Music City Bowl: game vitals/coach comments

Season rundowns and comments from Auburn coach Tommy Tubberville and Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez now that the Badger-Tiger matchup is set

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What: Wisconsin (4-4 Big Ten, 7-5 overall) v. Auburn (5-3 SEC, 7-5 overall) in the Music City Bowl

When: Wednesday, Dec. 31 at 11:00 a.m. CST

Site: The Coliseum (Nashville, Tenn., 67,000)

Television: ESPN


Wisconsin results to date

Home team in italics (links to game stories)


Aug. 30—Wisconsin 24, West Virginia 17

Sept. 6—Wisconsin 48, Akron 31

Sept. 13—UNLV 23, Wisconsin 5

Sept. 20—Wisconsin 38, North Carolina 27

Sept. 27—Wisconsin 38, Illinois 20

Oct. 4—Wisconsin 30, Penn State 23

Oct. 11—Wisconsin 17, Ohio State 10

Oct. 18—Purdue 26, Wisconsin 23

Oct. 25—Northwestern 16, Wisconsin 7

Nov. 8—Minnesota 37, Wisconsin 34

Nov. 15—Wisconsin 56, Michigan State 21

Nov. 22—Iowa 27, Wisconsin 21


Wisconsin cumulative statistics


Auburn results to date

Home team in italics (links to game stories)


Aug. 30—USC 23, Auburn 0

Sept. 6—Georgia Tech 17, Auburn 3

Sept. 13—Auburn 45, Vanderbilt 7

Sept. 27—Auburn 48, Western Kentucky 3

Oct. 4—Auburn 28, Tennessee 21

Oct. 11—Auburn 10, Arkansas 3

Oct. 18—Auburn 45, Mississippi State 13

Oct. 25—LSU 31, Auburn 7

Nov. 1—Auburn 73, Louisiana-Monroe 7

Nov. 8—Mississippi 24, Auburn 20

Nov. 15—Georgia 26, Auburn 7

Nov. 22—Auburn 28, Alabama 23


Auburn cumulative statistics


Series notes: The Badgers and Tigers have played once before, a 7-7 tie in 1931 in a game held in Madison, Wis.


Coach comments


Auburn coach Tommy Tubberville comments (excerpts from teleconference Sunday evening):


Opening statement


"Our coaches and players are excited about to come to Nashville. It's a reward for a season that has been long and we have an opportunity to come into Nashville for the second time this year after playing Vanderbilt. We have a lot of local support there in that area and I'm sure we will have a lot of people from all over the south that come in and support the Auburn Tigers. It should be a fun game: two very physical teams that like to run the football. They also have a great wide receiver. This is the third time in four years that we've played a Big Ten team and we're looking forward to the challenge. It should be a great football game and we're looking forward to spending part of the holidays and Nashville, Tenn."


On Wisconsin and Auburn each finishing 7-5 and facing high expectations this season:


"Well when you start the season you hope you have an opportunity to continue to play after the regular season. Both of us had times during the year that we struggled and there were high expectations. But again, we are really excited about going to Nashville. We feel like we each have two great football teams and two great programs and I think it will show on Dec. 31."


On moving on from off the field situations:


"We had some things that you obviously can't control, but obviously having another football game to end the season is always fun but when you beat your instate rival the last game of the year, which is Alabama for us, you feel like you've had a successful year. But this will give us an opportunity to showcase our program, in Nashville, to a national television audience against a Big Ten team, and a team that we haven't against in a long, long time…we'll forget about what's happened this year and go and make this a one-game season."


On ups and downs throughout the season:


"We played pretty well most of the year…not one time after a game whether we won or lost did I feel like our football team didn't give effort. We gave great effort but there was times in the year where we didn't make improvement in some areas. We were kind of up and down but when you play a schedule like we played this past year you are going to have some up and down games. We played some tough teams that were very talented and they caught us at some times when we weren't playing at full speed but we don't deal a lot of excuses for winning or losing games. It happened. Again, the thing I can say about our team is they worked hard all season and they'll work during the offseason here going into the Bowl game and they'll be ready to play."


On whether the what he went through with possible coaching change in the last two weeks has become a rallying cry?


"I think it has been a rallying cry not just with the team but maybe for everybody involved in the Auburn family. As I said in a press conference earlier in the week this is the most unified I've seen our fans and our family and everybody's moving in the same direction so I think this game will be a motivational point for a lot of fans to come to this game, support this team and I know that our team is looking forward to their sport."


On his teams' two running backs:


"Carnel Williams is a 200-pound running back that plays like he is 230 pounds. He plays hard every down. He is very hard to tackle, he is a good open-field runner and he can make a two-yard run look like a masterpiece.


Ronnie Brown also, he's a little different, he's 225 pounds, he has really good speed and runs well inside and outside. Both these guys compliment each other really well and we're just proud to have both of them playing for us."


On seniors and expectations for game:


"The big thing for this game, I'm excited for our seniors. You want to win this game for your fans and your team, but its mainly for the seniors. This is their last game. They've paid a tremendous price at Auburn for the last four or five years and because of that you want them to have a great experience at the Bowl game, during the week and also during the game and, if possible, to go out on a winning note.


"It is a game for fun, for excitement—that is what the Bowl season is about. We are going to make sure our players have an enjoyable time. We are going to practice very hard. We are going to be well prepared for the game and hopefully we can play well."


Barry Alvarez comments


On what impresses him about Auburn:


"They are very athletic on both sides of the ball. Offensively they have tremendous amount of speed. The (offensive) line is much bigger than what I would anticipate from a Southeast Conference line. I don't know much about the conference but I didn't envision them with that type of size. Tremendous speed—wide receivers, running back.


"Defensively, again, the front is very athletic, big linebackers—what you would expect to see from that league. They are very athletic and mobile team and physical."


On Big Ten v. SEC:


"We do talk to (our players) about that. In every Bowl game you represent the league and there's a lot of pride in that. I know we took a lot of pride last year when we had a good record in Bowl games in our conference. Our coaches talked about it afterwards. After we won the (Alamo Bowl) I said something about maybe running the table for our league and I know (Ohio State coach) Jim Tressel said something to me—they all heard it and it kind of took them aback—he said, ‘maybe he knows something.' Yeah, we take that very serious and I know I always talk to the team about it."


On Auburn proximity to Nashville, fan support:


"I don't know the proximity—obviously driving distance. Down in that part of the country, their conference, so I'm sure they'll have a tremendous fan base there and hopefully we will too."


On passion for football in SEC:


"I've played some of those teams…they love their football. All those states take a lot of pride in it. I think the term passion is exactly right. We take a lot of pride in our football in the Big Ten and I think if you go to the stadiums you'll see full stadiums and sometimes we take it for granted but its not like that all over the place. But it is like that in the Southeast."


On Auburn:


"The thing about Auburn is they have a tradition, they have a name. Football's important. They've had a lot of success and they're always a good football team. I think our guys are excited about that. That is the type of team you want to play in a Bowl game. It is a big name school in a big name conference."

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