Auburn in the Peach Bowl will prove without a shadow of a doubt that the system is all wrong! Wrong, I tell ya! If Central Florida can beat Auburn, which beat Alabama, which snuck into the playoffs, Something Has To Be Done!
Meanwhile, if bowl trips are supposed to be a reward, then is the Peach Bowl in Atlanta much of a reward for an Auburn player? It doesn’t take two hours to get from Auburn to Atlanta. That’s not much of a trip.
For the average Auburn player, not going to the Peach Bowl might be more of a reward than going to the Peach Bowl.