1. Auburn closed with a thud
There are a slew of reasons and valid excuses for why Auburn had issues over the late part of the season, but a five game losing streak is a five game losing streak.
And it was a losing season under first year head man Bryan Harsin.
The lack of a consistent offense and the inability to come up with that one big defensive play in the clutch both were on display in the loss to Houston, but of course this is all fixable.
The Tigers have their offensive backfield. They have a solid defense coming back, and they have a full season under the belt of the new coaching staff.
It’s why this bowl game mattered.
The close loss to Alabama was fine by normal standards – obviously not to Auburn fans – and a win in a bowl would have been a momentum-changer.
Now the offseason narrative will be about the losing streak, and the offense that stumbled, and the inefficient passing game, and all the things that made some question the hiring of Harsin in the first place.
And it could also serve as fuel for a program that might be one tweak away from rolling in games like these.