Kentucky Football: Where to spend your Big Blue New Year early bowl talk

Chris Rodriguez Jr (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Chris Rodriguez Jr (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

How would Big Blue Nation like to ring in 2022? Why watching and cheering on Kentucky football on New Year’s Day of course.

In most years the weekly discussions surrounding Kentucky football would be could they win six games just to become bowl eligible. Fast forward to 2021 and the Wildcats are off to an undefeated start through five games, and only need one more to become bowl eligible.

Instead of any bowl game Mark Stoops team, BBN, and I are clamoring for the chance to play in a New Year’s Six. What an achievement that would be and whatever city they head to would be covered in a sea of blue.

Kentucky football looking more and more like a New Year’s Day bowl team

I’ve waited till after week 5 to seriously start looking at bowl projections because teams across the college football landscape have played the patsies on their schedule and are entrenched in their respective conference schedules giving us a clearer picture of just what they are really made of.

Based on this week’s projections the Big Blue could easily be ringing in the New Year playing football.

Yahoo Sports has the Cats playing in New Orleans Atlanta in the Sugar Bowl against Texas. Nothing better than painting Bourbon Street a sea of blue and then the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the Saturday nightcap. Oh, what a party and hangover in the Big Easy.

Checking out Jerry Palm at CBS Sports he has the Cats playing on New Year’s Day as well but down in Orlando in the Citrus Bowl against Michigan State. Officials from the Citrus were on hand to watch UK knock off Florida on Saturday.

He has Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, but the teams could easily swap destinations.

Athlon Sports,  and Saturday Down South’s Jim Tomlin, also has the Big Blue in Orlando but battling the other school from the Great Lakes State in Michigan as does ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. 

Then there are the intriguing thoughts of ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura who also has Kentucky in the Sugar Bowl squaring off against Oklahoma. This would be something to see Mark Stoops vs Lincoln Riley.

He is intrigued though and noted that winning on out could put UK into the College Football Playoff talk.

"“At this point, any unbeaten Power 5 team deserves to be in the conversation for the other two [CFP] spots, and that list includes Wake Forest, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa and Kentucky. They’re all 5-0, and then there’s 4-0 Cincinnati, which is trying to become the first Group of 5 team to crash the party. At this point, pulling names from a hat can be just as effective as trying to use logic to decipher which two are the best. It’ll get a bit easier next week after Iowa and Penn State play each other, but for now, we’ll stick with the Nittany Lions from the Big Ten. And after its impressive win at No. 9 Notre Dame, Cincinnati gets the No. 4 slot.”"

Kentucky fans will hate the 24/7 projection of the dreaded bowl we are sick of going to the Music City Bowl against Minnesota on December 30. Nothing sexy about this bowl or opponent and would clearly be a letdown with all this team has accomplished.

We still have to take it one game at a time as Stoops says but it’s always fun to look ahead especially when we only need one more win to play in the postseason.

Vanderbilt, New Mexico State, and Louisville are all games Kentucky should be favored in. The rivalry game against Tennessee one never knows.

It said it before the ceiling was 10 wins and the basement is 8. The Georgia game would still be a long, long shot but going to Athens 6-0 would be fun. Mississippi State is the worrisome game but Stoops will have the bye week after Georgia to regroup his team before heading to Starkville.

For now, I’ll predict Kentucky will play in the Citrus Bowl against Michigan but how we come out of the LSU game both on the scoreboard and performance will give me a better indication of what this team is capable of. A hangover loss or undefeated stepping stone victory at the halfway point.

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