1. P.J. Fleck and his staff coached their tails off
Auburn has more NFL talent than Minnesota does.
It has the star recruiting classes, it has the SEC depth, and it has the speed and playmakers that were good enough to beat Oregon to start the regular season, get by Alabama to end it, and …
Minnesota – to go hokey – rowed that boat.
It was close, and it took a lot of work to put away this fantastic SEC team, but Minnesota owned the lines, was even in the turnover battle, came up with 262 more yards, was more creative offensively, tougher defensively, held the ball for over 15 minutes longer, and in the end, was the far better coached and prepared team.
As canned as the Fleck act might seem at times, the guy just won 11 games at Minnesota,
His team beat Penn State, it beat Auburn, and it was at least in the discussion for the College Football Playoff in late December.
And his team just dominated the No. 12 team in college football, even if the final score might not show it.
I’ll admit to being the “bowl games don’t matter” guy. With the way this went, and for this program, and for this coaching staff, this Outback Bowl win mattered.