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It will be the latest in this age-old cat-dog rivalry when the Kentucky Wildcats become No. 1 to meet 23 NC State Wolfpack at the Gator Bowl on Saturday One can only hope that both cat and dog are careful with alligators in Jacksonville, Florida

While cats and dogs may be traditional rivals, these two schools aren’t too familiar with each other.This is the third time they have met in football, and the last one was 50 years ago Kentucky defeated NC State 27-2 in 1970 what I can only guess was an all-time classic based on the bottom line I’m sure it was a lot cathartic too, as the win allowed the Wildcats to stand up for the 15-6 NC State win in 1909 to avenge I suppose if history is any indication, with 61 years between the first and the second meeting, then another 50 before the third, these two will meet again in 2060

It’s an interesting matchup of ACC and SEC teams, given the circumstances in which it is being played Kentucky would not have played a bowl game after the 4-6 in a normal season, but because of the pandemic and the lesser ones Requirements, the Wildcats will face the 8-3 Wolfpack Who will win this Saturday afternoon showdown in Jacksonville? Let’s take a closer look at the storylines and matchups before we do some expert picks both directly and against the spread

NC State: Difficult to quantify NC State’s 2020 season as anything other than a success, the wolf packs enter the final game of their campaign 8-3 and rank in the top 25 that wasn’t to be expected A 4-8 season last year it was whispered that coach Dave Doeren was in the hot seat at Raleigh The pack started off hot and won four of its first five games, but an injury starting QB Devin Leary threatened to derail the season on NC State dropped its first two games after Leary’s injury, but the losses went to North Carolina and Miami, two of the ACC’s top teams, after that, Bailey Hockman and the Offensive won their last four games, setting up that showdown with Kentucky at the Gator Bowl, a win would bring Doeren three seasons with nine wins in the last four years So much for this hot seat

Kentucky: Any Other Season, Kentucky Isn’t Bowling There are two different ways of looking at the Wildcats 2020 season, if you wanted to point out that four of their six losses went to teams that were in the top at the time of the game You can also point out that the team’s four wins were against teams that ended in a combined record of 8-31 in 2020, however you want to look at it, it’s hard to ignore that it’s the second straight season where the Wildcats have declined since their 10-win campaign in 2018 As disappointing as a season was, ending the year with a bowl win over a ranked team would improve the mood in the off-season especially in a year where it doesn’t look like Kentucky’s basketball team is going to be much of a distraction

Game: Gator Bowl Date: Saturday, Jan 2 | Time: noon ETLocation: TIAA Bank Field – Jacksonville, FloridaTV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (test for free)

Yes, even though NC State is rated and Kentucky is 4-6, it’s the Wildcats that are preferred in this game. How is that possible? For one, public perception has a lot to do with when the general public watches this game, an SEC team will play against an ACC team that is not considered one of the conference’s elite programs and that will push them to join the SEC team Now I’m Not Going To Lie The fact that Kentucky is preferred makes me wonder if there is anything the odds makers know I don’t know, but I’ll ignore that hunch and use common sense to take the team, that was better all season Selection: NC status 25 | NC State 24, Kentucky 20

So who wins NC State vs. Kentucky? And which side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Kentucky vs. The state of North Carolina sprawled backwards, all from the advanced model on a 56-36 run with its top-rated college football picks this season

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