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2007 Music City Bowl - Kentucky vs Florida St
Kentucky QB Andre Woodson
Kentucky QB Andre Woodson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 25, 2007


Have you ever wanted to see a depleted team try to pull off a miracle? The 2007 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl has taken on a car crash sort of a feel with over 30 Florida State players missing the game, but if nothing else, it's a chance to scout Kentucky's Andre Woodson before he goes off to the next level.

 


Kentucky (7-5) vs. Florida State (7-5)

Dec. 31st, 4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

Get Tickets for the Music City Bowl 
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WhatIfSports.com Music City Bowl Prediction & Box Score 

2007 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl History, Each Team's Best Bowl Moments, & More

National Rankings
Florida State Kentucky
Total Offense
82nd  360 ypg 25th  438.58 ypg
Total Defense
36th  350.42 ypg 65th  390.25 ypg
Scoring Offense
90th  22.92 ppg 15th  36.67 ppg
Scoring Defense
31st  21.92 ppg 80th  7.45 ppg
Run Offense
96th  121.08 ypg 52nd  156.50 ypg
Run Defense
22nd  114.42 ypg 92nd  190 ypg
Pass Offense
47th  238.92 ypg 24th  282.08 ypg
Pass Defense
73rd  236 ypg 21st  200.25 ypg
Turnover Margin
32nd  0.33 47th  0.08
Florida State
at Clemson L 24-17
UAB W 34-24
at Colorado W 16-6
Alabama
W 21-14
NC State W 27-10
at W For.
  L 24-21
Miami L 37-29
Duke
W 25-6
at BC W 27-17
at Va Tech L 40-21
Maryland W 24-16
at Florida L 45-12
Kentucky
E Kentucky W 50-10
Kent State W 56-20
Louisville W 40-34
at Arkansas W 42-29
Fla Atlantic W 45-17
at S Carolina L 38-23
LSU W 45-37 3OT
Florida L 45-37
Miss State
L 31-14
at Vanderbilt W 27-20
at Georgia L 24-13
Tenn. L 52-50 4OT
Position Ratings
relative to each other
FSU 5 highest
1 lowest
K
3.5 Quarterbacks 4.5
2.5 RBs 3.5
3.5 Receivers 4
2.5 O Line 2.5
2 D Line 2.5
3 Linebackers 3
3.5 Secondary 3.5
4 Spec Teams 3
4 Coaching 3.5

At least now we'll get to see what kind of a coach Jimbo Fisher is.

Of course Bobby Bowden is still the head man at Florida State, but more and more, this will become Fisher's team as the torch has been passed for whenever the legend chooses to retire, and now the program might have its toughest bowl test ever with around 36 players suspended for cheating on a test or out with an injury including most of the defensive line and two starters on the offensive line. Florida State likes to brag that if one guy doesn't get the job done, there's always someone ready to step into place. Now the rhetoric will be put to the test.

It's not like Kentucky is going to cry too many tears as it goes for its second Music City Bowl win in a row and just its second bowl victory since 1984. The Wildcats come into the game on a two-game losing streak and a collapse of four losses in five games since stunning LSU in triple overtime, and while just getting to a bowl game is always a plus for the Wildcats, now the pressure is on; you can't lose a game to a team without a bulk of its players and almost all the depth.

You don't get to the level Florida State achieved without being able to sidestep a few landmines, and it's been able to rally through suspensions over the years, but there hasn't been anything like this. Will the controversy rally the troops and get the remaining players fired up enough to play out of their minds, or will this be the straw the breaks the camel's back in a lousy year?

FSU hung around the ACC title chase with a stunning 27-17 win at then No. 2 Boston College, but a thumping loss to Virginia Tech ended the dream the week after. One of the ACC's most maddening teams, the Noles were good enough to beat Alabama, Colorado, Maryland and BC, but choked away a home loss to a lousy Miami team and got blasted by Virginia Tech and Florida by a combined score of 95 to 33. The defense has been fine, the offense has been lousy, and for many fans, the Fisher era officially couldn't kick off fast enough. Again, this is still Bowden's team, but for Fisher to turn down West Virginia, he has to be assured that he gets to pull the strings.

Kentucky might be playing second fiddle to the suspension storyline swirling around the game, but it needs a nice performance to finish up or else it might be back to being the Kentucky of old. Oh sure, there were some great moments with early wins over Louisville and Arkansas to go along with the win over LSU, but that was it. The Cats might have put up a fight in a four-overtime loss to Tennessee in the regular season finale, but they were awful against Mississippi State and struggled too much against Florida and Georgia.

Each team will get off the bus throwing, and each will showcase the quarterbacks in an attempt to get this into a bit of a shootout, but can Florida State keep up the pace with a depleted team? There is a bit of a precedent for pulling off shockers after major suspensions. Arkansas, coached by Lou Holtz, crushed No. 2 Oklahoma 31-6 in the Orange Bowl, but that was after only three players were suspended (although they were the key offensive playmakers). Obviously, this situation is different, but the Noles will play with a fight and a chip on its shoulder since no one will believe they can win. Hopefully that will be enough to make this more than just a Kentucky scrimmage.

Players to watch: Alright, so what does Florida State have left? Apparently, QB Drew Weatherford isn't one of the suspended players, and he'll be the one who has to carry the team with the game of his life. He was sensational at times after getting benched for Xavier Lee midseason, throwing for 339 yards against Duke and 354 yards in the win over BC. While he hasn't always been accurate, he's been good at limiting mistakes throwing just one interception, in a win over UAB in early September, with eight touchdown passes. He'll have to press a little against the good UK secondary, even if that means throwing a bad pass or two to try to get the offense moving.

Kentucky's Andre Woodson might not be considered the be-all-end-all top five pick some were projecting him to be earlier in the season, but he could grow into the first quarterback taken in the 2008 NFL draft if everything breaks right. The salary drive continues after throwing for 430 yards and six touchdowns in the four overtime loss to Tennessee, and a big bowl game could generate the type of buzz JaMarcus Russell started to get after a great Sugar Bowl performance in the win over Notre Dame. While he wasn't as accurate over the course of the season as he was over 2006 and the first four games of this year, going eight straight games without throwing an interception, he was still fantastic completing 63% of his throws for 3,351 yards and 36 touchdowns and just eight picks.

Florida State struggles to run the ball, but when it does, it'll have to deal with the SEC's leading tackler, Wesley Woodyard, who made 123 stops, with his 69 solo tackles seven more than the total tacklers UK's second-leading hitter
. Even though he's under 220 pounds, the former strong safety is extremely tough and never afraid to mix it up. While he wasn't turned loose into the backfield all that often in the second half of the year, he should be sent a little bit to generate a bit more pressure on Weatherford.

Kentucky will win if... it gets up early and doesn't let the Noles get any confidence. Attitude will be everything early on for FSU as it mentally plays the us-against-the-world card early on. If it gets any sort of a lead or gets any sort of early success, that might might feed into any overconfidence UK might have. Even if the Noles were at full strength this would've been a good matchup for a UK defense that can't stop the run, has a nice secondary, and an experienced, talented quarterback who doesn't make a lot of mistakes. As long as UK is at least even in the turnover margin, if Woodson outplays Weatherford, or at least plays him even, the Cats will come away with another Music City Bowl win.

Florida State will win if... this gets into a slugfest. The depleted Florida State defense will still be solid, and as long as this doesn't get into a track meet of any kind, the offense should be able to keep pace. That's not to say the Seminole offense will try to control the game on the ground, it'll be throwing from the word go, but it needs to own the clock, keep the chains moving, and keep its defense off the field with an efficient short-to-midrange passing game. FSU simply might not have the depth to handle a tiring battle.

What will happen: Florida State will play hard early, but it won't have the horses to keep up in the second half. The offense is too inconsistent, and the defense too depleted, to win if Kentucky's head is in the game for a full sixty minutes. Andre Woodson will be efficient, and while the UK defense will be average, it'll control the game late with at least two key picks of Drew Weatherford to put it away.

Line: Kentucky -4 ... CFN Prediction: Kentucky 30 ... Florida State 13

2007 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl History, Each Team's Best Bowl Moments, & More