Updated: Nov 30, 2022
For the seventh consecutive season, Kentucky is going bowling. Mark Stoops and his staff continue to break program records year in and year out. Despite what will be considered a disappointing season, the consistency that Coach Stoops has brought to the program deserves high praise. With conference championship week on the horizon, there is plenty to be determined in the College Football Playoff race. One thing that we can begin to look at, without the results of this weekend, is where Kentucky will be situated among potential bowl contenders in the SEC.
Teams Ahead Of Kentucky:
Georgia - This one requires no explanation. The Dawgs are essentially a lock for the College Football Playoff.
Tennessee - After a disappointing November and the loss of Hendon Hooker, the Vols are out of the playoff race. With that said, Rocky Top is likely on its way to a New Year's Six bowl and their 10-2 record and head-to-head victory over Kentucky puts them over the Cats.
Alabama - For Alabama standards, a 10-2 record and a New Year's Six bowl will be looked at as a disappointment. Despite that, the Crimson Tide will be at the top of every bowl's list.
LSU - At this point last week, we were talking about the Tigers' chances at making the playoff. Now, LSU may be out of a New Year's Six bowl berth. The SEC west champions are ahead of schedule in the Brian Kelly era and there will be a lot of bowls wanting to host them.
Ole Miss - Atlanta was on the Rebels' mind not too long ago. A beat down in Death Valley was the beginning of the end for those aspirations as Lane Kiffin and company would lose four of its last five games on the season. With that, Ole Miss still holds a better record and a head-to-head victory over Kentucky, which will likely be enough to make them a more attractive draw.
South Carolina - Beamer ball is the talk of the college football world following the Gamecocks' 31-30 victory over Clemson. With the media all over the Gamecocks, bowls will be flocking to invite South Carolina to their venue. It also helps that they own a better record and a head-to-head win over the Cats.
Mississippi State - Kentucky owns the head-to-head victory over the Bulldogs, but the better record and the draw of Mike Leach and the Air Raid offense will likely be enough to make Mississippi State a priority over Kentucky.
Teams Behind Kentucky:
Florida - The Gators are going bowling in Billy Napier's first year as the head man. The week one upset over Utah had talking heads thinking the rebuild was ahead of schedule. When Kentucky handled Florida in week two, the expectations were brought back down the Earth. With a 6-6 record and a disappointing finish including losses over Vanderbilt and Florida State, Florida is looking at a lower tier bowl game in 2022.
Arkansas - Hopes were high in Fayetteville entering this season. The season began to unravel following a devasting 23-21 loss at the hands of Texas A&M. That along with the injury bug landing in the Razorbacks lockeroom was a recipe for disappointment. The Hogs' 6-6 record is likely going to have them play in mid-December.
Missouri - Who wants to watch Missouri football?
What does all of this mean? It means that we are likely heading back to Nashville for the Music City Bowl. There is the issue of the game lining up with Kentucky's basketball game against winless Louisville. Will Mitch Barnhart and Kentucky shy away from that? If they do, then Memphis, Tennessee becomes the most likely location for Big Blue Nation.