The SEC and ESPN share a long history of punishing the team that loses the SEC championship game by sending them to a less desirable bowl than some other team who wasn’t good enough to play in the SEC championship game. At first glance, I thought they did it again this year. But, maybe not.
Ideally, you play a bowl game at some touristy location against an intriguing opponent. So LSU has the more idealistic bowl destination (Orlando, over Atlanta—which has the nicer stadium, but one we just played in) and opponent (Notre Dame, who used to be thought of as tradition-rich, but now is at least still Catholic).
But, since every non-playoff bowl game is meaningless, we may as well drive two hours to play one instead of flying to central Florida. Also, LSU is kicking off only a half-hour later. We’re not really getting the bad end of this deal.
Unless, of course, Daniel Ruettiger does the Citrus Bowl pre-game coin toss, and then someone makes a joke about him playing the last non-kneel-down snap of the game, and they somehow tease this out all afternoon to the point that people think it might actually happen, and then it does.
Assuming that doesn’t happen, I’m just as happy to play a meaningless game in Atlanta as in Orlando.
Now that we’re all incensed by me calling the game meaningless a couple times, let me say this: the game is meaningless for 2017, but no less important for 2018.
I saw a headline this week that read something like The Peach Bowl Will Determine Auburn’s Culture for 2018. I see it a little differently—the Peach Bowl will reveal Auburn’s culture for 2018.
Auburn’s 2017 is already done. It ended the same place where we’ll play our next two games.
After Baton Rouge, our guys won the games that set up our own personal playoff. When we lost, that was the end of 2017.
The Peach Bowl will reveal whether we've put 2017 behind us to prepare for 2018. Click To Tweet
We’re favored by about 10 points. If we prepare for this game with the mindset that what we do now will determine what we will accomplish in 2018, we’ll win by at least that much, and look good doing it.
That’s a little simplistic, granted—like saying a 10–3 team deserves a better bowl than a 9–3 team.