Shoutout to these fine chaps who made the trek to Columbia on Saturday to cheer the Cats on to their fifth win of the season. After watching Kentucky come one step closer to bowl eligibility, I bet they’d like a rundown of bowl scenarios, don’t you? (Before you tell me to pump the brakes, yes, we are assuming Kentucky will take care of an Austin Peay team that’s now 0-8 this season. I’m as cautious as the next Kentucky football fan, but barring a complete meltdown, I think it’s safe to pencil that game in as a W.)
If Kentucky does go bowling for the first time since 2010, where will they end up? Let’s examine the SEC’s Bowl Selection Process. The College Football Playoff committee will announce their rankings tonight and #1 Alabama is all but guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, which means the next best team in the SEC goes to the…
Allstate Sugar Bowl vs. Big 12 (New Orleans, January 2, 8:30 p.m.)
Right now, the best guess for this slot is Texas A&M, the next highest ranked team in the league.
Capital One Orange Bowl vs. ACC (Miami, December 30, 8 p.m.)
The SEC also has the option to send a team to the Orange Bowl after filling their Sugar Bowl slot, although their slot can also be filled by teams from the Big 10 or Big 12.
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl vs. Big Ten or ACC (Orlando, December 31, 11 a.m.)
Whoever plays Alabama in the SEC Championship will likely take the spot in the Citrus Bowl. While we’re all dreaming that could be Kentucky, for this exercise’s sake, let’s say it’s Florida.
Pool of 6: Outback, TaxSlayer, Music City, Liberty, Belk, and Texas Bowls
From here, the SEC will assign teams these bowls in a pool of six, which supposedly have no order of importance:
- AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl vs. Big 12 (Houston, December 28, 9 p.m.)
- AutoZone Liberty Bowl vs. Big 12 (Memphis, December 30, Noon)
- Belk Bowl vs. ACC (Charlotte, December 29, 5:30 p.m.)
- Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl vs. ACC or Big Ten (Nashville, December 30, 3:30 p.m.)
- Outback Bowl vs. Big Ten (Tampa, January 2, 1 p.m.)
- TaxSlayer Bowl vs. ACC or Big Ten (Jacksonville, December 31, 11 a.m.)
Right now, it appears LSU, Tennessee, Auburn, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and maybe South Carolina will go bowling, so the SEC will have that group to choose from in the pool of six. For Kentucky’s purposes, it’s important to note that the basketball team has a game at Ole Miss on December 29 at 8 p.m., which the league will probably take into consideration, and probably eliminates the Belk Bowl as a possibility. It’s also important to note that Kentucky’s fanbase will likely play a factor. If the Cats go bowling, the SEC and the bowls knows its fans will follow (especially if that destination is Nashville).
Second Tier: Birmingham or Independence Bowls
If Kentucky still doesn’t have a bowl, there are two more options left:
- Birmingham Bowl vs. American Athletic (Birmingham, December 29, 2 p.m.)
- Camping World Independence Bowl vs. ACC (Shreveport, December 26, 5 p.m.)
The Birmingham Bowl gets the first pick.
With four games left on the schedule, here’s our guesses as to what will happen:
- Win one (Austin Peay): One of the pool of six, probably Liberty
- Win two: Music City Bowl or TaxSlayer Bowl
- Win three: Outback Bowl or Citrus Bowl
- Win four: Orange Bowl or Citrus Bowl and then just shut the whole thing down because winning out and beating Louisville would the best thing that could ever happen to this program.