Citrus Bowl (Orlando, Florida) Penn State (9-3) vs Kentucky (9-3)
How They Got Here: Penn State
If anything, Penn State maintained a level of consistency this year. They lost to two good teams (and Michigan State). They didn’t show a horrific drop off following the loss of Joe Moorhead and Barkley. The defense was solid for the better part of the year, and should only improve. If not for a questionable 4th down call against Ohio State, the Nittany Lions would likely be 10-2.
How They Got Here: Kentucky
The Wildcats were the little engine that could this season. After breaking the decades long losing streak to Florida, Kentucky proceeded to finish 9-3. Using a bruising running attack and a crushing defense, the Wildcats finished with their best season in nearly 20 years.
Josh Allen has carried the whole team for the majority of the year, being a single man wrecking crew on defense. However, the main thing for Kentucky to worry about is the passing offense. QB Terry Wilson has had his struggles at times this year, even being benched. However, in the final game against Louisville, he showed marked improvement. If Wilson has settled into his role, he could make it a long day for the Nittany Lions
Player to Watch: Benny Snell Jr.
Prior to this game, the heart and soul of UK, Benny Snell, announced his decision to declare for the NFL. Snell is possibly the most loved Kentucky player ever, and has made clear how much the school means to him. It would not be at all surprising to watch the star RB ball out one last time.
Penn State is a respectable 7-5 against the spread. Kentucky… Not so much. Seeing as most their games were within one possession, they are a very untrustworthy 5-7 ATS. Penn State is favored at -6.5 currently, with the over/under sitting at 47, which makes sense given UK’s season.
Kentucky hasn’t been in a shootout all year, and it is hard to see that changing now. Given the two strong defense, this game is going to be a rock fight. In all of my previews thus far, I believe I have picked the favored team. Now, I am finally going to ditch that and pick the upset. The magical Kentucky season is going to end with one final upset, sending Benny Snell and Josh Allen out on the high notes they deserve. 14-10 Kentucky.