Music City Bowl: Kentucky players ignoring apathy

Kentucky football players have heard complaints clearly.

Biggest Hits: The Music City Bowl is the disappointment of a season that began with a dream of competing in the SEC East. A trip to Nashville would be boring considering how many times the Wildcats have played soccer and basketball. It’s a shame to play Iowa for the second straight season while the Kentucky and Louisville men’s basketball rivalry games are on the backburner, and the many opt-outs and transfers have left fans with what many see as a glorious exhibition. Send a message that you shouldn’t care.

Senior left tackle and team captain Kenneth Horsey responded with enthusiasm to these complaints.

“I feel like a lot of people take this bowl game for granted,” he said. “Everyone, whether a fan or a player, must recognize that this is a celebration. If you ask me, do you care who you play against? No, because the true fans, the true fans of Kentucky, love to see us give our hearts and souls no matter what.

“I could have been playing outside in the parking lot at eight in the morning.

Kenneth Horsey
Senior offensive lineman Kenneth Horsey claims Kentucky football players are excited about the Music City Bowl.Brian Sims

Horsey’s take on the game is a stark reminder that while the non-playoff bowl may look like an exhibition to fans and reporters, it still carries a lot of weight for most players attending the game. .

But that passion doesn’t mean Big Blue Nation doesn’t have good reason to approach the Music City Bowl without full enthusiasm.

The Southeastern Conference’s bowl selection process is designed to give the schools with the most bowl wins in the league’s mid-tier group a significant say in where bowl games will be played. promotes the Las Vegas Bowl or the Liberty Bowl if they don’t want fans to choose between the Music City Bowl and Louisville Basketball games on New Year’s Eve, or face opponents they haven’t faced yet in 2022. We could have done it.

Instead, coaches and management decided that the December 17 Las Vegas Bowl date was unacceptable because it was a key recruiting weekend prior to the signing date. Before Kentucky he played five times, but since 2009 he has only played once. .

“I know there’s a lot going on that day,” British Athletics director Mitch Bernhardt told Britain’s BBN radio show earlier this month. “The basketball game against Louisville is clearly the pinnacle of our men’s basketball program schedule. There are people who live in that area where it’s easy to do, and I really appreciate it[if they do]and I know our players do too.”

Since the matchup was announced on December 4th, the list of factors counteracting the excitement of the game has only grown.

Quarterback Will Levis, running back Chris Rodriguez, and cornerback Carrington Valentine have all opted out of the game to begin preparing for the NFL Draft. Most of the Wildcats were backups, but their departure meant that many freshmen who barely played in the regular season were ready to play an important role in the game, ready or not. It means that there is a high possibility that you will need it.Whether you want to play or not.The latest blow came Wednesday when super senior linebacker DeAndre Square confirmed he will not playing the game Due to “lingering injuries and some personal reasons”.

Iowa’s depth has also been marred by injuries, transfers and opt-outs. Expect to see large scale snaps at .

“We just let the blog say what they said,” said freshman wide receiver Baryon Brown. So we’re just working hard to block out the negativity or whatever it is.”

The logistical challenges posed by basketball conflicts go beyond choosing which games fans will attend.

Fans at home can watch the Music City Bowl on ABC and basketball games on CBS on double screens. Finding UK radio broadcasts for each game can be a little more difficult.

Play-by-play Tom Leach will be calling the Music City Bowl on WLAP-AM 630 in Lexington, England. Darren Hedrick makes basketball game calls on his WBUL-FM 98.1. In Louisville, the bowl is televised on WKJK-AM 1080, and the basketball game is televised on WHAS-AM 840. A statewide British radio network affiliate will broadcast the football game. Both broadcasts can be streamed online on his website at UK Athletics.

British coaches and administrators point out that in 2017 — the football team also played at the Music City Bowl on the same day the men’s basketball team played Louisville — fans enjoyed both games , but the matches at least started at different times of the year. .

The Sugar Bowl, which also kicks off at noon on December 31st, will make viewer competition for the bowl even more intense.

“This year, we expect the lap to be packed for the Louisville game. We also expect to sell ticket quotas and have a quality group of people there as well,” Stoops said. I was. “Kentucky fans are strong enough to spread the word and support both programs as usual. Thank you BBN and we look forward to seeing you again.”

How many Kentucky fans travel to Nashville could affect the game. The Wildcats have a geographic advantage in supporting fans, but Iowa has never been in a game. A trip to Nashville on New Year’s Eve may appeal to Hawkeyes fans, and it’s unclear whether fan support will give the UK an advantage.

Of course, once the game starts, complaining about the match doesn’t matter much for a month.

Then there will be players like Horsey and super senior linebacker Jack Jones. He said he would play in the bowl because he wanted to set an example for the United States.

Predicting mid-tier bowl results is never easy. That’s because much depends on which team is most motivated when they arrive at the bowl location, rather than simply being content with a celebratory trip or months of extra practice for development.

That’s where Horsey’s passion can prove vital.

“I think the biggest difference in practice right now is that everyone who is in that room and playing in that bowl game wants to be there,” Horsey said. No one is thinking about, no need to worry about the future, no need to look to the past to make sure everyone out there now is ready for the University of Kentucky to win this bowl game. 100% committed to

“With no vampires, it feels like there’s a different kind of energy that everyone in there can eat. No one is taking the energy out of the room.” I only want to play with players who want to go there.”

music city bowl

Kentucky vs Iowa

when: noon on saturday

where: Nissan Stadium in Nashville

record: Kentucky (7-5, 3-5 SEC), Iowa (7-5, 5-4 Big Ten)

tv set: ABC-36

wireless: WLAP-AM630, WLXG-AM1300, WLXG-FM92.5

series: Kentucky leads 1-0

Final meeting: Kentucky won the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida, 20-17 on January 1.

Jon Hale is a University of Kentucky Football Beat Writer and Lexington Herald Reader. Although he joined his Herald-Leader in 2022, he has been covering British athletics for over a decade. Hale was named the 2021 Kentucky He Sportswriter of the Year.

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