This is the official A Sea of Blue open game thread for the 2009 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl featuring the Kentucky Wildcats versus the Clemson Tigers. Clemson will be the home team for this game. Game details as follows:
Media Guides Kentucky Notes/Media Guide -- Clemson Notes/Media Guide
Date & Time Sunday, Dec. 27 8:30 p.m ET / 7:30 p.m. CT
Coverage TV: ESPN Radio: BBSN
Online Video via ESPN360 Sirius XM Sports Nation-SIRIUS channel 122 / XM channel 143 (Nevada Sports Net feed) Location LP Field Nashville, Tenn.
In a matchup of two felines, the Wildcats and the Tigers get it on for the last game of the 2009 season for these two teams. A win for UK will make it four straight bowl victories for the Wildcats, a remarkable accomplishment in and of itself.
More after the jump.
Kentucky comes into this game as underdogs at +6.5 points, which makes sense considering Clemson is certainly the superior team on paper, which you can see by checking out my earlier statistical review.
But the Wildcats have a good chance to pull the upset versus the Tigers. A lot depends upon how well UK can manage the quarterback position, how sound the secondary is, and how well Kentucky can control C.J. Spiller. Like Derrick Locke, it is pretty much impossible to stop Spiller, you just have to try to manage him and not let him kill you.
I feel sure that UK can move the ball on the ground today, especially since John Connor will be back in the backfield blocking for Locke and Cobb. What I am less sure of is whether or not Kentucky can throw the football enough to keep the Tigers from stacking the box against the run. If the 'Cats can just keep the Tigers honest, moving the ball should be possible.
With Sam Maxwell out (and even if he was healthy), we do have to be very concerned about Spiller. Spiller is very similar to Locke, with blazing speed and the kind of vision that makes it easy for him to find holes and get into the secondary. Spiller is also a major threat on kickoff returns, and for perhaps only the second time this year, UK is facing an equal in the return game.
This should be a close, hard-fought game. It's always a privilege to play a true football school like Clemson in bowl games, and I wish both teams an injury free and well-played contest. For the Clemson Tigers view of this game, be sure to check out SB Nation's outstanding Clemson blog, Shakin the Southland.