In the days following Florida State's 45-12 loss to Florida in both teams' regular-season finale, Bobby Bowden couldn't wait to find out who the Seminoles would play in a bowl game.
"When you take a licking like we did in the last ballgame, it makes you a little anxious to play another game to see if you can erase it," Bowden said Sunday night.
But a Music City Bowl match-up with pass-happy Kentucky wasn't exactly what Bowden had in mind. If the Seminoles (7-5) had a tough time keeping up with Florida's passing attack, they will need to make major strides to handle the Wildcats.
Kentucky (7-5), which led the Southeastern Conference this season in passing offense, boasts one of the nation's most dynamic quarterbacks in Andre' Woodson.
"We simply have got to get better, or they'll score a million," Bowden said.
Woodson, a senior who led the Southeastern Conference in passing with 279.2 yards per game, threw 36 touchdown passes with 10 interceptions.
Florida State's pass defense, which ranks 73rd nationally out of 119 teams, surrendered a number of big plays late in the season. In the Florida loss, Tebow passed for 262 yards on 19 completions. And Virginia Tech freshman Tyrod Taylor threw for 204 yards on just 10 completions.
Florida State allowed 20 passing touchdowns this season -- Duke (21) is the only team in the Atlantic Coast Conference that allowed more.
"They look too much like Florida," Bowden said of Kentucky. "They've got a tremendous quarterback. They score a lot of points. And, of course, they beat LSU when they were No. 1 in the nation. They look like they're capable of beating anybody."
That triple-overtime victory against LSU was the Wildcats' signature win; they also knocked off rival Louisville and Arkansas earlier this year. Kentucky struggled badly down the stretch, however, losing four of its last five games. The Wildcats' lone victory during that period was a 27-20 win against Vanderbilt.
Kentucky will make its third trip to the Music City Bowl - Rich Brooks' club knocked off Clemson there last season, 28-20, and they played Syracuse in the 1999 game.
This will be Bowden's first meeting with Kentucky in his 32 seasons as the Seminoles' head coach. It also will mark Florida State's first appearance in this bowl, though it's the school's 26th consecutive bowl appearance.
FSU didn't have a practice schedule prepared as of Sunday, but Bowden said his coaches would use the extra workouts to prepare for Kentucky as well as look at players for the future.
"It gives you a little more time to practice to get your team better for next year," Bowden said. "It gives you time to work with some of these young kids. It gives you an advantage over some of these teams that don't go."
FSU has one coaching connection to Kentucky; Wildcats offensive line coach Jimmy Heggins played at FSU and served on Bowden's staff from 1986-2004. Bowden said he has been pleased to see Heggins find success with the Wildcats.
The Music City Bowl is scheduled to be played Monday, Dec. 31, at 4 p.m. It will air live on ESPN.
McDaniel to transfer
Bowden announced that sophomore receiver Damon McDaniel has asked to be released from his scholarship so that he can transfer to a school closer to his home in Virginia.
McDaniel, who caught just four passes this season, missed several days of practice this fall to attend the birth of his son.
"He's got a family now," Bowden said. "I hated to let him go, but we will give him his release."