Both teams are considered potential representatives for the 2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl to be held on Dec. 31.
The ACC and SEC team selections for the 42nd edition of the Bowl will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 6. The Chick-fil-A Bowl is the oldest guaranteed ACC vs. SEC match-up in the bowl business.
Tennessee (6-5, 3-4 SEC) enters the contest having won three of its last four and looks to improve its bowl stock in its regular season finale. The team is eligible for its 48th all-time bowl bid (tied for third-most among any NCAA school) and first postseason trip under head coach Lane Kiffin after besting in-state rival Vanderbilt last weekend. Running back Montario Hardesty ran for a career-high 171 yards and a touchdown in the win, and quarterback Jonathan Crompton upped his season touchdown pass total to 25. Tennessee has represented the SEC four times in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and most recently appeared following the 2003 season.
Winners in five of their last six games, Kentucky (7-4, 3-4 SEC) is bowl-eligible for a school-record fourth season in a row and seeks a fourth-straight postseason victory. Last weekend’s win at Georgia was the program’s first since 1977 and completed its first three-game SEC road winning streak in more than three decades. Whether splitting out to catch or running the team’s Wildcat offense, receiver Randall Cobb tests opposing defenses on all fronts. Cobb has scored four touchdowns in the last two games to bring his season total to 13. Kentucky made the most recent of its two Chick-fil-A Bowl appearances in 1993, falling to Clemson.
Tennessee leads the all-time series 72-23-9 and has more wins against Kentucky than any other opponent. A 28-10 home victory last season was the Volunteers’ 24th straight against the Wildcats. Saturday’s contest kicks off at 7 p.m. (EST) and will air on ESPNU.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl is the ninth-oldest bowl game in the country and hosts the longest-running rivalry series between the ACC and SEC. Now in its 42nd year, the Chick-fil-A Bowl has established itself as one of the nation’s elite bowl games with a string of 12 consecutive sellouts and has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive bowls in the nation. Ten of the last 17 games have been decided by a touchdown or less. The Chick-fil-A Bowl has disbursed more than $90 million in team payouts over its 41-year history and has increased team payout every year since 1996. The Bowl also leads all other bowl games in charitable and scholarship contributions, giving more than $1.2 million to organizations in need in 2008 alone.