The regular season is finished for Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats, and the UK football team will now wait a week before they find out their final opponent for the 2017 campaign.
Kentucky (7-5, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) is expected to end up in one of the SEC’s “Pool of Six” bowls, though some in that bowl group appear to be much more likely landing spots than others.
The Outback Bowl — perceived to be the top game in the “Pool of Six” — is almost certainly out of UK’s grasp after Saturday’s 44-17 thumping at the hands of Louisville (and a 42-13 shellacking by Georgia the week before that).
The TaxSlayer Bowl, which UK played in last season, is also likely out. The league, bowls and schools try not to send teams to the same conference-affiliated bowls in consecutive seasons.
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The Texas Bowl in Houston has ended up with a team from the SEC West in all three seasons it’s been affiliated with the league, and there’s been zero buzz in recent weeks that the Wildcats will break that streak.
The two most likely landing spots still appear to be the Music City Bowl in Nashville and the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, with the Belk Bowl in Charlotte also a possibility.
The Belk Bowl is scheduled to be played Dec. 29 with a 1 p.m. kickoff, the same exact time that Kentucky and Louisville will tip off on the basketball court at Rupp Arena. That makes that bowl a less attractive landing spot for UK than it would be under other circumstances.
The Music City Bowl kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 29, a slot that would give UK fans of both sports a full day of TV watching (and allow those attending the bowl game to watch the basketball game before heading to the stadium).
The Liberty Bowl is set for 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 30.
All bowl assignments will be announced Dec. 3. Until then, here are the latest projections from national college football websites, following Saturday’s result against Louisville:
ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura: vs. Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl
ESPN’s David Hale: vs. Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl
Sports Illustrated: vs. Florida State in the Belk Bowl
CBS Sports: vs. Purdue in the Music City Bowl
SB Nation: vs. Michigan in the Music City Bowl
NBC Sports: vs. Purdue in the Music City Bowl
College Football News: vs. Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl