Music City Bowl Preview, Kinda

Wolfpack Football is just two days away from its HUGE New Year’s Eve Bowl tilt vs SEC power Vanderbilt in the Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl, live from Nashville.  And since Wolfpack Nation is on pins and needles looking forward to this anticipated matchup, it must be time to put together an in depth preview of this potentially program defining game.

OK, so THAT opening paragraph is chock full of sarcasm.  To be brutally honest, the apathy in Wolfpackland regarding this game and the program’s lame duck coaching staff feels so complete that if one did a search on NCSU fan centric websites/msg boards, they’d likely find more posts pertaining to new head coach Dave Doeren’s former team’s upcoming matchup vs FSU in the Orange Bowl than they would the Pack’s own bowl game, which is but two days away.  And don’t get me wrong.  I’m not judging.  I’ve been just as apathetic as anyone else about Pack Football since late October.

Nonetheless, it is still Pack Football and come game time I’ll be cheering my ass off, no doubt.

But no need to re-invent the wheel here, either.  Plenty of folks have already done the work, so I’m just gonna send you to them mostly…

  • What: Franklin Mortgage Company Music City Bowl (even just the game title inspires awe, huh?)
  • Who: Vanderbilt Commodores (8-4) vs NC State Wolfpack (7-5) (no comment)
  • Where: Nashville, Tennessee (heckuva trip for the Commodores, huh?  At least the game isn’t played in their home stadium anymore, so at least they can pretend they got to go somehwere.)
  • When: December 31, 2012, Noon EST, ESPN

Music City Bowl Official Site

Vanderbilt vs. NC State: Music City Bowl Breakdown (SI.Com)

• Keep an eye on: NC State quarterback Mike Glennon. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. recently said Glennon could be the first quarterback drafted in April and a top-15 pick after a steady senior season in which he led the ACC in passing with 3,648 yards. Glennon had 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in his second season as a starter since replacing Russell Wilson. One of Glennon’s fellow draft prospects is Tennessee’s Tyler Bray, who had a miserable day against Vanderbilt in November (11-of-29 for 103 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions). Glennon will have a chance to one-up Bray in that department before heading for the Senior Bowl.

• Did you know: NC State is one of 10 bowl teams playing without its head coach. The Wolfpack fired Tom O’Brien on Nov. 25 after finishing a disappointing 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the ACC. In six seasons, O’Brien was 40-35 and 22-26 in the ACC, though NC State did reach bowl games the last three seasons. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible will coach the Wolfpack against Vanderbilt before Dave Doeren takes over fresh off his successful two-year run at Northern Illinois.

• Final analysis: It will be strength vs. strength when Vanderbilt’s 10th-ranked passing defense faces Glennon and NC State’s 20th-ranked passing offense. The Commodores feel confident after stifling Bray and UT’s 16th-ranked passing attack, and momentum is on Vanderbilt’s side. Coach James Franklin signed a lucrative extension recently, the Commodores are carrying a six-game winning streak and the game will be played in Nashville against an NC State squad that is going through a coaching transition after losing three of its final five games.

• The pick: Vanderbilt 34, NC State 20


Music City Bowl Preview: Vanderbilt vs. North Carolina State — Analysis, TV info (

3 keys to a Vanderbilt win

  • Get Stacy going: The Commodores are at their best when the star RB is getting his carries. They are 3-1 this year when he gets at least 20 carries with the lone loss coming to Florida in a game that was undecided until the final minutes.
  • Rodgers needs to forget 2011 bowl: QB Jordan Rodgers had a forgettable experience in the Liberty Bowl in 2011 against Cincinnati. He was pulled in the second quarter after a slow start. That’s not likely to happen this season, but he’d like to bounce back from that bowl experience.
  • Limit Glennon: NC State’s rushing attack is ranked 109th in the NCAA. That means limiting Glennon and the passing attack will be crucial. It won’t be easy, though. The Wolfpack averaged just more than 300 yards per game passing during the regular season.

3 keys to an NC State win

  • Make Vanderbilt settle for field goals: Vandy’s offense is hot. It has scored at least 40 points in four of its past five games. NC State has the capability to put points up as well, but this game might come down to who finds the end zone and who is forced to settle for field goals.
  • Don’t get rattled: Though it’s not in its home stadium, Vanderbilt will have the hometown advantage and is expected to have a lot of fans at the game. This is only the sixth bowl appearance in program history for the Commodores, so expect the fans to be loud.
  • Protect Glennon: Vanderbilt finished the season tied for 36th nationally in sacks with 2.33 per game. NC State was one of the worst teams in the nation at protecting, giving up an average of three sacks per game. That trend can’t continue if NC State wants to win this game.

Prediction: Vanderbilt 38, NC State 27

Music City Bowl: Prediction Time (

The difference between these programs comes down to expectations. The Florida State win was supposed to be one of many highlights for the Wolfpack as they competed for an ACC championship. Winning just seven games got the coaching staff fired. Win seven or more games at Vanderbilt and you’re a god, but just because Vanderbilt exceeded expectations and N. C. State failed to meet them does not make the Commodores a more talented team. The Wolfpack have the most talented player on the field in Mike Glennon, who has thrown for nearly 7,000 yards and 61 touchdowns over the past two seasons and may be the first quarterback selected in the NFL draft. The senior gunslinger has the arm to expose a Vandy D that fabricated its awesomeness against the likes of Presbyterian, UMass, Kentucky, and Wake Forest. Glennon and his teammates realize that their failure to get the job done this season put a lot of people on the unemployment line, and they should be highly motivated to win just one for the zombie gippers.

What Will Actually Happen:

Perhaps Interim Head Zombie Dana Bible has devised some sort of trick (setting the hotel clocks back a couple of hours?) to get the Wolfpack awake and ready to play for a noon kickoff. The Wolfpack were at their worst in nooners this season, going 1-3 in early games. And the earlier in the early game it was, the uglier it got. State was outscored 62-21 in the first quarter of noon and 12:30 kickoffs. To make matters worse, the MCB will actually kick at 11 a.m. local time. With help from its stellar special teams play and a couple of three-and-outs from a rusty, pass-oriented offense, the Commodores will take an early two-score advantage. One part pride and one part guilt trip over getting their coaches axed will fuel a furious Wolfpack comeback, but Vandy hangs on, 30-24.

Adding Vanderbilt to the list of teams State should have beaten (Miami, UNC, and Virginia for sure; Tennessee and Clemson were winnable too, dammit) would be a fitting final nail in the TOB era’s coffin.

The spread has Vandy as a 7.5-point fave and the over/under is 51.5, so take the Pack to cover and take the over. (No, don’t. Don’t bet at all. Omega Swami’s predictions are for entertainment purposes only, and, seriously, just don’t bet on Wolfpack football. Ever.)


As far as my own prediction?  Being a hopeless Pack fan, I’ll take the same tack as BTP’s Omega Wolf…The Pack will win in a squeaker, but I’m not even close to being willing to put any money on it…

NC State 31

Vanderbilt 28

Be sure to get over to the SFN Forums and be a part of the most diverse group of NCSU fans anywhere on the planet.


About Wufpacker

A 2nd generation alumnus and raised since birth to be irrationally dedicated to all things NC State. Class of '88 and '92.

'12 Football

32 Responses to Music City Bowl Preview, Kinda

  1. MP 12/29/2012 at 7:56 AM #

    The 7.5 spread is a 50/50 toss up to me, but I would feel good about betting the Over at 51.5.

    I think most revealing will be if our secondary plays with an attitude but not carelessly. (Yeah,I know, stating the obvious)

  2. wufpup76 12/29/2012 at 8:07 AM #

    Bully on you for picking the Pack … I can’t imagine many more doing the same out there.

  3. WolfInVolCountry 12/29/2012 at 9:27 AM #

    It is a short drive for us to Nashville. Given that, I will be watching it on TV; I just cannot get excited about this game.

    I looked for tickets and there were some upper-deck deals, but better seats were still going for face value. I could probably go scalp some, but just not feeling it.

    Nashville is a great town for a bowl; great food, entertainment and reasonable lodging ( all better than Charlotte).

    Oh well, I do hope the Pack shows up and I hope Glennon uses the game as a springboard to the NFL. It would be great for the Pack to have three starting QBs in the pros.

  4. triadwolf 12/29/2012 at 9:46 AM #

    This is by far the least excited I’ve ever seen Wolfpack fans be for a post season football game. We’ve played in worse bowls for sure (although the name of this one has got to be in the top three worse ever), but there was always some level of excitement for those games – not this year.

    I’ll watch, I’ll cheer, I’ll drink; I’ll be surprised if we win. I’ll then immediately switch gears to basketball that evening with not even the slightest of football hangovers lingering.

  5. mak4dpak 12/29/2012 at 9:57 AM #

    Making my first trip to Nashville, and hope it is a good one for the seniors to go out with a victory, and the end of the TOB era.

  6. packnilm 12/29/2012 at 10:25 AM #

    Heading to the battle of bands tomoro evening. Any place Pack fans might be meeting before?

  7. JSRy2k 12/29/2012 at 10:39 AM #

    We’re mediocre, fans care more about the new coaching staff than the bowl game, and yet, playing in Nashville is better than sitting at home. We may not be a winner in the best sense of the word, but we’ve won enough that Doeren won’t have a major mental overhaul on his hands like Gott did.

  8. gcpack 12/29/2012 at 10:49 AM #

    To Wolfinvolcountry or anyone else:
    Suddenly my plans have changed due to family situation.
    Have two tickets to bowl game in Wolfpack Club seats.
    $90 for two(25% off) OBO.
    Call George at 919-880-3845
    Thank you & Go Pack!

  9. 66pack 12/29/2012 at 11:26 AM #


  10. doug 12/29/2012 at 2:05 PM #

    I am looking forward to us beating a SEC school. I have been a PACK fan for 40 years and always think we will win. It is not the BOWL we hoped for but I think it is a better one than last year.

  11. Wufpacker 12/29/2012 at 3:32 PM #

    If I’m being 100% honest, my homer pick in this piece was little more than pandering of sorts. In the SFN bowl picks I have Vandy as the victor, but with a relatively low confidence.

    In actuality, I’d give us somewhere in the range of a 40-45% shot. Honestly, even that might be a bit optimistic.

  12. Dogbreath 12/29/2012 at 3:37 PM #

    I have a feeling we are going to get shithoused in this one. Imagine RJ Mattes and company with a solid ten day run at all those buffets in Tennessee. They will be so fat and slow that Vanderbilt will crush Glennon.

  13. Wulfpack 12/29/2012 at 3:44 PM #

    Really not excited about this one, but I will watch.

  14. ADVENTUROO 12/29/2012 at 4:09 PM #

    talked to several WPC members at the WM Game. We are all in the Lenovo Champions Club and regularly see each other at bowl games and the early season BB tourneys and the spring NCAA run. So we are not exactly the “stay at home” types. There was very little enthusiasm for traveling. The WPC busses are barely full. I would have taken my MH and made the run, but I did this same leg in early October, so I’m not in the mood to drive.

    I believe that the enthusiam (based on my informal FB Index meter) dropped off scale after UVA. BB had just started and we exhanged views of what would happen.

    My hat is off to the team and the present coaches and to the fans that are going…..but it was not for us this year, nor our crowd. Our crowd, which is about 9 strong and is relatives, just could not muster any excitement about boing to Nashville.

    I realize that I sound like a fair weather fan, but I have been to over 75% of the NCSU FB bowl games including the infamous Liberty Bowl in 1963 in Philly.

    I do not think that we will have a good showing in Nashville. Have been there many times and in the stadium for the Vette shows and concerts, but never a FB game. Nice venue. Lots to do. Convenient walking across the river for some nightlife after the game.

    SO, we will watch the game at home. Take the GK’s to PNC and enjoy the UNC-G game and then take in 1st Night.

    As a footnote, some of our crowd did buy tickets and donated them through the WPC to the kids or whoever were inline for them.

    GO PACK….hope we have another bowl victory….maybe next year….still have some places that I would like to go to a bowl in….just tired of Orlando….

  15. Greywolf 12/29/2012 at 4:39 PM #

    “I have a feeling we are going to get shithoused in this one. Imagine RJ Mattes and company with a solid ten day run at all those buffets in Tennessee. They will be so fat and slow that Vanderbilt will crush Glennon.”

    I suppose this is supposed to be funny or something bu tof the life of me, I can’t see the humor. I don’t enjoy reading gossip, slander or other demeaning remarks about the Wolfpack. I particularly dislike personal attacks on players. I wonder if Doeren is reading this example of Wolfpack fandom?

    I expect the players to show up and give their best. Maybe Bible will let it all hangout in this one moment of glory and we’ll see an exciting Wolfpack – maybe the one that we expected to see prior to the Tennessee debacle.

  16. highstick 12/29/2012 at 6:01 PM #

    Pulling for the Pack, but my head says Vandy.

    At least it’s not the Gaylord Focker Music City Bowl now…I’d have been embarrassed to be playing with the “Fockers”.

    Have fun in Nashville and visit Roberts Western World while you’re there..Tell Rachael Hester I said “hello” if she’s singing and wish her well with her upcoming wedding..

  17. packalum44 12/29/2012 at 7:23 PM #

    Guys, even if we won 9 games, I’d still be just as ambivalent about Pack football. O’Brien, just as the BC fans griped years ago, is a fun vacuum. He’s sucked all the fun and life out of college football, slowly but surely, year after year.

    Chop chop chop chop chop wood Dana Bible, one last time. Chop that wood.

  18. Wufpacker 12/29/2012 at 8:10 PM #

    A random thought/example….in years past there has been nearly constant banter/discussion regarding how many tickets we’ve sold for the game. Hell, this past summer there was even such discussion regularly leading up to the opener in Atlanta vs the Vols.

    I have yet to see a single comment/inquiry anywhere regarding this issue as far as this bowl game is concerned.

  19. TheAliasTroll 12/29/2012 at 8:44 PM #

    I don’t see any reason that we don’t get rolled by Vandy by 20-30 points..

  20. 61Packer 12/29/2012 at 10:19 PM #

    Agree with TheAliasTroll, we’re going to get rolled, and maybe by more than 30 points.

    Actually, the TOB era ended on November 24.

    And 2012 ends on Monday, the day of this game. Good riddance to both TOB and 2012 as far as I’m concerned.

  21. MISTA WOLF 12/29/2012 at 11:06 PM #

    We are going to see all types of debauchery and strategic chess piece movement come Monday. We’re going to kick their ass in their own state. It’s going to be beautiful. Yeah I’m crazy but lighten up guys and think positive. I for one think that this quite possibly might be Bible’s last game as any type of coach and I see him bringing out the trickery, guns blazing, non-Bible characteristic offense.

  22. sholtzma 12/30/2012 at 7:18 AM #

    I don’t doubt there will be one or two new “wrinkles”, as Bible himself all but alluded to in a media story. But anyone who thinks that Bible is all of a sudden going to become the non-Bible is being, well, heretical. Bible is who he is: old-school, conservative, similar to TOB. Do you really think he was chafing under TOB the way Canada was apparently chafing under Beilema? Let’s hope that Glennon comes out on fire and that the defense is up for a challenge. I too am inclined to believe that Vandy will pwn us.

  23. lawful 12/30/2012 at 7:45 AM #

    When you post something regarding the latest Kane article, you should include this comment:

    There is an army of people who will not stop digging until the truth – the whole truth – comes out. The “Martin Whitewash” is nothing more than an annoying gnat. (Shame on you Governor Martin! Shame on you!) Everyone knows what happened. For at least 2 decades 1) academically challenged student athletes were kept eligible to play sports by being required to do little, next to no academic work. (No show classes, tutors who did the work for them, grade changes, inflated credit hours, and so on); 2) top athletes were recruited by letting them know, essentially, that they would be doing very little academic work, and that they would graduate, because UNC had ways of making that happen. High school coaches got the message and encouraged their academically challenged, top athletes to sign with UNC. The list goes on, and on, including UNC admitting far more “special case” students, that would not have been admitted at other ACC universities. UNC created a terribly unfair, unlevel playing field for the past 2 decades, if not longer. Most of the players were probably basketball, and football players, but there are many reports of other sports, as well. There is no doubt that the program that benefited the most from this massive cheating scheme was the basketball program. UNC’s biggest mistake, in more ways than one, was arrogance. Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

    Read more here:

  24. inhoc... 12/30/2012 at 2:37 PM #

    O’brien may be gone but I’ll pretty much gaurantee we go 3 and out a few times, while vandy is putting up points….I fully expect more of the same (I hope I’m wrong) even though the O’brien era is supposedly “over”. I bet that just as O’brien was loyal to his assistants, his assistants are probably just as loyal to him and have their feelings hurt over their buddy getting fired. I have a stong suspission that the staff is just sleep walking, and just waiting to get this thing overwith.

    I immediately identified some fundametal flaws with the program just after our first few possessions in the UT game, and low and behold, nothing really changed for the rest of the season, sans the repead bomb plays over amersons head.

    We will all know what to expect for the rest of the game after we see our first two possessions, just as most of us knew what to expect the rest of the season after the first few possessions of the UT game.

    Despite what anyone says about Orlando (Yeah its kinda old going there, and Nashville is a much better city to attend a game), it is a better bowl. This Music City Bowl is a pretty low tier bowl that is only about one rung above the bowl. Unless I’m mistaken, Orlando pays out a good bit more than Nashville.

  25. Dogbreath 12/30/2012 at 3:41 PM #

    I predict we will come out wearing those awful “practice gear” uniforms: red pants with no stripes, anklet socks with black shoes, knee braces visible, jerseys that have no sleeves so the Hutch shoulder pads pop out, and 3/4 sleeve undershirts poking out on half the players. That’s an easy bet. We will look like shit and play like shit.

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