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Mitch Barnhart Explains How Kentucky Landed in the Belk Bowl

“We’re ready to play and ready to go to Charlotte.”

Mitch Barnhart’s words Sunday evening weren’t what many expected to hear around 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Brett McMurphy reported Kentucky was bound for the Gator Bowl. A few late changes put Kentucky in the Belk Bowl.

“At the end of the day, we’ll always be appreciative of where we go,” Barnhart said. “We knew that there were two or three options available, basically two options that were available to us, dependent on how many teams got up in the (New Year’s Six) bowl situation. We knew that in terms of order of choices and how people pick bowls that there was about two places that we were going to get to go. There’s also a non-repeat rule in our league. They try and keep people from repeating within a two-year period of time going back to those bowls unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

The non-repeat rule essentially eliminated Kentucky from Music City Bowl contention. The Gator Bowl and the Belk Bowl would come down to Kentucky and Tennessee. Reading between the lines, Phillip Fulmer played the trump card to the league office. That’s not exactly how Barnhart described the situation.

“There’s a geographical piece in where you fit, where fans go and those kind of things. I knew that we’d get a phone call mid-afternoon after the rankings came out and they’d say, this is where it sort of landed and we would probably not have a lot of room in that, and that’s okay. We haven’t been to Charlotte. We’re excited about that. New experiences are good.

“The Gator Bowl was much talked about and there was that conversation. And then you get into opponents and things like that that happen and then you talk about the Belk Bowl. This is a bowl that has been good to our league. It has been supportive of the SEC… It’s a really good matchup for us against a really good opponent. I’m excited for our players to get something new and I’m excited that our fans can get there fairly easy. It’s a six-hour trip from Lexington.”

As the situation unfolded, Logan Stenberg never got too invested in a return trip to Florida, what could have been UK’s third in four years.

“It didn’t matter to me honestly. I mean, Florida would be cool just because it would be warmer. Other than that, it didn’t make a difference,” he said.

All that matters for the seniors is that they finish their careers with a win.

“That’s your last time playing, our last time playing with our team,” said Calvin Taylor Jr. “It’s always good to go out on a high note with a victory and give our fans, everybody that traveled and supported us, to cap off a season with a nice eight-win season.”

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

16 Comments for Mitch Barnhart Explains How Kentucky Landed in the Belk Bowl



  1. UKLugo
    9:05 pm December 8, 2019 Permalink

    Did Tennessee beat us? Okay.



  2. makeitstop
    9:17 pm December 8, 2019 Permalink

    Phil Fulmer cost lot of people money, including all the Bowls bc the other leagues don’t engage in jackassery like UT. But he cost HIMSELF $2m which makes him even dumber.



  3. Memphis UK Cat
    9:20 pm December 8, 2019 Permalink

    I truly hate anything North Carolina and prison orange. This sucks going to this bowl. All because we lost to prison orange. This year was a waste with this bowl. Won’t get money on this one.



  4. dan1965
    9:46 pm December 8, 2019 Permalink

    I’m originally from Harlan,but I have had to live in Tennessee since 1991, man do I get some sick of Tn orange !
    But we had them beat,we blew it, so here’s the consequences I’m afraid. H
    Honestly have to admit I think what could have been,we also had Florida,and probably should have beaten Georgia. But it what it is,and I’m happy in the long run were going to another bowl,so no complaints,let’s win it is all I care now !



  5. tmcclan16
    10:05 pm December 8, 2019 Permalink

    Bullcrap! I bought tickets for the gator bowl as soon as it was announced. Who the hell wants to go to shithole north carolina for the crappy Belk Bowl? SEC you owe me some money on second thought I going to rake some poor idiot in orange over the coals for these tickets. Shit bowl game



  6. WKY Cat
    10:18 pm December 8, 2019 Permalink

    Mitch is trying to sell this the best he can. But at the end of the day it’s a $hit sandwich.



  7. BowdenQB4ever
    10:19 pm December 8, 2019 Permalink

    Imagine what could have been if stoops didn’t get wildly out coached against the Vols smh



  8. CJKAssassin123
    10:41 pm December 8, 2019 Permalink

    ESPN did pick us to beat VT 29-25 for what it’s worth. We would have destroyed IU though. In the end we will get a bigger payout because of Phill Fulmer’s stupidity and a bigger extra payout that isn’t reported I’m taking about merchandise and advertising we arn’t in a bowl game that’s at risk at going bankrupt. Because of Fulmer’s stupidity instead of playing a really bad defense in Loservile they play a top 50 defense in Indiana. They wanted to play in Tennessee to insure that the entire stadium is orange which will be the case for the most part. Crimson will get in though.



  9. JASUN74
    12:30 am December 9, 2019 Permalink

    To you all that’s complaining, get the hell over it!! The Belk Bowl is going to be awesome this year because it’s Kentucky Vs Virginia Tech, not because or your complaining asses. Stay home, sleep in, do whatever you want because no one is making you go or making you watch. Not that you all would go anyway!!

    The Kentucky Wildcats just made their Fourth Bowl game in a row. That’s what’s important and that’s what matters for the future of this program!! You know the extra three weeks of practice and the extra reps for the Redshirt guys!! This is great news and it doesn’t matter where the heck the game is, all that matters is we support our team and show appreciation to the Coaches and players that busted their butts this year to even make a Bowl Game.

    I hope you guys remember all that this group has had to deal with this year, all the injuries from our most important positions on the field, and yet we still set records and won 7 games. What happened this year has been nothing less than amazing, so leave your Tennessee jealousy at the door and get some damn tickets to watch our cats play another game of Football this year.

    Also, just a few days until we welcome the greatest recruiting class we’ve ever had here, so get on board and quit acting like a little butthurt teenie bopper who boyfriend dumped them!! Lmao. My goodness



    • RVaCat
      7:31 am December 9, 2019 Permalink

      Couldn’t have said it better, Jason. Let’s go bowling.



    • Memphis UK Cat
      8:21 am December 9, 2019 Permalink

      I also was one of the dumb people that bought tickets right away. So yea I am hot and still mad over the Tennessee lost. Feels like getting screwed twice by prison orange.



    • 4everUKBlue
      9:38 am December 9, 2019 Permalink

      Jasun, I’m with you, but look at the who the complainers are and consider the source. Complaining is what they always do.



  10. Irish son
    6:02 am December 9, 2019 Permalink

    I live in Florida, and let me tell you, Jacksonville is NOT warm in the winter. Probably wont be 5 degrees difference in temperature btwn there and Charlotte



  11. John Henry
    7:57 am December 9, 2019 Permalink

    I am thankful we are going to a bowl game and I do not have anything against Charlotte. It certainly is not my choice of cities but they did invite us so I appreciate that. I certainly do not want to spend any money there so I will stay home. I am disappointed because Tennessee kicked our ass again. They know they own us and this is just another way of showing it. They go crying to the SEC about being placed in the Music City Bowl and kick us out of the Gator. Laughing at screwing Kentucky again. But when you can’t beat them on the field why should we expect to beat them off of the field. They matter to the SEC, UK does not. T

    The Gator Bowl is the best this year because of the time play. Prime time on national TV all to yourself. We recruit that area and our name in the Jacksonville papers and media would boost that. We get a horrible time slot in the Belk Department Store Bowl. I doubt few people other than UK fans or Hookie fans will bother to watch it. Now If we keep winning 8 or more games a year the anti-Kentucky attitude may change. I am ready for a change. Beat the Hookies.



    • 4everUKBlue
      9:33 am December 9, 2019 Permalink

      Tennessee won the game but in no way did they kick our ass!



  12. makeitstop
    10:07 am December 9, 2019 Permalink

    They talked us out of the Gator Bowl, they beat us out of the Outback. Even at 8-4 I think they’d hv taken us over Auburn bc they hv wanted us for years. We just hv to whip their ass next year and the rest will take care of itself.