Music City (Nashville, Tenn.): NC State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4), Dec. 31, Noon ET
Why To Watch: The Mike Glennon era ends at State in Nashville, taking on a rolling Vandy.
Who To Watch (Commodores): RB Zac Stacy – Stacy finished fifth in the SEC with 1,034 yards and nine scores, with 180 and two touchdowns alone against Wake Forest to close the season.
Stat Advantage for NC State: Scoring defense v. Vandy’s scoring offense? – The stats don’t favor NC State much anywhere in this matchup, but they are giving up five less points (24.6 – 45th nationally) than the ‘Dores score (29.3 – 60th).
Stat Advantage for Vanderbilt: Passing defense (10th nationally – 175.8 YPG) v. State’s passing game (20th nationally – 304 YPG).
What Happens: As with many bowl games, it’s about motivation – Vandy not leaving the friendly confines of Nashville, and State going forward with an interim staff before NIU’s Dave Doeren takes over. The Commodores won 7-of-8 down the stretch, holding opponents to 301 yards a game, while scoring 31 points per themselves. The Wolfpack send off quarterback Mike Glennon, who finished atop the ACC in passing yards per game (304) and second in touchdown throws (30), with a league-leading 511 attempts. Vandy’s last two ACC matchups have inflicted pain, drilling Wake Forest by a combined score of 96-28, both in Winston-Salem. James Franklin should have his team with enough of a mindset to topple State here.
The Picks: Brandon Rink – Vandy 31-24; Griffin Wong – Vandy 27-21; J.J. Greenstein – State 27-21; W. Gustin Vandiford – Vandy 31-21.