Seven years after his one-season stint on Greg Schiano’s Buccaneers staff in Tampa Bay, P.J. Fleck is returning to Raymond James Stadium, oars and all.
Fleck, who has made “Row the Boat” part of the collegiate vernacular, brings his 16th-ranked Minnesota team (10-2) to Raymond James Stadium to face No. 9 Auburn (9-3) in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. The 1 p.m. contest will be televised on ESPN.
The Golden Gophers will be making their first New Year’s Day bowl appearance since 2015, and only their second since the 1960 and ’61 teams played in consecutive Rose Bowls.
They have made consecutive postseason appearances under Fleck, whose program has improved every year, from 5-7 to 7-6 to 10-2, during his three-season tenure. Their 31-26 win against then-No. 5 Penn State at home on Nov. 9 was their first triumph against a top-five foe in 20 years.
Auburn is making its fifth Outback Bowl trip. The Tigers are seeking their third 10-win season under coach Gus Malzahn, whose job security ― a perpetual story line on the Plains ― seemingly solidified with last weekend’s 48-45 home win against Alabama.
Tickets can be purchased at this link.