Kentucky Football: Week 11 bowl talk Wildcats vs Big 10 but who and where

Kentucky kicker Matt Ruffolo (Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky kicker Matt Ruffolo (Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports) /

It’s time for Bowl Talk Week 11 edition and the future site and opponent remain unclear, other than a majority of site believe it will be Kentucky football facing a Big Ten team.

While this is nothing new with the bowl tie-ins between the Southeastern Conference and the Big 10 have there is some unfinished work in both conferences before all the pieces and opponents can be sorted out.

Kentucky has completed its 2021 SEC schedule and took care of business last Saturday going to the Music City and knocking off Vanderbilt despite not covering the spread.

However, the most important thing it did was solidify that the Wildcats will finish solely in second place in the SEC East. Where they finish overall in the conference pecking order will need another two weeks to play out as teams still have SEC contests to play mostly in the final weekend.

Kentucky football must win out, and wait for SEC and Big 10 to sort things out

Those results still have bearing on where our Cats end up. Will it be sunny Florida or back to chilly North Carolina, those are just two of the more probably sites given the current but changing scenario.

It all hinges too on Kentucky football doing what it has to and winning their final two games against New Mexico State and Louisville. This week is nearly a shoo-in win, but the game with the Cardinals next week in Louisville looks to be more daunting than earlier this season when the Cards were completely discombobulated.

New Mexico State will limp into the Commonwealth with just one win this season over South Carolina State and a winning overall record just twice in this century 2002 they went 7-5 and in 2017 they were 7-6 and won the Arizona Bowl.

They will come to Lexington off a 59-3 spanking by Alabama this past Saturday.

I think the recent blowout results in the Louisville rivalry game come to an end this season. The Cards (5-5) are on the uptick after beating Syracuse 41-3 and play Duke on Thursday to finish out their ACC slate. This gives Scott Satterfield two extra days to get ready for UK next Saturday either fresh off becoming bowl eligible or needing to beat the Cats to become so.

We’ll start with the bowls most don’t agree on.

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

Friday, December 31
ESPN, 11:00 am
TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Bowl Tie-Ins: ACC vs. SEC
Bowl Projection:

The ESPN duo of Mark Schlabach and Kyle Bonagura never quite seem to agree on the Cats so this week Bonagura has them facing NC State (7-3). The Wolfpack have won 6 of their past 8 games with the two losses coming by a combined 10 points to Miami and Wake Forest. They host Syracuse and then North Carolina.

Vrbo Citrus Bowl

Saturday, January 1
ABC, 1:00 pm
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Bowl Tie-Ins: Big Ten vs. SEC
Bowl Projection:

Over at 247Sports they Kentuck and Michigan State are projected to play in Orlando. The 9-1 Spartans tee it up with Ohio State this weekend so the winner will shake things up for the Big 10 teams. MSU’s only loss was to Purdue this season.

Duke’s Mayo Bowl

Thursday, December 30
ESPN, 11:30 am
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Bowl Tie-Ins: ACC vs. SEC
Bowl Projection:

College Football News has the Wildcats back in Charlotte where they were two seasons ago in what was formally called the Belk Bowl and has them playing North Carolina (5-5) if the Tar Heels can become bowl eligible. They should be after hosting Wofford. They then travel to NC State the final week the problem is NC hasn’t won on the road this year in four tries.

Outback Bowl

Saturday, January 1
ESPN2, 12:00 pm
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Bowl Tie-Ins: Big Ten vs. SEC
Bowl Projection:

CBS Sports Jerry Palm keeps his prediction from last week with the Wildcats against Wisconsin. who just became bowl eligible by beating Nebraska on Saturday. The Badgers lost 3 of their first four games, but have now won 6 straight.  The only other time they have met was in 194 when Jerry Claibourne’s team won 20-19 in the Hall of Fame Classic bowl game.

 Athlon also is also seconding this selection between the Wildcats and Badgers.

The Athletic has the Kentucky and Penn State doing battle. These two teams have been on lists all year to play each other. The Nittany Lions (6-4) have lost 4 of their past 5 games and play Rutgers this week.

The ESPN duo of Mark Schlabach and Kyle Bonagura never quite seem to agree on the Cats so this week Schlabach has them here facing No. 20 Iowa (8-2). The Hawkeyes opened the season with six wins, lost two, but have won the past two.

So what do I think and want Kentucky football to end up?

When we started discussing bowls I was had Kentucky picked to the Citrus Bowl, but I think for the moment that ship has sailed.

I still like Kentucky in the Outback Bowl and still like the matchup with Iowa who continues on an upward trend. Penn State has struggled of late as has Kentucky but I’d like to take on a team on a win steak. This is where the Wisconsin matchup is also intriguing along with Iowa.

Next. UK vs NMSU Saturday Senior Day. dark