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Transperfect Music City Bowl Preview

Billy Edwards, Jr. and Taulia Tagovailoa
Like the New Year, In With the New and Out with the Old - Billy Edwards, Jr. and Taulia Tagovailoa
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Who: Maryland Terrapins [Big Ten] vs. Auburn Tigers [SEC]

When: 2 pm, Saturday December 30

Where: Nissan Stadium Nashville, Tennessee

Why: Money, I guess.

Line: Auburn favored by a touchdown

I have a friend from my undergrad days at Maryland who subsequently trained in special forces that I have since lost contact with. He used to go on 3-month missions to secretive places with absolutely no contact whatsoever, not even with his then-wife. His business card listed his job title as “Exercise Director.” I find ambiguous job titles and company names humorous.

Transperfect provides linguistics translation services for basically any industry and any media format. I was compelled to look up this information because I wondered what this company did. My first thought was that it was a company that provides services for transgender folks. Really. But then I thought, “not a chance.”

Notable Maryland losses:

Taulia Tagovailoa. That’s a big one. He has opted out to focues on the upcoming NFL draft. Maryland has officially become a triple-A affiliate of the Michigan Wolverines, having developed the very talented LB Jaishawn Barham only to have him transfer to Michigan for more NIL money. Awesome. Also missing will be CB Tarhib Still, who, like Lia, is focusing on the upcoming draft. Also transferring from Maryland and therefore missing the bowl game, is the very talented TE Cory Dyches. Fortunately, Preston Howard came on big time at the end of the season so, the Dyches loss isn’t nearly as big as losing Lia, Tarheeb Still or Jaishawn Barham.

Notable Auburn losses:

Auburn’s best WR, Ja’Varrius Johnson has transferred out. I guess he wasn’t vibing with having former MSU QB Payton Thorne throw him the ball. Opting out to prepare for the NFL draft are Auburn’s two best CBs, D J James and Nehemiah Pritchett as well as one of their top D-lineman, Marcus Harris.

Preview and Highly Opinionated and Editorialized “Analysis”:

Auburn is coached by the saintly Hugh Freeze, whose two previous HC gigs included Ole Miss and Liberty. In both of these instances, scandals followed Hugh out the door.

Auburn sports a [6-6] record with a notable loss to New Mexico State the week before their annual rivalry with Alabama in the Iron Bowl, which happens to be another notable loss.

With 43 seconds remaining in the game, Auburn was up 24-20 and Alabama was faced with a 4th and goal from Auburn’s 31 yard line. If you hate the virtuous and righteous Saint Hugh, you’ll love this highlight clip of Alabama converting the 4th goal from Auburn’s 31 yard line into a TD to win the game:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7SnQYEjtTg

Jeff Sagarin ranks Auburn at #38. Sagarin has Maryland [7-5] a few spots higher at #35, which also happens to be higher than any Big Ten West team. This fact makes those horrible October losses to Illinois and Northwestern even more painful.

Even considering the notable losses above, there is no clear favorite, despite the betting line favoring Auburn by a touchdown. Both teams are pretty good but seemingly inconsistent. I think the winner is whoever wins in the trenches. All things being equal, this would be Auburn, who has a very good defense. However, analytics only goes so far in college football. College football is a very emotional sport. How else to explain Auburn’s loss to New Mexico State only to come one play from beating Alabama the following week? Here is where Maryland may have an advantage. Maryland has qualified for a bowl game for a third straight year. The last time Maryland qualified for bowl games in three consecutive years was 2006-2008, fifteen years ago. Oh. And Maryland has NEVER won three straight bowl games. Given 2021 was the Pinstripe Bowl and 2022 was the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, the Music City Bowl is reaching new heights for Maryland football over the last 20 years. Conversely, Auburn’s history and DNA is quite different, having won a national championship more recently than Maryland has been to three straight bowl games. I’m quite certain Auburn isn’t nearly as psyched as Maryland to be playing in the Music City Bowl. Whether this psychological factor is enough for Maryland to win three consecutive bowl games for the first time ever remains to be seen.

I’m sure Penn State fans will tune in with gleeful, sadistic and twisted intentions of watching the tragi-comedy of the continued futility of Maryland football play out in real time. What about the rest of you folks? To paraphrase a now-irrelevant talking head who, like Hugh Freeze, also had his fair share of sexual scandal, “What say you, OTEers?