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Kentucky to face Iowa in Music City Bowl; Cats open as early favorite

A Citrus Bowl rematch.

Jordan Wright Noah Goldberg - SB Nation


With lots of uncertainty as to who will play and who will sit out of this game, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Kentucky Wildcats as early three-point favorites over the Iowa Hawkeyes.

We do know that Iowa will be without their starting QB, and there’s a decent chance that Will Levis also opts out of this bowl.

The time has come, as we finally know the destination for this year's Kentucky Wildcats bowl game.

After several trips to Florida over the last few bowl games, the Cats will be heading to Nashville for the Music City Bowl, where they’ll take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in a rematch of last year’s Citrus Bowl.

Game time is set for 12 pm ET on December 31st and will be broadcast on ABC.

All things considered, this matchup came as a shock.

Yes, this is a Big Ten vs. SEC bowl, but there seemed to be no shot of this matchup happening for several reasons.

First, these two teams faced off in a bowl last season, and there’s a strong emphasis by the decision-makers to avoid rematches.

Second, Kentucky Basketball plays Louisville at the same time the Music City Bowl kicks off. Kentucky really wanted to avoid that. Both of these reasons are why virtually no one was projecting this matchup leading up to today.

Still, this is a quality bowl game to play in, and Kentucky will still likely have a strong presence in Nashville, which is about a three-hour drive from Lexington.

Kentucky and Iowa enter this game at 7-5 each. The Hawkeyes missed out on another Big Ten West division title by just one game, despite having one of college football’s worst offenses, something Kentucky can relate to.

The Hawkeyes’ signature win this season was actually a 24-3 win over the very Purdue team that did win the division.

This season definitely falls on the more disappointing side of the spectrum for the Big Blue Nation, as expectations were at an all-time high heading into the first week against Miami (OH). They continued to soar after rolling into Oxford as the No. 7 team in the country, but after a pre-snap penalty cost the Cats a touchdown the snowball effect began as it rolled all the way down to the 7-5 record they hold today.

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Despite that, Kentucky was still able to muster up some hope as they beat the Louisville Cardinals for the fourth-straight season in the final game. The phrase for football fanbases is, ‘remember November,’ when it comes to how the team played. Add that in to another solid outing against Georgia (despite the offense) and Mark Stoops and his staff have the momentum seemingly headed in the right direction.

That leads us to the bowl game.

With decisions still looming for who will play in the game, this is going to be a good opportunity for the staff and fans to see what this program will be working with for the next few years to come.

How about another plus. With the younger guys going to get most of the reps, this is another opportunity to flash the young star talent at the skill positions, especially during this offensive coordinator search.

It's going to be a fun one in Nashville.

Can't wait to see all of the BBN there!