Lynn Bowden

Kentucky quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr. waits for a snap during a Nov. 30 game against Louisville at Kroger Field in Lexington, KY. 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) — University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart acknowledged the rumors swirling around Sunday that the Wildcats would face Indiana in the Gator Bowl while explaining the decision to accept a bid to the Belk Bowl. 

"The Gator Bowl was much talked about, and there was that conversation and you get into opponents ... and then you talk about the Belk Bowl," Barnhart said Sunday night. "This is a bowl that has been good to our league." 

The Wildcats (7-5, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) will match up with Virginia Tech from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Hokies finished 8-4 this season but parted ways with running backs coach Zohn Burden and cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell on Sunday morning.

The game is set for noon Dec. 31 at Bank of American Stadium, in Charlotte, North Carolina — home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers

This will be Kentucky's first appearance in the Belk Bowl.

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