Kentucky (7-5) vs. Clemson (8-5)
Dec. 27, 8:30 p.m., (ESPN)
This is a rematch of the 2006 game in Nashville, which Kentucky won 28-20 for its first bowl victory in 13 years. That was the start of something for the Wildcats, who will be looking for their fourth straight bowl victory.
Rich Brooks did one of his finest coaching jobs this season and deserves consideration for Coach of the Year honors in the SEC. The Wildcats had key personnel losses to injury and suspension and ended up with true freshman Morgan Newton starting at quarterback at the end of the season. Nonetheless, they were an overtime loss to Tennessee away from winning eight games in the regular season for the first time since 1984.
Sophomore Randall Cobb did a little bit of everything for Kentucky. He threw it, ran it, caught it and returned it and was second in the SEC to Mark Ingram with 18 touchdowns. Running back Derrick Locke was a nice complement to Cobb. Locke was No. 2 and Cobb No. 3 in the SEC in all-purpose yards per game.
The Wildcats’ passing game was limited after Newton took over when starter Mike Hartline went down with a knee injury. But Brooks said there’s a chance Hartline could return in time for the bowl game.