Finally, Kentucky gets to play a non-conference opponent.
On Saturday the Wildcats face off against an NC State team that went 8-3 and finished ranked #23. The Wildcats, as you know, are looking for their third-straight bowl victory and a whole lot more.
Here’s everything that’s at stake against the Wolfpack in the Gator Bowl:
If Kentucky Wildcats Win:
- They’ll be 49-50 under Mark Stoops.
- Their all-time record will be 628-632-44, only four games shy of 50-50.
- They’ll improve to 2-1 against the Wolfpack—a team they haven’t played since defeating them in 1970 in Lexington by a score of 27-2.
- They’ll be 23-14 since the start of the historic 2018 season.
- They’ll be able to end the season on a high note, and have their third consecutive bowl victory, which would also be just the second time in school history that Kentucky won three-straight bowls.
- They will win their first Gator Bowl after losing their first one four years ago to Georgia Tech.
- Terry Wilson will win his second bowl game as Kentucky’s starting QB and end his college career on a winning note.
- Mark Stoops will have a winning postseason record with three bowl wins vs. two losses.
If NC State Wolfpack wins:
- Kentucky will finish 4-7. Yuck.
- Kentucky will end the season with a loss. Yuck.
- Kentucky, while they’ll still be able to look back on the huge Tennessee win, will still look on this year as a lost season.
- Mark Stoops will fall to 2-3 in bowl games.
Gains from winning: a trophy (that they hopefully won’t break like Wisconsin), and a lot of momentum for next year.
Consequences from losing: a 4-7 record that’s a far cry from years past, even if 10 games were against SEC competition and four against top-10 teams.
4-7 would be ugly, but if a road victory over Tennessee was one of the wins then you can’t complain too much. Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt were also good wins that can give them confidence for when they play them on the road next year.
If they win, though, they’ll have a lotta momentum for next year—a year when every opponent but Georgia will be beatable. Stay healthy, win close games, and that’s a 9-3 season with an AP ranking and at least the Outback Bowl. This team can’t be kept down long.