2022 Music City Bowl Preview: Iowa Hawkeyes vs Kentucky Wildcats

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The 2022 Music City Bowl is a rematch of last season’s Citrus Bowl. The Iowa Hawkeyes and Kentucky Wildcats meet in a bowl game for the second straight season. As was the case last year, both teams lean on their defenses and have a distinct identity. That identity is clear, but it doesn’t mean these teams are exactly what they want to be. They both know they need to evolve and develop on offense. That shapes the backdrop for this game.

Iowa Hawkeyes vs Kentucky Wildcats – 2022 Music City Bowl

Date: Saturday, December 31, 2022 – 12:00 PM ET

Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN

NCAA Football Odds: Wildcats -2.5

Trends, Splits

The Hawkeyes are 3-2 away from home this season, 4-1 against the spread.

The Wildcats are 2-2 straight up away from home this season, 3-1 against the spread.

Iowa is 6-4 straight up in its last 10 games, 7-3 ATS. Kentucky is 5-5 in its last 10, 6-4 ATS.

This is the second meeting between the two schools. Their only prior meeting was in last season’s Citrus Bowl. Kentucky won, 20-17.

Iowa Hawkeyes

The Hawkeyes had the Big Ten West Division championship within their grasp. All they had to do was beat Nebraska at home on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Nebraska did not make a bowl game this season. The Huskers were a sub-.500 team going nowhere. They were led by an interim coach, Mickey Joseph, who – after the season ended – was arrested for an off-field incident and left the school in disgrace. Yet, Iowa fell apart against Nebraska, allowing big plays and getting absolutely nothing from its offense for the first three quarters before a late fourth-quarter rally fell short. The Hawkeyes had a chance to make back-to-back appearances in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis. Both appearances would have been against Michigan. Yet, the loss to Nebraska prevented Iowa from achieving that feat. The Hawkeyes watched Purdue face Michigan in the Big Ten title game. Iowa knows that it wasted a golden opportunity.

The Hawkeyes have one of the better defenses in the country, but their offense really let them down this year. Iowa lost 9-6 to Illinois during the regular season and beat South Dakota State 5-3. With a merely average offense, Iowa would probably be playing in a much more prestigious bowl game.

Kentucky Wildcats

The Kentucky Wildcats won in Week 2 at Florida and looked like a top-10 team which was ready to do something special this year. Then things fell apart. Kentucky lost at home to South Carolina at a point in the season when the Gamecocks were not playing particularly well and had not found solutions to their offense. Kentucky later lost at home to Vanderbilt, a humiliating defeat which was one of the worst losses the Wildcats have suffered in several years. They also lost to Georgia and Tennessee, but the losses to South Carolina and Vanderbilt were really hard to take for a team which was hoping to win 10 games this season. The Wildcats finished 7-5 and know they fell well short of the mark this year. Even so, take them at the best betting sites to win and cover.

Hawkeyes vs. Wildcats Prediction:

Wildcats 19, Hawkeyes 10