Updated: Dec 8, 2022
As announced on Sunday, Kentucky is headed to the TransPerfect Music City Bowl. This trip extends the school record streak of seven consecutive bowl appearances, all of which have come under Mark Stoops.
The Cats will be facing the Iowa Hawkeyes again, but this time in Nashville, Tennessee. The bowl game is slated for a Noon ET kickoff (11 a.m. ET time at the site of the game in Nashville) and will have a title sponsor in TransPerfect, a translation and language service company based out of New York City. The broadcast will be aired by ABC and the game will take place in Nissan Stadium.
“On behalf of our team and all of us at the University of Kentucky, we are excited to accept the invitation to the TransPerfect Music City Bowl,” said Kentucky HC Mark Stoops.
Although the collective feeling from the fanbase is that this bowl game is not much to get excited about, after expectations were let down from a 7-5 season, Kentucky has a rich history in this specific bowl game. They are the leaders of all other programs with a record-setting six appearances in the event. According the the press release sent out by the school, all five previous UK games have been decided by eight points or less, with Kentucky posting a 2-3 record in them. Knowing the little to non-existent offense between the two programs this season, this just might be a game that's within eight points, as it will likely be a desperate fight to get any points on the board from either side.
"We’re looking forward to what we hope will be a big New Year’s Eve for the Wildcats!” said UK Athletics Director, Mitch Barnhart, concluding the bowl announcement.
While fans aren't too excited about having a rematch with the same opponent from last year's bowl game, this selection also strings another concern for the fans. It is being played at the same time as the annual Kentucky-Lousiville men's basketball game. Fans are literally being forced to choose between watching their football team play in a bowl game, or watch their basketball team play against their biggest non-conference rival on a yearly basis.
Mark Stoops was asked to address the situation on Monday, in hopes for something to surface that helps everyone understand how this decision could even come about.
"I know it puts our fans in a pickle and I’m very sorry about that, there’s not a lot we can do about that. For ourselves and our team it’s an honor to play in this game. Again, I think some people may like it or not like it that we’re a repeat in playing the Iowa team but I know this, it will be one heck of a football game once again. A team that is not going anywhere. They’re always going to be there. They’re going to fight you tooth and nail. (Iowa Coach) Kirk Ferentz is steady as can be, the longest tenured coach in college football if I’m not mistaken. Very quality program, they have been for years, as you know that’s my alma mater. With that being said it is what it is. For us, it’s an honor to play in that game. Again, the fact that our fans are a little bit torn, it worked in ’17, I know the times were different (that year). This year, I expect Rupp to be packed for the Louisville game and I expect us to sell our allotment of tickets and have a quality group of people there as well. There’s enough Kentucky fans to be able to spread it around and support both programs like you always do. Thank you to the BBN and look forward to it once again."
He continued with more of an explanation by saying:
"A nice thing about this for us is the timing of it. Anything on the 31st or later is ideal, to play a game earlier than that is difficult sometimes with morale. As you know, with players this day and age, to ask them to get up Christmas morning and practice may be a little tough right now. This timing should work out well, give us time to recruit. We’ve been on the recruiting trail, we’re hitting the recruiting trail hard once again for the next two weeks. We will work in practices around that and prepare. Once again, our normal routine, it will give us time to practice and prepare, give the players a little bit of a Christmas break, let them go home and let them see their families on Christmas and then fly to the bowl site and pick up where we left off and get ready to go play a game."
Well, it looks like we do not have much choice on the fan side of this, but if you're interested in making the trip, public tickets are now available directly through MusicCityBowl.com and Ticketmaster.com. Kentucky will be on the east side of Nissan Stadium. Student ticket information for the Music City Bowl will be available on Sunday evening, online at UKFootballTix.com.