Music City Bowl Pick – December 31st
The NC State Wolfpack are going to be up against it on New Year’s Eve this year, as they try to beat the college football betting lines against the Vanderbilt Commodores, who are the de facto hosts of the Music City Bowl.
The Wolfpack didn’t have a bad year this year in the ACC. They were able to beat the Florida State Seminoles in one of the more shocking upsets of the year, and they ended the season covering three straight games. However, it wasn’t good enough to retain Head Coach Tom O’Brien, who was unceremoniously dumped right after the season drew to a close. NC State is a solid 4-0-1 ATS in its last five bowl games, but this is going to be a much different scenario, playing under an interim coach and in a legitimate road game against a hungry team. It’s going to be up to QB Mike Glennon to lead the way. Glennon threw for 3,648 yards this year with 30 TDs against 14 picks. These numbers are impressive, but what is depressing about them is that he had to throw the ball 511 times to make that happen. He has to be more efficient in the Music City Bowl to have any chance to win this game.
Vanderbilt meanwhile, has arguably had its best season ever under Head Coach James Franklin, and it is a miracle that he wasn’t hired away by one of the other big time schools in the SEC during all of the shuffling. This is the first time that the Commodores have been to bowl games in back to back years, and it is a chance to win nine games for just the third time ever in the school’s history. The club finished off the year in fine style, grabbing six victories in a row, covering the last five of those, including dominating wins over Kentucky, Wake Forest, and Tennessee. Heck, three of those six wins were on the road, where the Commodores never had a chance in SEC play before Franklin came to town. The numbers still aren’t all that pretty offensively, as QB Jordan Rodgers really only has the solid options on his team of WR Jordan Matthews, WR Chris Boyd, and RB Zac Stacy. This defense though, is the real deal. The ‘Dores allowed 18.2 points and 326.4 yards per game in the rough and tumble SEC, something that a lot of the defenses outside of Alabama, LSU, and Florida could only dream about.
There’s just too much of a reason to not love the Commodores in this one. It really is anyone’s guess how well NC State is going to come out of the chute for this, and we have no doubts whatsoever that Vandy is going to be fired up. We hate laying points, especially with point spreads this big, but the truth of the matter is that the Commodores are definitively the better of these two clubs. Vanderbilt 28 – NC State 10