The Kansas Jayhawks will be walking in Memphis at the end of December, but instead of being 10 feet off of Beale they’ll be taking the field against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 2022 Liberty Bowl.
“To have a chance now to line up against a great SEC opponent in an incredible bowl, we’re thinking Liberty Bowl, one of the great brands, one of the longest-standing bowls in the country … It’s just a privilege and an opportunity we couldn’t be more excited about,” Kansas director of athletics Travis Goff said.
The 6-6 Jayhawks will head into the bowl game on Dec. 28 after a challenging second half of the season, having lost five of their last six games and with their only two losses of 20+ points coming in the last two weeks of the regular season.
Regardless of the exact record or the late-season downturn, the Liberty Bowl bid has the Jayhawks buzzing.
“Blessed to be in this position as a program,” Kansas junior quarterback Jalon Daniels said, later adding: “I feel like to be able to have this opportunity is something that we’ve spoken about a lot as a team. It’s been one of our goals, so to be able to accomplish it means a lot.”
Arkansas also finished the regular season 6-6 after its own second-half slump. The Razorbacks lost three of their last four games, although all three losses were by three or fewer points.
This month’s Liberty Bowl showdown will be a rare meeting between the two programs. Despite being two Power 5 programs located about four hours apart, this will be just the third meeting ever between Kansas and Arkansas, and it will be the first since 1906.
The Jayhawks won both early 20th century meetings.
KU will also make its first appearance at the Liberty Bowl since the 1973 edition of the game. Coach Don Fambrough’s team lost that one to North Carolina State 31-18.
A trip to the Liberty Bowl is the culmination of the historic turnaround season the Jayhawks are experiencing under coach Lance Leipold. Kansas isn’t just bowl eligible for the first time since 2008, also the last year it had a winning record, but it also returned to the AP Poll for the first time since 2009 earlier this season.
The 2022 Liberty Bowl will kick off at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 28. The opening line favors Arkansas by 4.5 points, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.