University of Kentucky football players celebrated with abandon after the team became eligible last month to play in a bowl game for the first time in six years.
That excitement derived mostly from the knowledge the team had reached one of its goals and the program had taken a positive step forward.
After upsetting Louisville to complete a 7-5 regular season, the Wildcats were assigned to take on Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl on New Year’s Eve — a Florida homecoming for several UK players and a chance to play in some warm winter sunshine for everyone else.
This week, the Cats are starting to find out what else they’ve won.
Every player on both teams will receive a bobblehead with his face, name and uniform number. The TaxSlayer Bowl gift package for each player also includes a Fossil watch, a carry-on bag, Under Armour sunglasses and a football.
Kentucky also learned some of its itinerary for bowl week on Wednesday.
The Wildcats will enjoy a welcome dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at their team hotel which will include a “grand seafood buffet.”
On Wednesday, Dec. 28, UK’s players will tour ships and helicopters and interact with sailors at the Mayport Naval Station. Activities on Thursday, Dec. 29, include a trip to Top Golf, a golf and entertainment venue in Jacksonville.
The day before the game, select players and cheerleaders will visit Wolfson Children’s Hospital to offer support to hospitalized children. Activities for fans that day include a 5K run, band performances, a UK pep rally (6 p.m. at Jacksonville Landing), a boat parade and fireworks.
Gifts for Louisville, WKU
At the same time Kentucky is taking on Georgia Tech, 11 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, Louisville will be playing LSU in the Citrus Bowl. The gift package Cardinals players will receive includes: a $305 Best Buy shopping trip; a Timely Watch Co. watch; an EA Sports video game; ISlide sandals; and a $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card.
Western Kentucky plays in the Boca Raton Bowl against Memphis on Dec. 20. Players in that game will be allowed to select items from a “gift suite.”