Eldridge: Bowl predictin' time

KSR's Brian Eldridge weighs in with his bowl predictions for the selctions for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, formerly the Peach Bowl, the Music City Bowl, the Liberty Bowl and the Independence Bowl. Where does he think Kentucky will be playing?

For the first time in seven years, the Wildcats will be playing football after November. Holding a seven win, five loss record, the Cats are in line for one of several available bowls. The Peach Bowl, the Music City Bowl, the Liberty Bowl and the Independence Bowl have all shown interest.

There are nine bowl eligible teams in the SEC this season. While Florida, LSU, and Arkansas are fighting for BCS spots, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama are fighting for the previously mentioned bowls.

The Independence Bowl matches up schools from the SEC and the Big 12. The match-up is the 8th rated SEC team versus the 7th rated Big 12 team. The possibilities are Alabama, South Carolina or Kentucky against Texas Tech, Kansas State, Kansas or Oklahoma State. This game will take place December 28th, 2006 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Prediction: Alabama vs. Texas Tech

This is a re-match up of the 2005 AT&T Cotton Bowl where Alabama defeated Tech 13-10. Alabama has had problems scoring all season long, while Mike Leach's team is known for scoring a lot of points. Texas Tech should handle an Alabama program that is in shambles this season.

The Liberty Bowl matches up the Conference USA champion against the number six team from the SEC. Possibilities here are Kentucky, Alabama or South Carolina vs. Houston or Southern Mississippi. Memphis is the site of the Liberty Bowl, which will be held on December 29th, 2006.

Prediction: South Carolina vs. Houston

Houston puts points on the board, averaging 32.6 points per game. The South Carolina defense is formidable and probably better than any defense Houston has seen this season. We also know that Steve Spurrier is an offensive genius. I'll take South Carolina in a close one.

The Music City Bowl is a familiar bowl for Kentucky that matches up the 6th rated SEC team, with the 5th rated ACC team. Now this is where it gets confusing. The Music City Bowl and the Liberty Bowl are considered equal bowls, and if they both choose to invite the same schools, the school gets to choose where it goes. Some of the match-up possibilities are Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia or Alabama vs. Clemson, Boston College or Maryland. The game takes place in Nashville Tennessee on December 29th, 2006.

Prediction: Kentucky vs. Clemson

Kentucky can score points on just about anybody and their defense has been able to create turnovers all season, while rarely turning it over. Clemson has one of the best running attacks in the nation. This is a re-match of the 1993 Peach Bowl. Kentucky's playing well right now, while Clemson has lost three of it's last four. Kentucky should win this one by a touchdown, if the defense can force turnovers and play anything like they did against Tennessee.

The Peach Bowl now known as the Chick-Fil-A Bowl matches up the 2nd rated ACC team, against the 5th rated SEC team. The match-up possibilities are Georgia or Kentucky vs. Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, or Georgia Tech. The Chick-Fil-A Bowl has made it clear that it prefers no rematch between schools that have played during the season. That fact keeps Kentucky alive in this bowl picture. Kentucky also defeated Georgia during the regular season. If they select Georgia Tech instead of Virginia Tech or Wake Forest, Kentucky will have a chance to play in the Peach Bowl. Georgia has been considered the front-runner out of the SEC for this bowl, but if they get matched up with Georgia Tech, then the Peach Bowl will invite Kentucky or South Carolina instead. There's a lot that has to happen to get UK to Atlanta on December 30th, but it can happen.

Prediction: Georgia vs. Virginia Tech

This has been a bad year for Georgia, in comparison to the last few years. The talent is there, just not the chemistry. Virginia Tech has been good and fairly consistent all year long. This is a pseudo home game for the Bulldogs, however. That should count for something. I'll call this game a toss up.

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