For many players and coaches, the biggest reward of reaching a bowl game is the chance to get away from home and play in a new locale. They get to trade a cold, empty campus for a warm festive atmosphere, hopefully near a beach.
Not for James Franklin and Vanderbilt, though. The 8-4 Commodores will stay home and play N.C. State in the Music City Bowl.
Ever the recruiter, Franklin sees nothing but positives in staying home for the holidays. "It gives us an opportunity to continue to claim our stake to being Nashville's team," Franklin explained. "What better way to do it than the Music City Bowl?"
The lack of travel means Vanderbilt fans can stay home and see their team play, Franklin says.
"From what I understand, the ACC's allotment will be 12,000 tickets. The stadium holds 67,000 or something (LP Field holds 68,798), so I'm expecting that we're going to sell about 55,000 tickets for this game."
At the end of the day, Franklin knows that any bowl game is still something to be celebrated at Vanderbilt. The Commodores' second straight bowl game is another step in the right direction for Franklin's program.
"When we got here, the feeling around this program is different than it was right now," said Franklin. "So to see the excitement and the hope and the beliefe in these people's eyes of what Vanderbilt can be and what we're working toward every single day, I take a lot of pride in that. It means a lot to me."