2016 Music City, Nebraska vs. Tennessee Bowl Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

2016 Music City, Nebraska vs. Tennessee Bowl Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

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2016 Music City, Nebraska vs. Tennessee Bowl Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Prediction, Nebraska (9-3) vs. Tennessee (8-4) Game Preview, History, Scores


Three reasons why you should watch the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl between Nebraska and Tennessee, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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Date: Friday, December 30
Game Time: 3:30 pm
Venue: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Network: ESPN

Contact/Follow @PeteFiutak

Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 8 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

For whatever reason, it’s been one of the consistently solid bowl games for a while. The very first Music City Bowl was a dog – Virginia Tech blasted Alabama 38-7 in 1998. The 17 since have been strong, with only a few decided by double-digits and just one in the last 11 – the Vanderbilt 38-24 win over NC State in 2012 – decided by more than eight points.

For whatever reason, Nebraska has been one of the consistently solid bowl teams for the last three years. These might not be the Big Red Machine Huskers of the past, but after a tough run of bowl losses, they’ve come up with great fights winning two of their last three and with all good games. The team brings the effort.

The month off between games won’t solve all the problems, but both teams will benefit in a big, big way from the time to heal. The beaten up Vols aren’t going to get back stars like Kahlil McKenzie and Jalen Reeves-Maybin, but this team desperately needed a break. Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong struggled to piece it all together late in the year, missing time with a hamstring, but now he’s back and ready to go.

Here’s Why Nebraska Will Win The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

The defense has been shockingly solid all season long. This was supposed to be a big problem from the start – especially on the defensive front – but the Huskers have been good enough. There might have been a meltdown against Ohio State, and the team as a whole was lifeless in the 40-10 regular-season finale loss to Iowa, but the secondary wins its share of battles and the run D doesn’t get gouged. The production is helped because …

Nebraska almost always controls the tempo. This isn’t an explosive Husker team, but it’s effective and workmanlike. The O keeps the ball for over 32 minutes a game, while Tennessee struggles with time of possession, controlling the clock for just 27 minutes an outing. It’ll be harder for the Vols to find a groove because …

The run defense is awful. Kentucky and Missouri each cranked out well over 400 rushing yards, Alabama hit the four bill mark, and on the year, the Vols allowed over five yards per carry and four scores in in five of the last seven games. A healthy Armstrong, along with RB Terrell Newby, should be able to run effectively enough to keep the O rolling.

Here’s Why Tennessee Will Win The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Tennessee has a habit of applying an atomic wedgie to Big Ten teams in bowls. Last year, the Vols embarrassed Northwestern in a 45-6 Outback Bowl that wasn’t even that close. The year before, they beat Iowa 45-28 in the TaxSlayer. Obviously, this year’s team has nothing to do with Tennessee bowl history, but the program is 6-1 against the Big Ten in the last seven tries, only losing to Penn State in the 2007 Outback. The talent tends to shine through.

Nebraska doesn’t have a good enough passing game to worry about. Leading receiver Jordan Westerkamp only caught 38 passes with five of the 16 touchdown passes, but he’s out with a knee injury. There might have been a few gamebreaking plays here and there, but nothing for the Vols to get into a twist over. The Tennessee secondary hasn’t been a prize, but it should be able to keep Armstrong from making much happen deep down the field.

Okay, Tennessee. Enough is enough. The pressure is still on to close out with a bang after a clunker of a game against Vanderbilt and a dud of a season, but this should be the fun time. This might be a case of a team needing a long, extended time out, and now it could play like it was supposed to. Tennessee is a whole lot better than Nebraska in terms of skill, athleticism and talent, but it’ll come down to a case of coming up with the momentum plays. Tennessee has the ability explode – Nebraska doesn’t.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

It’s an interesting spot for the Vols. If they win in a blowout, there will rightly be some thought that this is what they should’ve been doing all along. If they lose, there will rightly be some though that they were one of the nation’s biggest underachievers this season and just watched its window slam shut – this was the year it was all supposed to come together. Either way, 9-4 would look okay, and 8-5 would crank up the Butch Jones hot seat.

With one win, Nebraska will appear to be moving in the right direction. Bo Pelini was the master of the nine-to-ten-win season, coming up with that in all seven of his seasons – give him credit for his 2014 team getting to nine wins, even if he wasn’t around for the bowl. No matter what, this has been a good second season under Mike Riley, but 10-3 with a bowl win over an SEC team would be terrific.

This really has been an amazingly weird season for the Tennessee defense. The Vols allowed 31 points or more six times in the last eight games. How many times did they allow more than 31 last year? They didn’t. They didn’t allow more than 31 in 22 straight games, and then came the problems holding up. How many times did Nebraska score more than 31 in the last nine games, all in Big Ten play? Zero.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl?

At some point this year, Tennessee is going to play like it was supposed to. It just has to, doesn’t it?

Nebraska will bring the energy, and it’ll bring the effort from the start, but it’ll be a Tennessee home game for a team that’ll have a renewed fire and effectiveness. The Vol offense will get out to a hot start, Nebraska will have to try throwing to keep up the pace, and then bad things will start happening. Vol QB Joshua Dobbs will pitch a gem as the offense does a little of everything right.

Final Score

Tennessee 34, Nebraska 27

Line

Tennessee -4.5, o/u: 60.5

ATS Confidence: 3.5
5: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score in your favorite bar
0: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score after covering a College Football Playoff semifinal

Must See Rating: 4
5: New Year’s Eve: Defected In The House, Ministry of Sound, London
0: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

Get Tickets For The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Music City Bowl History, Results

Dec. 30, 2015 Louisville 27 Texas A&M 21
Dec. 30, 2014 Notre Dame 31 LSU 28
Dec. 30, 2013 Mississippi 25 Georgia Tech 17
Dec. 31, 2012 Vanderbilt 38 N.C. State 24
Dec. 30, 2011 Mississippi State 23 Wake Forest 17
Dec. 30, 2010 North Carolina 30 Tennessee 27 (2 OT)
Dec. 27, 2009 Clemson 21 Kentucky 13
Dec. 31, 2008 Vanderbilt 16 Boston College 14
Dec. 31, 2007 Kentucky 35 Florida State 28
Dec. 29, 2006 Kentucky 28 Clemson 20
Dec. 30, 2005 Virginia 34 Minnesota 31
Dec. 31, 2004 Minnesota 20 Alabama 16
Dec. 31, 2003 Auburn 28 Wisconsin 14
Dec. 30, 2002 Minnesota 29 Arkansas 14
Dec. 28, 2001 Boston College 20 Georgia 16
Dec. 28, 2000 West Virginia 49 Mississippi 38
Dec. 29, 1999 Syracuse 20 Kentucky 13
Dec. 29, 1998 Virginia Tech 38 Alabama 7

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