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We’re Going to the…What Bowl?

By Dr. John Huang

It’s the Belk Bowl, Stupid!

Well, it’s official. It’ll be Kentucky (7-5) versus Virginia Tech (8-4, 5-3 ACC) in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte on New Year’s Eve. Kickoff is scheduled for noon at Bank of America Stadium, and will be televised on ESPN.

Larry Vaught is the man

It turns out that everyone in the Commonwealth could have prevented a heck of a lot of stomach acid if we had all just listened to Just the Cats’ own Larry Vaught earlier today. Larry appeared on Sunday Morning Sports Talk and told everyone in no uncertain terms that Kentucky was headed to the Belk Bowl.

Despite his uber-reliable source, speculation ran rampant that the Cats were headed further South–culminating in KSR’s Gator Bowl announcement early in the afternoon.

But alas, confusion reigned supreme as Matt Jones tweeted out this series.

It was subsequently reported that Tennessee, which was originally slotted for the Music City Bowl, had a change of heart and decided to opt for the Gator Bowl after all. Since the Vols (also 7-5) beat Kentucky earlier in the year, they were given the preference. Kentucky was then “bumped down” to the Belk.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Tennessee changed their mind to the Gator Bowl just to spite Kentucky.

Here’s why the Belk is a better choice

All is not lost for Kentucky fans. Here are several reasons the Belk Bowl might be a better choice anyway.

  1. Sure, it’s not Florida–but Jacksonville really isn’t south enough for beach weather in December anyway.
  2. You’re talking about a six-and-a-half-hour drive rather than twelve.
  3. Virginia Tech has a better football pedigree (14 10-win seasons in the last 25 years) and is a more prestigious matchup than the Gator Bowl opponent, IU.
  4. The January 2 Gator Bowl kicks off at night on a Thursday. Kentucky Basketball plays Missouri on Saturday at Rupp Arena–making the return trip rather rushed.
  5. Charlotte is a fantastic city, on par with Jacksonville in terms of culture, nightlife, dining, and recreational opportunities. Not a bad place to spend New Year’s Eve.

Hey Cat fans. Look at it this way–We’re going bowling for the fourth year in a row. After Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith both went down with injuries, you would have been nuts to have thought the Wildcats would be sitting so pretty.

We’ll all be sure to listen to Larry from now on.

Dr. John Huang
Dr. John Huang is a retired orthodontist and military veteran. As a lifelong Wildcat fan, a fledgling author, and an occasional guest host of Just the Cats Radio, he's now living out his dream as a UK Sports columnist. Dr. Huang also covers professional sports on a regional level. You can follow him on Twitter @KYHuangs or contact him If you enjoy his writing, you can also read more at

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