Four Tennessee teams prepare for bowl games

VU head coach Derek Mason and athletics director David Williams celebrate victory over Tennessee that propelled them to bowl eligiblity.

VU head coach Derek Mason and athletics director David Williams celebrate victory over Tennessee that propelled them to bowl eligiblity.

College football teams across the state are preparing for bowl games. Vanderbilt, UT, MTSU and Memphis are all getting in to the spirit of things. For the first time, four teams from the state will be participating in the FBS post-season.

Tennessee
The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl brings the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten) to the 19th annual Bowl against the University of Tennessee Volunteers (Southeastern Conference / SEC) Friday, Dec. 30 at 2:30 p.m. CST at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, televised live on ESPN.

Nebraska (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten) makes its 53rd bowl appearance, third most all-time in the NCAA, their first appearance in the Music City Bowl and first trip to Nashville. Tennessee (8-4, 4-4 SEC) makes their 2nd Music City Bowl appearance (previously 2010) and has not lost a bowl game under Coach Butch Jones, winning their last two against Big Ten opponents. Tennessee’s 52nd bowl appearance is fourth most in the NCAA. For more, call the Bowl office (615.743.3130) or visit: MusicCityBowl.com

Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt faces North Carolina State (Atlantic Coast Conference) in the Independence Bowl Monday, Dec. 26. Vanderbilt’s eighth bowl appearance and fourth in the last six years, is the first bowl appearance for Vanderbilt under Head Coach Derek Mason, who directed the Commodores to a 6-6 record capped by consecutive victories over Ole Miss and Tennessee. The 4 p.m. CT. game will be aired live on ESPN2.

“Vanderbilt is pleased and very excited to accept an invitation to play in the upcoming Camping World Independence Bowl in Shreveport on Dec. 26,” Vanderbilt Athletics Director David Williams II said. “Vanderbilt University is proud that our football program will be making its first postseason appearance under Derek Mason. We will work extremely hard to make the bowl a very successful event in every way. We are looking forward to playing a tremendous opponent in NC State.”

The Commodores (6-6, 3-5 SEC) are 4-2-1 all-time in bowl games, with wins against Houston (2013 BBVA Compass Bowl), NC State (2012 Music City Bowl), Boston College (2008 Music City Bowl), and Auburn (1955 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.). This marks just the third meeting between Vanderbilt and NC State (6-6, 3-5 in the ACC). The Commodores hold a 2-0 series advantage: a 38-24 win in the 2012 Music City Bowl and a 7-0 regular season victory in 1946.

MTSU
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (8-4, 5-3 in Conference USA are going to their sixth bowl game in the Rick Stockstill era, the third in the last four years, in the 15th annual Hawai’i Bowl on Dec. 24, 2016, against the hometown Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors at 7:00 p.m. (CT) in Aloha Stadium, to air nationally on ESPN.

Memphis
The University of Memphis Tigers (8-4, 5-3 American Athletic Conference) play in the third-annual Boca Raton against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (10-3, 7-1 Conference USA), on the Florida Atlantic University campus, on ESPN at 6 p.m. (CT), December 20.