Vanderbilt Football: Possible Bowl Destinations for the Commodores

Chad Minton@@chad_mintonCorrespondent INovember 29, 2011

You don't get to say this very often, but the Vanderbilt Commodores are heading to a bowl after walloping Wake Forest to finish 6-6 in the regular season.

It's only the fifth time in the school's history that the Commodores will get to play in a bowl game, and first year head coach James Franklin deserves a ton of praise for how quickly he improved this program.

The main bowl that most experts (including ESPN's bowl projections) seem to be predicting for the Commodores is the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, which would pit the Commodores against a team from Conference USA. If the Commodores do end up in the Liberty Bowl, it would give them a great chance at winning their second bowl game in as many tries.

Some people think it's still possible that the Commodores could end up just a mile down the road from campus and play in the Music City Bowl. The Commodores previously played in the Music City Bowl in 2008 when they defeated Boston College in thrilling fashion.

An ACC foe would be waiting for the Commodores in the Music City Bowl, and the Commodores just hammered a team out of that conference that finished 5-3 in conference play. Playing right down the road would also guarantee the Commodores getting a strong showing from their fans, but it seems more likely that Mississippi State will get the invite to the Music City Bowl.

That leaves one more possible destination: the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama.

The likelihood of the Commodores ending up in a bowl game is slim considering most bowl projections don't have an SEC team playing the game at all.

Even though the SEC has a tie-in with the Compass Bowl, there will likely be two SEC teams in the BCS Championship game, and that leaves one less SEC team to fill a normal bowl game.

With all of that said, all signs point to the Commodores heading to Memphis for the Liberty Bowl. They'll most likely be favored in that game against a Conference USA opponent.

Much like the Music City Bowl, the Commodores should be able to bring a strong home crowd down Interstate 40 for the Liberty Bowl, especially with the decent draw of national attention with Jordan Rodgers (younger brother of the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers) leading the team at quarterback.

Franklin already has one of the strongest recruiting classes the school has ever seen, but a win on the national stage will give the program a ton of momentum heading into the offseason and could mean that the Commodores will finally begin to shake that tag of being the doormat of the SEC.

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