"I would just like to compliment the man to my right," Gary Stokan, President of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, said of Housel during a ceremony announcing the bowl bid. "He's first class, as you know who work with him. He's honest, up-front, he does a tremendous job representing Auburn University and he's a pleasure to work with."
The work that Housel, Stokan and others put in over the last few hours enabled the committee to extend an official invitation to Auburn Sunday afternoon, which the Tigers graciously accepted. With Housel, Tuberville and interim president William Walker all in attendance, the Auburn contingent was all smiles when talking about making the trip to Atlanta.
Tuberville said, "I haven't talked with them and I haven't had a chance to get them together, but they'll be overly excited about this opportunity." Tuberville said. "I know our fans will be excited because it's an opportunity to continue this season for another game. Having a young football team, we desperately need that and I know North Carolina has a young football team so I think it will be a great and outstanding matchup."
Passing over the Georgia Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels to take the Tigers, the Peach Bowl Committee cited several reasons why the Tigers were the right team for them. The first reason was on the field play. In head-to-head matchups, Auburn defeated both teams and that was very important for the members of the selection committee. The second reason was the support of the Auburn fans. Looking to continue a tradition of outstanding attendance in the Peach Bowl, fourth of all the bowls in the last five seasons including the BCS bowls in attracting fans, the bowl is banking on the Auburn faithful to deliver and put fans in the stands. That's something Housel says he believes will happen.
"It's a tremendous vote of confidence you have given Coach Tuberville, our football programand the Auburn people to invite us considering some of the other options you had," Housel said to the committee. "We will live up to your confidence in us both on the field and off the field and in the stands."
The players are a happy bunch, too, that is if senior tackle Kendall Simmons speaks for the team, which he usually does. As one of the few seniors, the Ripley, Miss., native noted on Sunday that he's just looking forward to one more chance to play in an Auburn uniform.
"I'm glad we have a chance to go to a bowl game more than anything," Simmons said. "I just heard the scenario that was out that if LSU won, we were out. I'm glad we have a chance to go to a bowl game. I'm happy the way things turned out."