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After an up-and-down 2021 season, Auburn football is projected to face off with a dangerous ACC foe in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl this December.

Auburn football locked in bowl eligibility at the end of October with a victory over Ole Miss but three losses over the next three weeks limited their bowl options.

With the regular season now over after a dramatic 4OT loss to Alabama in the Iron Bowl, the Tigers have a better view of what their bowl destination is likely to be.

According to Brett McMurphy, Auburn will head to the Gator Bowl.

Auburn bowl game: Tigers projected to Gator Bowl

Assuming the Tigers get the Gator Bowl slot, they will face off with an ACC foe.

Wake Forest is McMurphy’s pick. If the Demon Deacons end up winning the ACC Championship Game vs. Pitt, they will likely see a different foe.

The Tigers and Demon Deacons have faced off eight times with Auburn holding the 6-2 edge. However, it has been a long time since the programs have met. Their last game was in 1982 when the Tigers won 28-10.

They have only played once outside of Alabama.

Meeting Wake Forest this season means going against a team led by quarterback Sam Hartman. The Demon Deacons have averaged more than 40 points per game but they’ve also given up more than 30. Any game they play in this bowl season could end up being a wild one.

Whether he has to take on Wake Forest in the Gator Bowl or someone else in another game, Bryan Harsin will want to cap his first season in charge with a bowl victory. He won the Fiesta Bowl in his first season leading Boise State and had a 3-2 record in bowl games with the Broncos.

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Blackhawks Outlast Red Wings 8-5

Dylan Strome scored three goals and the Chicago Blackhawks had their highest-scoring game of the season in an 8-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.

COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 11: Dylan Strome #17 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on January 11, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. Chicago defeated Columbus 4-2. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

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Alex DeBrincat added two third-period goals for the Blackhawks, who led 4-0 in the first period but twice allowed Detroit to get within one goal. DeBrincat’s empty-netter with 1:43 remaining finally put the game away as Chicago ended a four-game winless drought.

Dominik Kubalik, Sam Lafferty and Brandon Hagel also scored for Chicago.

“It was a great night,” Blackhawks interim coach Derek King said. “But most games we’re not going to be up eight goals on a Colorado or a Minnesota. It would be nice, but we need to clean it up a bit when we do have a lead.”

Robby Fabbri, Tyler Bertuzzi, Pius Suter, Moritz Seiter and Dylan Larkin scored for Detroit. Larkin banked in a shot off a goalpost to cut Chicago’s lead to 6-5 with 4:35 left in the game.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 01: Robby Fabbri #14 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Seattle Kraken at Little Caesars Arena on December 01, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“We got it to 4-3, but you can’t spot teams four, first of all,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We made terrible decisions with the puck and we’re not winning that way here. Ultimately, we gave them a whole bunch of chances.”

Chicago is one of seven NHL teams to score eight times in a game this season. The Florida Panthers have the most goals in a game this season with nine, doing it twice.

Strome scored twice in the first period and completed the hat trick in the third with his second power-play goal of the game, putting the Blackhawks ahead 5-3. He had four goals this season coming into the game.

King recently put Strome on Chicago’s first line with Hagel and Patrick Kane.

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“Hages and Kaner have helped him a lot,” King said. “He feels confident when he’s out there, and hopefully he can build on that.”

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 14: Tyler Bertuzzi #59 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena on October 14, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Fabbri, Bertuzzi and Suter scored in the second period to get the Red Wings within one. DeBrincat’s first goal put Chicago ahead 6-3 in the third, but Seider scored on the power play before Larkin added his 20th of the season. Hagel restored the Blackhawks’ two-goal advantage with his 11th.

“I thought we had too many guys who weren’t even close to their ‘A’ games,” Blashill said. “When you do that, you’re going to have tough nights.”

Chicago outshot Detroit 38-33.

NOTES: Lafferty’s goal was his first of the season. … Detroit goalie Alex Nedeljkovic allowed four goals in the first period. He was replaced by Calvin Pickard to start the second.

UP NEXT

Chicago: Hosts Colorado on Friday.

Detroit: At Pittsburgh on Friday.

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