Music City Bowl
North Carolina -1.5 vs. Tennessee O/U 50
December 30, 3:30 pm PT – ESPN
It was a season of moral victories for both squads. North Carolina could have mailed it in following all of the preseason drama but held it together for a respectable 7-5 campaign. Tennessee could have done the same but rallied back with four straight victories (all ATS wins) to slip into the postseason. This is one matchup where everything on paper looks pretty even; strength of schedule, power ratings, ACCU-Stats, etc. That means the more motivated club could have the edge needed to bring home a victory. The Tar Heels will have enough pride to show up but Tennessee is playing a virtual home game with plenty of momentum and desire to finish above .500. Ugly stat: The two schools combined for a 1-9 mark against teams with an above .500 record.
Rob Veno’s Take:
(Power Ratings: North Carolina -0.5) Fantastic job done by first-year head coach Derek Dooley and the Volunteers who turned a 2-6 start into a 6-6 finish and a bowl berth. UT has covered five straight games heading into this contest and they’ve transformed into a confident looking group. The strong right arm of true freshman quarterback Tyler Bray has been a difference maker as the vertical passing is now the offense’s calling card. Veteran wide receivers Denarius Moore and Gerald Jones will test the UNC secondary. The Tar Heels’ tumultuous season could use a victory here to catapult their arsenal of young players into 2011 but I’m just not sure how much they really care right now.
ACCU-STATS: True Rushing Numbers
North Carolina bet up from -1 to -1.5/-2 at most sportsbooks.
What the local media is saying: The game has sold out
(69K seating at LP Field). The two teams were scheduled to play a two-game series
starting next season but Tennessee opted out of the contract.