The Auburn Tigers and Wisconsin Badgers will meet on January 1st in this year’s Outback Bowl. Both teams are coming off stinging defeats against teams that will be playing in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. The Auburn Tigers fell to the Alabama Crimson Tide in this year’s Iron Bowl, 55-44, while Wisconsin was waxed by the Ohio State Buckeyes 59-0 in one of the most humiliating games of the season.
With both those losses in the rearview mirror, fans can look forward to one of the more entertaining matchups of the bowl season. It’s the Big 10 vs. the SEC and with two storied programs hitting the gridiron, fans will have to pay a premium to get in the stadium. Outback Bowl tickets currently have an average price of $141 and it will cost a minimum of $84 for fans that want to see Wisconsin and Auburn wage war. Birmingham flights begin at just $300, according to Hipmunk.com so Auburn fans flying in from Alabama can get a plane ticket and ticket to the game for less than $400. Madison flights to Tampa begin at $425, currently, so Wisconsin supporters will have to pay a little bit more than their Auburn counterparts to get to Tampa.
These two sides last faced in 2006 (Wisconsin won, 24-10), while the series is just 1-1-1 in three games. That gives Badgers fans little to go off of, but they know they’re in for a test in dynamic Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, who can hurt defenses both with his arm and his legs. He’s not the only one that can hurt Wisconsin, either, as Tigers running back Cameron Artis-Payne enters the Outback Bowl as the nation’s 16th best running back (1,482 yards).
Keeping both Marshall (another 780 yards on the ground) and Artis-Payne from taking over the game will be mission A if the Badgers want to escape with a win to start 2015.The Tigers are just 8-4 coming into this game, but Auburn Tigers tickets have provided all year long and Johnson and co. certainly are going to be a handful. Nick Johnson has been a force in every sense of the word and even demolished Alabama in a wild 55-44 loss back on November 29th. Auburn enters this game with a month long layoff, so while they are fresh and healthy, they could come out a bit rusty. Against a solid Badgers defense that has allowed 30+ points just once all season, starting the game off hot could be a must.
Starting off hot shouldn’t be too much of a concern, though, since Auburn has remained fluid and dangerous on offense for most of the year. In fact, they’ve been held under 30 points just three times all season and if they’re on top of their game, could turn this game into a bit of a shootout. That’s if Wisconsin’s offense is even up to the task. Heisman runner-up Gordon could give Auburn’s 44th ranked run defense a lot to think about, but if he can’t, the Badgers’ weak passing offense could be fully exposed.