November 16th 2010
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For the Big Blue Nation, a win over Tennessee a week from Saturday would be better than anything Kentucky would do in the postseason. And if the Wildcats finally get that job done, they might, emphasize "might," still attain that goal of getting into a bowl game south of Tennessee's southern border.
UK fans need to root hard for Arkansas to beat Mississippi State but lose to LSU and for Florda to win out. And it wouldn't hurt if Ole Miss upset Miss State, too. If that happens, then there are six teams (Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas and Florida) that figure to occupy two BCS bowl slots plus the Capital One, Outback, Cotton and Chick-fil-a. If the Gators finish 8-4, I think the Chick-fil-a Bowl would take them over Miss State.
In that scenario, the Music Bowl folks--knowing Kentucky's players and fans would not welcome a fourth trip to Nashville in five years--might well prefer Mississippi State or Georgia. And with Kentucky coming off a win over Tennessee, the Gator Bowl reps might look favorably on inviting the Wildcats to play there, guessing that Big Blue fans would flock to Jacksonville for a New Year's Day bowl game when that situation seemed so unlikely to them. The key is getting Florida picked ahead of Mississippi State. If that doesn't happen, the Gators might end up in the Gator Bowl themselves. The Gator Bowl picks after the Chick-fil-a and before the Music City/Liberty.
We're focusing a lot on what Jerry Claiborne called "the ol' iffin game" but there is some hope for this team still to get the kind of bowl game it wants. It's kinda like the situation back in 1976. A promising season had gone flat at 4-4 but the Wildcats finished with three straight wins, the last one being a 7-0 victory over a subpar Tennessee team in Knoxville. That's fondly remembered by the Kentucky fan base but if you do some research, you'll find that there were plenty of grumbling about that team when they lost at Maryland to fall to 4-4.
That team took care of business in Knoxville. That's the challenge that now faces the current Cats.
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