Becoming bowl eligible isn’t seen as being that impressive anymore. Fans, followers, and analysts of college football generally feel this way due to the fact that a team needs to only win half of their games during the regular season to become bowl eligible, and the fact that due to the high number of bowl games on the schedule, around half of all FBS teams make it to a bowl game each season. But for a lot of college football teams, getting those six wins is a challenge and isn’t something that happens every season.
For the Vanderbilt Commodores, bowl berths have been few and far between in their football history. With their close win against the Ole Miss Rebels last weekend, the Commodores moved their record to 6-4 and became bowl eligible. This is the second straight season and third time in the last five seasons that the Commodores will be going to a bowl game, both firsts in the school’s football history.
Now the question is about where the Commodores will be playing their bowl game. And that question can’t be answered yet, as there are still games left to be played. However, how the Commodores finish their season will help answer the question of where.
The Commodores remaining opponents are the Tennessee Volunteers and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Both are games that the Commodores can win with the harder of the two games (against the Volunteers) being at home. As of right now, the Commodores are seventh in the SEC and are projected to play in the Music City Bowl according to Rant Sports. Two wins would move the Commodores to 8-4 and even a bump of one spot better in the conference could change what bowl they play in.
And while these last two games won’t be high-profile wins for the Commodores, should they win them both. What they will be, however, is testament to something that draws people to a team: ending the season hot. It not only provides momentum for the team itself, but it offers bowl selection committees more of a reason to invite this team to play in their bowl game.
Last year the Commodores lost in the Liberty Bowl to the Cincinnati Bearcats 31-24. Those players that were on last year’s team will now have to balance thinking about being on the winning side in a bowl game with finishing the season strong. It’s not always the easiest thing to do as the main goal of what most consider lower-tier teams in college football is to make to a bowl game period. The Commodores have done that. Now what they can do for themselves is complete the team’s first eight-win season since 1982, and do it before they even play in a bowl game this season.