NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The 25th annual TransPerfect Music City Bowl is bringing the Iowa Hawkeyes from the Big Ten and the Kentucky Wildcats from the Southeastern Conference to downtown Nashville for a New Year’s Eve showdown, officials announced on Sunday.

The game — which will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31 in Nissan Stadium — will be televised nationally on ABC, marking the Bowl’s first time being featured on network television, according to the Nashville Sports Council.

Even though they were selected in 2020, this will reportedly be the Hawkeyes’ first official appearance following that year’s coronavirus-related cancellation.

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This will also be the second overall and second-straight meeting between the two universities, officials said, adding that Kentucky beat Iowa in the 2021 Citrus Bowl.

“On behalf of the TransPerfect Music City Bowl board of directors, our staff and our volunteers, we look forward to hosting Iowa and Kentucky in our game this New Year’s Eve,” Scott Ramsey, the president and CEO of the TransPerfect Music City Bowl, said. “Both schools bring passionate fanbases and we cannot think of a better way to celebrate our 25th anniversary than with these two programs in our game.”

“It’s been an impressive year of football for the Big Ten and SEC,” TransPerfect President and CEO Phil Shawe added. “We are proud to host the University of Iowa and University of Kentucky in Nashville on New Year’s Eve, and we look forward to a great game.”

According to officials, Iowa finished the year 7-5, won four of their last five games, and posted a 5-4 conference record in the Big Ten.

“The Hawkeyes finished third in total defense in the conference and one of the top defenses in the country (5th overall),” the Nashville Sports Council said. “Defensive back Cooper DeJean ranked fifth in the Big Ten with four interceptions, including two returned for a touchdown. Defensive linemen Deontae Craig (6.5) and Joe Evans (6) ranked fifth and sixth respectively in the conference for total sacks.”

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“We are excited to compete in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl,” said Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, the longest-tenured coach in college football, who is 185–115 overall in his 24 seasons with the Hawkeyes. “Our players and staff have worked hard to earn this invitation and we look forward to our visit to Nashville. We understand first-hand the quality of our opponent and look forward to playing on December 31.”

Meanwhile, Kentucky is reportedly returning to the TransPerfect Music City Bowl for the first time since 2017, marking the Wildcats’ sixth overall appearance.

According to the Nashville Sports Council, the Wildcats — who finished the year 7-5 and closed out the season with a win over rival Louisville — are “led by dynamic quarterback Will Levis, who posted 19 touchdowns (4th in the SEC) through the air and two on the ground this season. Chris Rodriguez Jr. led the ground attack, leading all Kentucky rushers with 904 yards and six touchdowns.”

“On behalf of our team and all of us at the University of Kentucky, we are excited to accept the invitation to play in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl,” said Kentucky Wildcats Coach Mark Stoops, who is in his 10th season in Lexington, where he’s amassed an overall record of 124-66. “The Big Blue Nation always paints Nashville blue and the hospitality is second to none. We look forward to a great week and our team can’t wait to play one more time this year.”

This year marks the TransPerfect Music City Bowl’s 25th anniversary, allowing fans the opportunity to vote on the 25th anniversary team, as well as relive the Bowl’s top 25 moments

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Since its inception, the Bowl has not only produced nearly $400 million in direct economic impact to Nashville by turning the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day into one of the city’s busiest times of the year for tourism, but it has also become a holiday tradition, officials said.

For more information about this year’s TransPerfect Music City Bowl, follow this link.