Auburn football to play Maryland in Music City Bowl in Hugh Freeze's first year

AUBURN — Following a 6-6 regular-season record in coach Hugh Freeze's first year, Auburn football will play Maryland in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee, on Dec. 30.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT, and the game will be televised on ABC. It'll take place in Nissan Stadium, where the Tennessee Titans of the NFL play. The professional team is on the road that weekend, set to play at the Houston Texans on Dec. 31.

The Tigers haven't played in a bowl game since former coach Bryan Harsin led them to the Birmingham Bowl against Houston in 2021. Auburn lost to the Cougars, 17-13, and went on to go 5-7 the following year. Harsin went 3-5 in 2022, while interim coach Cadillac Williams went 2-2 down the stretch.

Auburn has played in the Music City Bowl twice before. The first occasion came in 2003, when the Tigers beat Wisconsin by two touchdowns. Their second appearance came against Purdue in 2018. Auburn smashed the Boilermakers, 63-14, to secure its eighth win of the season.

SILVA: Cam Coleman's commitment is a signal: Welcome to a new era of Auburn football

FUTURE: Why Hugh Freeze is 'absolutely, positively convinced' Auburn football can be 'elite'

Freeze has now been eligible for a bowl game in 10 of his 11 seasons as a coach, with the one exception coming amidst his final year in Ole Miss; the Rebels went 5-7, and Freeze was ousted from the program eight months after the season's final game.

Liberty won eight games under Freeze a season ago, though he did not participate in the Boca Raton Bowl after Auburn hired him in November. Josh Aldridge, who was the co-defensive coordinator for the Flames, was in the interim coach after Freeze left for the Plains.

Aldridge is now the linebackers coach at Auburn.

The Tigers haven't won a bowl game since 2018. If they don't break that trend this time around, they'll finish a season with a record under .500 for the third year in a row. That hasn't happened since Auburn went a combined 11-20 from 1975-77.

Richard Silva is the Auburn athletics beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached via email at or on Twitter @rich_silva18.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Auburn football set to play Maryland in Music City Bowl