VIRGINIA (8-4) vs. AUBURN (7-5)
WHERE: Georgia Dome, Atlanta.
THE BUZZ: Though Auburn will be missing the most dependable piece of its offense with the suspension of running back Michael Dyer (second in the Southeastern Conference with 1,242 rushing yards), Virginia defensive coordinator Jim Reid is still wary of the running of backup running back Onterio McCalebb and backup quarterback Kiehl Frazier, who is dangerous in the wildcat formation. While U.Va. will be mindful of Auburn's running options, it'll look to get its own ground game re-established with Perry Jones (883 yards) after gaining just a combined 108 rushing yards as a team (averaging 165 rushing yards per game this season) in its last two games against Florida State and Virginia Tech. U.Va. quarterback Michael Rocco has thrown seven touchdowns and three interceptions in his last five games, but two of those interceptions came in the 38-0 loss to Tech. U.Va. cornerback Chase Minnifield has practiced sparingly this week and coach Mike London said Friday his status will be a game-time decision.
— Norm Wood
NORM WOOD: After snapping a four-year bowl absence, Virginia also has a chance to get its first bowl win since 2005. Those factors might be enough motivation for U.Va., and although Auburn is in serious transition mode (looking for new coordinators on both sides of the ball), coach Gene Chizik has never lost a bowl as an assistant or head coach. U.Va. 28-23.
DAVID TEEL: Virginia hasn't faced a Southeastern Conference opponent since 2003, before the SEC secured world domination and turned the national championship into its personal domain. But Auburn is a pedestrian SEC squad and is especially soft against the run. Mirroring the score of their first bowl, the 1984 Peach, the Cavaliers win 27-24.
VIRGINIA BOWL HISTORY
Jan. 1, 2008 Gator Bowl—Texas Tech 31, Virginia 28
Dec. 30, 2005 Music City Bowl—Virginia 34, Minnesota 31
Dec. 27, 2004 MPC Computers Bowl—Fresno St. 37, Virginia 34, OT
Dec. 27, 2003 Continental Tire Bowl—Virginia 23, Pittsburgh 16
Dec. 28, 2002 Continental Tire Bowl—Virginia 48, West Virginia 22
Dec. 24, 2000 Oahu Classic—Georgia 37, Virginia 14
Dec. 30, 1999 Micronpc.com Bowl—Illinois 63, Virginia 21
Dec. 31, 1998 Peach Bowl—Georgia 35, Virginia 33
Dec. 27, 1996 Carquest Bowl—Miami 31, Virginia 21
Dec. 30, 1995 Peach Bowl—Virginia 34, Georgia 27
Dec. 28, 1994 Independence Bowl—Virginia 20, Texas Christian 10
Jan. 1, 1994 Carquest Bowl—Boston College 31, Virginia 13
Dec. 29, 1991 Gator Bowl—Oklahoma 48, Virginia 14
Jan. 1, 1991 Sugar Bowl—Tennessee 23, Virginia 22
Jan. 1, 1990 Citrus Bowl—Illinois 31, Virginia 21
Dec. 22, 1987 All American Bowl—Virginia 22, Brigham Young 16
Dec. 31, 1984 Peach Bowl—Virginia 27, Purdue 24