After a week of speculation we know our bowl desitination. It is a bit of a surprise too, as the Music City Bowl could have chosen an ACC team and we were long projected to go to the Pinstripe or QuickLane Bowls. The Music City is a game within a reasonable driving distance for many alums though, and we should have a pretty pro-Purdue crowd.
Our opponent is the Auburn Tigers of the SEC. It is the first time ever we have played Auburn in football, and as far as I can tell it is the first time we have played an opponent from the state of Alabama. We haven’t played a game in Nashville since 1942, either. It will be a bit of a homecing for tight end Brycen Hopkins, who is from the Nashville area.
When it comes to Purdue and the SEC there is honestly not a lot of history. Officially we’re 12-8 against teams from that conference, but there is a caveat there. Of those 20 games half have come against Missouri (7-3), and only two of those are since the Tigers joined the conference. We also played Texas A&M once, but long before they joined the SEC (1967). That makes only nine games against the more traditional SEC teams. Here is how we have done against the league over time.
Missouri (Purdue leads 7-3)
This is our most familiar opponent, and we finished a home-and-home with them back in September with a last second 40-37 loss. This was after winning in Columbia 35-3 last season. This series marks Purdue’s first regular season games against an SEC opponent since 1942. Before losing to the Tigers back in September we had won four in a row over them.
Kentucky (Purdue leads 2-1)
As you saw above, nine of the 20 games against SEC foes came against the schools when they were not members of the conference. Technically these three games also fall into that category. Purdue and Kentucky last played in 1915, where the Wildcats won in Lexington 7-0. That was 17 years before the SEC was formally founded. Purdue won both games played in West Lafayette in 1914 and 1895.
Georgia (Georgia leads 2-0)
I think every Purdue fan remembers these games. Purdue lost in overtime twice in New Year’s Day bowl games to the Bulldogs. In the 2000 Outback Bowl is was multiple missed kicks by Travis Dorsch and a collapse from a 25-0 lead. In 2003 Kyle Orton and Co. made a miraculous comeback to force overtime, but couldn’t score in the extra session.
Vanderbilt (Vanderbilt leads 2-0)
Technically Purdue not only hasn’t beaten the Commodores, they haven’t even scored a points. Vandy won 3-0 in West Lafayette in 1941 and 26-0 in Nashville the next year. Until we hosted Missouri this year that 1941 game was the last time an SEC opponent came to Ross-Ade Stadium. This series will change soon, however, as Purdue’s 2019 home opener on September 7 will be against Vanderbilt. Our return game will be a while, however, as it is currently slated for September 8, 2029.
Tennessee (Purdue leads 1-0)
Purdue’s only meeting with the Volunteers was almost 40 years ago. Mark Herrmann to a 27-22 win in the Bluebonnet Bowl at the Astrodome in Houston. The victory gave Purdue its lone 10-win season to date as the Boilers finished 10-2 with losses to Minnesota and UCLA. The loss 31-14 loss at Minnesota cost Purdue a Rose Bowl berth.
Texas A&M (Purdue leads 1-0)
This came during the season Purdue came pretty close to winning a national title. The Boilers opened the year with a 24-20 win over the Aggies in Dallas and were eventually as high as No. 2 in the nation before losing at home to Oregon State.
Mississippi (Purdue leads 1-0)
The final SEC team Purdue has played is Mississippi, and the lone game also occurred before the SEC even existed. That means of the 20 games Purdue has played against SEC teams only 7 occurred when the school was actually in the SEC, two of them in the last two seasons. Purdue beat Ole Miss 27-7 as part of an 8-0 season in 1929. The Rebels’ seven points were the only seven points Purdue gave up in the last five games of the season. The 1929 season is the only season in school history that Purdue was the undisputed Big Ten Champion, as every other title was a shared title. Purdue finished second in that year’s national championship rankings to undefeated Notre Dame.
So there you have it. This will only be our eighth game ever against a team that was actually in the SEC at game time. We’re only 2-5 in such games, winning at Missouri last year and against Tennessee in 1979.
Auburn vs. the Big Ten
Obviously, this is Auburn’s first game against Purdue, but how have they done against the rest of the Big Ten? They have an 11-8-2 all-time record against Big Ten opponents, but their win over Rutgers came in 1982 before they were in the Big Ten. They are 2-1 against Maryland as well with all three games coming in their pre-Big Ten days. That gives them an 8-7-2 record against the rest of the league. Most of those have come in bowl games.
Auburn beat Northwestern in the 2010 Outback Bowl, Indiana in 1990 Peach Bowl, and are 1-2-1 against Wisconsin with three meetings coming in bowl games. They beat Michigan State back in 1938, beat Ohio State in the 1990 Hall of Fame Bowl (and a regular season tie in 1917), and split two bowl games with Penn State in 1996 and 2003. They have also split two bowls with Michigan.