For Tom Mickle, executive director of the Florida Citrus Sports Association, the decision to pick the Tigers to play Wisconsin is a good one for his bowl game.
Mickle says the Capital One Bowl considered the Tigers and three other SEC teams–Georgia, LSU and Alabama. Georgia's victory over LSU in the SEC Championship Game took the Bulldogs out of the picture. They are headed to the Sugar Bowl to face West Virginia.
"Auburn's win over Alabama earlier in November probably eliminated Alabama," Mickle says. "LSU was very much in the picture. They were here last year. They had a great game here and were ranked real highly. We wanted to give them a fair share of our attention. With the game (LSU's SEC Championship Game loss) last night, we thought Auburn was a better selection, particularly that LSU was here last year probably influenced that a little bit."
Mickle says the matchup of the Badgers from the Big 10 and Auburn from the SEC assures the bowl of a big crowd on Jan. 2nd for the noon CST kickoff as Auburn makes its third trip to Orlando with Tuberville as the head coach. It is AU's fifth overall trip to the bowl.
"We have had two great experiences there in the last five years and it has been a wonderful time," Tuberville says. "I have been to most of the bowls across the country in my coaching tenure and this is by far one of the best times our players have because there are so many things the people there in the Orlando area offer and the hospitality which they bring forth. It is just a fun time. We are looking forward to it and to play against Coach (Barry) Alvarez again."
The bowl game will be the finale for the 58-year-old Alvarez, the most successful in Wisconsin history. He announced earlier this year that he is retiring after this season.
"He and I have gone against each other several times over our coaching careers as assistants and now as head coaches," Tuberville notes. "We are looking forward to the challenge. We have had the opportunity to look at a little bit of film on what they have done and how they have done it.
Tommy Tuberville's Tigers will be looking to improve their record to 10-2 as they face the Badgers.
"Every year they are one of the most physical teams that we see," Tuberville adds. "We are looking forward to bringing our team in. We feel like we have got a pretty good team that finished strong. We had a couple of setbacks, but we feel like we played very well during the year and got better.
"We have got a lot of young players, a young quarterback. We are looking forward to the challenge. Coach Alvarez, I know is probably looking forward to watching from the stands or from the press box the next few years. This is his last challenge and I am excited about that. I am excited about going against him again. He has brought a lot to college football. We are going to miss what he has brought to college football."
Mickle says that the Capital One Bowl has been interested in bringing Wisconsin to Orlando for "20 years," but it never worked out until this season. Commenting on the Tigers, he says, "Auburn has been a terrific participant in our bowl game before. To have two nine-win teams, we are very excited. I think we are already headed to a quick sellout. We couldn't be more pleased with the matchup."