The regular season is over, and Kentucky’s postseason possibilities have narrowed. The official bowl matchups will be announced Sunday, but here’s where things stand.
New Year’s Six bowls
These have long been off the table for Kentucky.
The College Football Playoff committee is in charge of the New Year’s Six slate. And after those selections, the Citrus Bowl gets the first pick of available SEC teams.
There’s no chance the Cats end up in Orlando, Fla.
Pool of 6
This is the group of bowls Kentucky is certain to land in. After the Citrus Bowl makes its pick, there is a pool of six bowls for SEC teams to swim in. These bowls work in collaboration with the bowl-eligible schools and the conference to find the right fits. They’ll try to avoid repeat destinations and opponents in hopes of finding attractive matchups.
For example, the TaxSlayer Bowl is in the pool of six. Because Kentucky played Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl last season, that leaves five possible landing spots for the Cats.
- Outback Bowl (Tampa, Fla.) vs. Big Ten on Jan. 1
- Music City Bowl (Nashville, Tenn.) vs. Big Ten/ACC on Dec. 29
- Texas Bowl (Houston) vs. Big 12 on Dec. 27
- Belk Bowl (Charlotte, N.C.) vs. ACC on Dec. 29
- Liberty Bowl (Memphis, Tenn.) vs. Big 12 on Dec. 30
The Outback Bowl, Belk Bowl and Texas Bowl are unlikely. That leaves two legitimate possibilities for Kentucky: Music City Bowl or Liberty Bowl.
Music City Bowl
The trip from Lexington to Nashville is one Kentucky fans are used to. The Music City Bowl likely would attract more Kentucky fans than any other postseason destination could. That makes it a win for both Kentucky and the bowl. The game kicks off at 4:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 29. It’s the same day as the Kentucky-Louisville basketball game, but there would be time for Cats fans to watch both because the basketball game begins at 1 p.m. ET.
Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart seemed open to the idea of Kentucky playing a bowl game on the same day as the rivalry basketball game.
“There’s 24,000 seats in Rupp Arena, and we’ve got a lot more fans than that,” Barnhart said. “So, we’ll be fine.”
A Facebook video with TaxSlayer Bowl president Rick Catlett showed a board with several teams listed. And next to Kentucky’s name was the word “music.” Maybe Catlett and the rest of the Pool of Six bowls know something we don’t.
Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart told SEC Country that he and his staff were “keeping a close eye” on Kentucky. Ehrhart talked to Barnhart back in the spring about Kentucky potentially playing in the Liberty Bowl for the first time since 2008.
This bowl makes sense for a couple of reasons. It falls a day after the Kentucky-Louisville basketball game, and the distance to Memphis is drivable.
Kentucky bowl projections
- CBS Sports: Kentucky vs. Purdue in the Music City Bowl
- Sports Illustrated: Kentucky vs. Florida State in the Belk Bowl
- SB Nation: Kentucky vs. Michigan in the Music City Bowl
- ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura: Kentucky vs. Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl
- ESPN’s David M. Hale: Kentucky vs. Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl
The post Kentucky football bowl projections: Two destinations in play for Wildcats appeared first on SEC Country.
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