The Tigers will hit the practice field in Orlando for the first time on Tuesday morning at Freedom High School. That evening the players will have dinner and take a tour of Gatorland to begin their bowl entertainment schedule. The following evening after practice they will be visiting Disney's Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center.
"We've done a pretty good job in terms of our bowls," says wide receiver Ben Obomanu, who has 18 career touchdown receptions, which is second in Auburn history. He and his fellow receivers are looking to run their record to 4-0 in bowl games.
"We kind of know what to expect," adds Obomanu, who helped the Tigers to bowl wins over Penn State, Wisconsin and Virginia Tech the past three season. "The second time around you always have fun because you know where to go and what to do."
Auburn wrapped up a 13-0 2004 season with a 16-13 victory over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. That was the final college game for Carnell Williams, who is a candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year with the Tampa Bay Bucs.
The victory over Penn State was in the Florida Citrus Bowl at the end of his freshman season. He caught one pass for 11 yards in that 13-9 AU victory.
"We're glad to be here," says Tuberville, who has a 3-2 record in bowl games as head coach of the Tigers. "All of our guys are excited about being here. It's always a fun time. This is a bowl that all of our players remember because they are treated so well. They look forward to playing a Big Ten team."
Senior linebacker Travis Williams was a redshirt on the last Auburn team that lost a bowl when the Tigers fell 16-10 to North Carolina on New Year's Eve 2001. "We want to have a good time, but we are serious about winning the game," he says. "It is important to the seniors on this team to go out as winners."
The Tigers are shooting for a fourth straight bowl victory. The last loss came to North Carolina in the Peach Bowl. QB Jason Campbell and the Tigers struggled on offense that night.
If that happens it will be 40 wins for the group, making it the winningest senior class in school history. This year's seniors currently share the record for most wins with the 1989 seniors.
Auburn's opponent, Wisconsin, is 9-3 while the Tigers will bring a 9-2 mark into the contest.
"We are ready to go and have a little fun," says sophomore Brandon Cox, Auburn's starting quarterback. "Break was good. I had fun and now I'm ready for the bowl game."
Cox and the Tigers had six practices on campus before taking four days off for Christmas. The players were on their own in arriving in Orlando where they will practice daily through Sunday. Everybody should be ready for practice on Tuesday, but nine players were caught in a traffic jam caused by a wreck and didn't arrive at the team hotel in time for Monday evening's meeting. Kickoff for the game is noon CST on Jan. 2nd with television coverage on ABC.
The Tigers are 17-12-2 in their 31 previous bowl appearances. Eight of those bowl games have been against teams from the Big 10 conference with the Tigers winning six of the matchups, including a 28-14 victory over Wisconsin two seasons ago at the Music City Bowl in Nashville.