Is this our third post on Kentucky’s bowl projections in the last three days? Yes, but the new College Football Playoff rankings could change everything, specifically Alabama being out of the top ten.
Right now, both LSU (No. 2) and Georgia (No. 4) are in the top four of the rankings, but that will change if the Bulldogs lose to the Tigers in the SEC Championship on Saturday. If that happens, LSU will remain in the top four while Georgia would drop to the New Year’s Six Bowls with Florida (No. 9). Auburn is now No. 11 and Alabama is No. 12, and if both are out of the top ten in the final rankings on Sunday, Kentucky will get kicked down the ladder.
In that scenario, the Crimson Tide would likely end up in the Citrus Bowl, which has the first choice of the SEC teams left, pushing Auburn into the “Pool of Six” (the Outback, Gator, Liberty, Belk, Music City and Texas bowls). There is no official pecking order in the Pool of Six, but Kentucky (7-5, 3-5 in SEC) would be competing with Auburn (9-3, 5-3), Tennessee (7-5, 5-3), Texas A&M (7-5, 4-4), and Mississippi State (6-6, 3-5). Going into last night, it seemed Gator Bowl reps were smitten with the Cats, but will they be able to pass on Auburn or Tennessee?
Here’s a handy chart to make it all a little simpler:
Here are updated bowl projections following the CFP rankings reveal:
|Media Outlet||Bowl||Location||Date, Time||Opponent|
|USA Today||Liberty Bowl||Memphis||Dec. 31, 3:45 p.m.||Kansas State|
|WatchStadium (Brett McMurphy)||Belk Bowl||Charlotte||Dec. 31, Noon||Virginia Tech|
|CBS Sports||Gator Bowl||Jacksonville||Jan. 2, 7 p.m.||Michigan|
|ESPN (Kyle Bonagura)||Belk Bowl||Charlotte||Dec. 31, Noon||Pittsburgh|
|ESPN (Mark Schlabach)||Gator Bowl||Jacksonville||Jan. 2, 7 p.m.||Wisconsin|
|247Sports||Liberty Bowl||Memphis||Dec. 31, 3:45 p.m.||Texas|
|The Athletic (Stewart Mandel)||Belk Bowl||Charlotte||Dec. 31, Noon||Virginia Tech|
As Matt tweeted this morning, Kentucky’s chances of making the Gator Bowl would improve considerably if Auburn moves into the top ten, which could happen if Baylor or Wisconsin lose big this weekend. The Music City Bowl is still a possibility, but Kentucky was just there in 2017, so Tennessee may be a more attractive draw. Also, Louisville is widely expected to be in the Music City Bowl, and reps will want to avoid a rematch.
So, the Gator, Belk, Music City, or possibly even Liberty Bowl. Thankfully, we’ll know for sure on Sunday.