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Kentucky moved out of TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at last second

Kentucky was bound for the TaxSlayer Bowl...until they weren’t.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports


Due to some late shuffling, Kentucky was moved out of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl and into the Belk Bowl.

Tennessee and Louisville were set to play in the Music City Bowl, but apparently, some last-minute lobbying from the Vols got them the spot in Jacksonville, moving Kentucky to Charlotte for the Belk Bowl.

Oh well.

Another year, another regular season that has come and gone for the Kentucky Wildcats football team. Thankfully, head coach Mark Stoops and his 2019 team will be making the program’s fourth-consecutive bowl game appearance.

This year, Kentucky will represent the Southeastern Conference in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl on January 2nd in Jacksonville (FL), where they will take on the Indiana Hoosiers, according to Brett McMurphy.

This turned out to be one of the more intriguing opponents Kentucky could have faced, as they have a lot of history with the Hoosiers. Indiana is a long-time rival of Kentucky, though the two schools canceled their series in the mid-2000s and haven’t resumed it. They’re also heated rivals on the basketball court.

Indiana finished the regular season with an 8-4 record after going 5-7 in each of the previous two seasons. Their wins this season include Purdue, Rutgers, Ball State, Eastern Illinois, UConn, Maryland, Nebraska and Northwestern. None of those teams finished with a .500 record.

Head coach Tom Allen just agreed to a new seven-year, $27.3 million contract with the school after leading the Hoosiers to their first eight-win season since 1993. He was actually promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach in December 2016 after Kevin Wilson resigned amid allegations of player mistreatment.

After finishing the regular season with a 7-5 record, Kentucky’s resume consisted of wins over Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Arkansas, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Tennessee-Martin and Louisville. Kentucky did indeed finish fourth in the SEC East, but expectations of this season were significantly lowered when starting quarterback Terry Wilson’s 2019 campaign came to an early end followed by multiple injuries to backup Sawyer Smith.

Thankfully, Lynn Bowden moved from wide receiver to quarterback and saved the Wildcats’ season, as he ran for over 1,000 yards and went 5-2 as a starter.

The Gator Bowl dates all the way back to 1946, as it is not only the sixth-oldest bowl game, but it’s actually the first bowl game to be televised. Kentucky has actually made a recent trip to play in the TaxSlayer Bowl, which was back in 2016 when the team suffered a 33-18 loss at the hands of Georgia Tech.

This winter, Kentucky will prepare for a different outcome.