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Bowl Rundown: Liberty Bowl vs. Texas Bowl for Kentucky

Adam Luckett11/27/22


Article written by:On3 imageAdam Luckett


On3 image
Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Well, chalk did not hold on rivalry weekend. That should honestly be expected at this point. After four upsets in the SEC during Week 13, the Pool of Six bowls for the league just got a lot more crowded.

Kentucky did its part by knocking off Louisville for a fourth consecutive win in the Governor’s Cup series, but the battle for the Citrus Bowl bid just got a lot more competitive as LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and South Carolina all seem to have a case.

Let’s jump into where things stand for the Wildcats after the regular season wrapped up on Saturday.

LSU dropping out of the New Year’s Six will cause domino effect

On Saturday night, Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher returned the favor to LSU one year after the Tigers knocked the Aggies out of the Citrus Bowl and a potential New Year’s Six bid. As a double-digit home underdog, Fisher’s A&M squad handed LSU a double-digit defeat to drop Brian Kelly’s first team to 9-3.

Why is that important? LSU could now be a loss away from dropping out of the New Year’s Six after Tennessee locked up a New Year’s Six bid with an impressive road beatdown of Vanderbilt.

After being No. 5 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, the Bayou Bengals will see a drop on Tuesday. Another drop in the rankings will come if LSU falls to No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday.

As long as the Tigers fall out of the top 10, the New Year’s Six will be off the table. That seems likely at this point.

Following ranked road wins for both Mississippi State and South Carolina, each team will enter the top 25 this week at 8-4 (4-4). Ole Miss owns that same record but will likely drop out of the top 25 after a third consecutive conference loss to end the year. LSU sits at 9-3 (6-2) heading into the postseason.

Kelly’s squad currently feels like the favorite to land in Orlando for the Citrus Bowl as the highest-ranked team and one with the most wins outside of the New Year’s Six. That will knock every other team in the Pool of Six down a spot. However, it will be important to see where South Carolina lands in the CFP rankings on Tuesday after consecutive top-10 wins. The Gamecocks could have a strong case for Orlando.

Music City Bowl appears to be off the table

Once bowl scenarios started to be discussed, the one spot we all thought Kentucky could try to avoid at all costs was the Music City Bowl. Why? The yearly postseason game in Nashville was occurring at the same exact time as the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game on New Year’s Eve.

After yesterday’s results, it looks like that probably won’t even be an option for Kentucky.

Assuming LSU drops out of the New Year’s Six, there are three SEC teams ahead of Kentucky at 8-4 (4-4). In the Pool of Six, we have Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and South Carolina all above the Cats in the pool. Therefore, it’s likely that the ReliaQuest Bowl (Tampa) and Gator Bowl (Jacksonville) get scooped up first as the Florida locations. After another loss, Ole Miss is likely team No. 3 in this scenario. As long as the Rebels do not want to make the trip to the Las Vegas Bowl just days before National Signing Day, that makes the Music City Bowl the most likely option for the SEC West program.

After that, Kentucky should have its pick for the next best bowl game in the pool.

Memphis vs. Houston

Liberty Bowl (Memphis), Las Vegas Bowl, and Texas Bowl (Houston) seem to be the three options for Kentucky football right now. Due to the date (Dec. 17), the Cats will likely not want to go to Vegas due to the signing day implications. That leaves Memphis and Houston.

Both games will feature a Big 12 opponent and Memphis is the closer commute. That feels like the easy answer at this point.

However, we must point out that the Texas Bowl is higher in the pecking order in the Big 12 and gets a primetime window on Dec. 28 (9:00 p.m.). The Liberty Bowl occurs on that same day at 5:30 p.m. and will be the game before the Texas Bowl.

We aren’t getting out of here without a basketball conflict. Kentucky has its first conference game of the season when John Calipari takes his squad on the road to face Missouri at 7:00 p.m. on Dec. 28. There is no getting out of the bowl selection process without rubbing against signing day or the basketball schedule.

As far as potential opponents go for this game, Kentucky is looking at facing Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, or Baylor. Perhaps Oklahoma or Kansas could be an option for Memphis. The Cats will not be drawing a ranked opponent in any matchup as all possible Big 12 teams are 7-5 or 6-6.

Luckett’s predictions

Let’s assume Georgia handles its business and gets into the playoff. Here’s how I see the SEC bowl picture shaking out as we currently sit on Nov. 27. Some very intriguing matchups could be coming.

  • Peach Bowl (Dec. 31): No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 USC
  • Sugar Bowl (Dec. 31): Alabama vs. Kansas State
  • Orange Bowl (Dec. 30): Tennessee vs. Clemson
  • Citrus Bowl (Jan. 2): LSU vs. Minnesota
  • ReliaQuest Bowl (Jan. 2): Mississippi State vs. Purdue
  • Music City Bowl (Dec. 31): Ole Miss vs. Illinois
  • Gator Bowl (Dec. 30): South Carolina vs. Notre Dame
  • Texas Bowl (Dec. 28): Florida vs. Oklahoma State
  • Liberty Bowl (Dec. 28): Kentucky vs. Baylor
  • Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 17): Missouri vs. Utah
  • Birmingham Bowl (Dec. 27): Arkansas vs. UCF

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