Northwestern Football: Music City Bowl Preview vs Kentucky Wildcats


malik-zaire-music-city-bowl lsu notre dame jaylon smith

For the Northwestern football fan griping about landing in the Music City Bowl, instead of in a so-called “better” bowl game, there’s a much you need edification on. While I do agree with you on a whole lot of points, and admit a strong case for your argument exists, there are still some things you need to be schooled on. 

You have come to the right place, because school is now in session. 



Kentucky vs. No. 21 Northwestern 

Dec. 29, 2017 | 3:30 p.m. CT on ESPN

Nashville, Tennessee

SPREAD: Northwestern football -7

First, we’ll take a look at the Northwestern football bowl game history (3-10)

Season Bowl Result Opponent

1948 Rose W 20-14 California

rose bowl usc northwestern

1995 Rose L 32-41 USC

1996 Citrus L 28-48 Tennessee

2000 Alamo L 17-66 Nebraska

2003 Motor City L 24-28 Bowling Green

2005 Sun L 38-50 UCLA

2008 Alamo L 23-30 (OT) Missouri

2009 Outback L 35-38 (OT) Auburn

2010 TicketCity L 38-45 Texas Tech

2011 Meineke Car Care L 22-33 Texas A&M

2012 Gator W 34-20 Mississippi State

2015 Outback L 6-45 Tennessee

2016 Pinstripe W 31-24 Pittsburgh

A Big Ten school will play in the Music City Bowl for the sixth time.

Northwestern football is making its 14th bowl appearance and its first ever trip to the Music City Bowl.


Northwestern Football Preview:

Now that we have reviewed the Wildcats bowl history, look closely at 2008-2012, as those were games in which NU were at least slight and often heavy underdogs in their bowl game. NU was actually the biggest underdog of the entire bowl season on more than one occasion in that span.

That means the Cats got a “better” bowl than they “deserved,” because they were matched up against a much better on paper opponent. Remember, this is a major reason the Northwestern football bowl in drought lasted as long as it did (64 years).

So if you’re mad about the Cats getting snubbed this year, then you have to accept that this comes with the territory for all those times NU got a better bowl destination than they truly deserved.

Not to mention Nashville is a way better city than most of the other bowl destination cities. The “Athens of the South” has a life size full scale replica of The Parthenon, and Andrew Jackson’s plantation home.  Add in the famous hot fried chicken and you can see why the Music City Bowl considers itself bigger and better than a lot of the bowls these days.

And really, after the playoff and New Year’s Six bowls, it’s all very debatable somewhat within only couple tiers anyway.

Besides this was always about nothing more than your random purple mafia media member jackass filling column inches with the first thing to come because they’re totally bankrupt of ideas, and/or some low brow talk show killing dead air time.

Besides, take a step back and look at the bigger picture- bowl games have never been a meritocracy. They were invented to boost hotel room sales during a notoriously slow period of the year.

northwestern football nyse

That’s not a conspiracy; it’s actually documented in an official Sugar Bowl press release.

Flashing forward to this game, a Northwestern football record is on the line here. Pat Fitzgerald’s guys can tie the 1995, 2012 and 2015 teams for the school single season wins record (10).

They have an amazingly stout defense, led Baby Fitz middle linebacker Paddy Fisher and defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster, a workout warrior of all workout warriors. Running back Justin Jackson is perhaps the best running back to play at a school that has truly had a lot of fine ball-carriers.

He had a blockbuster Pinstripe Bowl last season, and in his final game here, we’ll see if he can top that.

pinstripe bowl

Kentucky Wildcats Preview:

It’s Kentucky, so it’s “one and done,” oh I’m sorry, “succeed and proceed,” oh wait, this football, never mind then. UK sophomore running back Benny Snell did his best Joe Namath impression and promised his team was going to win a bowl game.

“We going to Nashville. We’re going to get this W. I promise,” Snell told the Rupp Arena crowd during Kentucky’s basketball game against Virginia Tech.

Ok then.

The Cats have achieved back to back bowl games, and Snell is a big reason why as he’s rushed for 2,409 yards and 31 touchdowns during his first two seasons.

kentucky wildcats

Kentucky’s best win of the season turned out to be a 40-34 victory over Mizzou, who finished 7-5 and landed in the Texas Bowl. These Cats started 5-1 and the streets were paved with gold in the commonwealth. Then they faltered, finishing 2-4 during their final six, and we all remembered that this Coach Cal’s athletic department again after all.

Prediction: Northwestern football 34, Kentucky Wildcats 23

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC and Chicago, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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