This is far from the sexiest game on New Year’s Day, yet it could still provide quality football. Both teams are very well coached. Pat Fitzgerald is a Northwestern alum, but may leave for greener pastures in the coming years if he continues to have the sort of success with the Wildcats he has had so far as coach. Gene Chizik was a questionable hire, given his lack of success as head coach at Iowa State, but has done an admirable job in year one at Auburn.
Player to watch: Chris Todd, the senior quarterback for the Tigers, made the most of his only season as a starter. He completed 60 percent of his passes and threw 21 touchdowns. In the last-minute loss to Alabama on Nov. 27, Todd completed 15 of 25 passes and threw two touchdowns. He has matured as the season has unfolded, and watching him operate the spread offense at Auburn one final time will be a treat.
Who has the edge?
The Tigers have faced better competition, but just have not been able to close the deal in many games this season. The Wildcats, meanwhile, are winners of three straight, including wins over then-#4 Iowa and #16 Wisconsin. Northwestern is one of the hottest teams in America right now.