With no players and a handful of coaches who ever have been involved in a bowl game, there is a lot of uncertainty at Vanderbilt as it prepares for the Music City Bowl, its first postseason contest in 26 years.
A little more than a week from kickoff, coach Bobby Johnson is sure of at least one thing, however.
“This is a very important game for our program,” he said. “It’s our hometown. We’re trying to attract a lot of fans to this game, and I want everybody to see that we’ll be a good bowl team.
“To be a good bowl team, you have to win.”
By that definition, the Commodores’ challenge is that much greater.
Boston College, VU’s opponent on New Year’s Eve at LP Field, currently is the closest thing to a sure thing that exists in bowls.
The Eagles have won eight straight and 13 of 19 overall. The eight-game win streak is the best among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams at present, and the Eagles’ 13-6 record all-time in bowls gives them the best winning percentage (68.4) of any team with at least 15 appearances. Penn State is next at 67.5 percent in 40 bowls.
“We know they’re a good team,” VU defensive tackle Greg Billinger said. “They’ve won their last eight bowl games. I look forward to the competition and I believe everyone else is also.”
The streak is made more impressive by the fact that BC’s eight victories have been in eight different bowl games, against a wide variety of opposition.
They have won in all four major U.S. time zones as well as Hawaii. They have defeated teams from the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac 10, Mountain West, MAC, and an independent (Navy). They also have done it under three coaches – former coach Tom O’Brien, current coach Jeff Jagodzinski and Frank Spaziani, who was interim coach between the two.
This year’s Music City Bowl will be their first return trip to a postseason game since the streak began – they defeated Georgia 20-16 back in 2001.
“They’re big, they’re well coached (and) confident,” Johnson said. “That’s what I think about Boston College.
“They’ve been in this situation many times. They’ve won (eight) bowls in a row, so they know what’s going on. We’re the newcomers, so we have to be on top of our game to hang with those guys.”
A BOWL ROLL
Boston College will play in a bowl for the 10th consecutive season when it faces Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl. The Eagles have won their last eight. A game-by-game look at their win streak:
DATE BOWL OPPPONENT SCORE
Dec. 25, 2000 Jeep Aloha Arizona St. 31-17
Dec. 28, 2001 Music City Georgia 20-16
Dec. 26, 2002 Motor City Toledo 51-25
Dec. 31, 2003 Diamond Walnut San Francisco Colorado State 35-21
Dec. 30, 2004 Continental Tire North Carolina 37-24
Dec. 28, 2005 MPC Computers Boise State 27-21
Dec. 30, 2006 Meineke Car Care Navy 25-24
Dec. 28, 2007 Champs Sports Michigan State 24-21