I caught up with Music City Bowl president/CEO Scott Ramsey this afternoon to talk about the possibility of Mississippi State going to Nashville. He's already said that MSU and Vanderbilt are SEC candidates for this game, and he talked about what makes each an attractive option for his bowl.
Both the Bulldogs and Commodores finished the regular season with 6-6 records, and each won their season finale – MSU 31-3 over Ole Miss, Vandy 41-7 over Wake Forest.
"You've got a local team in Vanderbilt that really has unbelievable momentum this year, maybe as much as I've ever seen in the 15 years I've lived here," said Ramsey. "James Franklin has delivered, and that's exciting. The Vanderbilt fans and supporters are excited, and that's always a great opportunity for a bowl.
"On the flip side, State (is) coming off of a huge rivalry win and a team we haven't had here in our 13-year history, a driveable fan base and a fan base with a great historical track record for bringing a lot of fans."
One line of thinking gives MSU the edge over Vanderbilt because of the economic impact angle. State would naturally bring in more out-of-town fans, and as Ramsey said, boosting the local economy "was one of the main premises for starting the event."
Assuming LSU beats Georgia in Saturday's SEC championship game, the Music City Bowl will likely have both MSU and Vandy on the table by the time their turn to pick comes around – they're seventh in the pecking order, and with an Alabama-LSU BCS title game matchup, Vandy and State would be the last two teams from which to choose. Whoever Music City doesn't pick will be headed to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
Georgia beating LSU could throw a kink into those plans. If that happens and LSU only falls to second in the BCS, then Ramsey will have to just wait and see who's left, because his bowl would be the last to pick. That would leave the Liberty and BBVA Compass bowls without an SEC team.
"This year we're looking forward to hopefully Sunday having the opportunity to make a difficult decision," Ramsey said.
The Music City Bowl will be played Dec. 30 at LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. Kickoff is set for 5:40 p.m.
I'll have more on MSU's bowl options in the Journal later this week. I'm still trying to get Chick-fil-A Bowl president/CEO Gary Stokan on the phone. While MSU is not currently on that bowl's radar, the aforementioned scenario of Georgia beating LSU could shove the Bulldogs into that mix.