The 17th edition of the Music City Bowl is here, and this year's game marks the 10th anniversary of its SEC-ACC affiliation. This year, it will be LSU and a partial ACC member, Notre Dame.
The Music City Bowl has historically stayed close -- only once in the past 10 years has the final margin been wider than a touchdown. We here at SB Nation are obligated to inform you that the widest margin in the game's previous 16 editions was 38-7 in the inaugural Music City Bowl at Vanderbilt Stadium, when Alabama mustered just a single score and lost to Virginia Tech. Ever since, the game has been played at LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans.
Date and time: Tuesday, Dec. 30, 3 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Stadium: LP Field; 69,143
Last year's score: Ole Miss 25, Georgia Tech 17
Last year's attendance: 52,125
Last year's TV rating: 2.0
Last year's payout for each school: $1,837,000
Team with the most all-time appearances: Kentucky, four
Team with the most all-time wins: Kentucky, Minnesota and Vanderbilt, two each
To think, the Fighting Irish were one offensive pass interference call away from surging into the top 4 and knocking off Florida State. One half of the season later, Notre Dame has fallen off a cliff — especially its defense — and the Fighting Irish limp into bowl season looking as weak as ever under Brian Kelly.
It doesn’t look as glamorous now, but Notre Dame’s 17-14 victory over Stanford was a big deal at the time, and it firmly reinforced the notion that Everett Golson was back to being an impact quarterback. Golson’s final numbers are good on the whole — 3,355 passing yards, 29 touchdowns — but his inability to protect the football became more of a liability as the season wore on and the Irish never established a healthy rushing game to take the load off.
Last bowl game: 2013 Pinstripe Bowl vs. Rutgers, 29-16 win
All-time bowl record: 15-17
Head coach's bowl record: Brian Kelly, 4-3
LSU Tigers (8-4, 4-4 SEC)
With a squad heavy on talent but short on experience, LSU took a step back in 2014. The Tigers managed to open with a comeback win over Wisconsin and were competitive in an overtime loss to Alabama, but Mississippi State, Auburn and Arkansas took Les Miles’ team to the woodshed, winning by an average score of 31-12.
Because the team was so young, it’s easy to be optimistic about the future. True freshman running back Leonard Fournette appears to be a star in the making, and wide receiver Travin Dural put up a solid 758 yards and seven touchdowns. But the quarterback situation could use some work. The Tigers ranked ninth in the SEC in QB rating, and Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris combined to complete just 50 percent of their passes for 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Last bowl game: 2014 Outback Bowl vs. Iowa, 21-14 win
All-time bowl record: 23-21-1
Head coach's bowl record: Les Miles, 7-5