Posts Tagged ‘Music City Bowl free picks’

Music City Bowl Picks: North Carolina vs. Tennessee Analysis

December 30th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on Music City Bowl Picks: North Carolina vs. Tennessee Analysis

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The Tennessee Volunteers needed to win their final four games of the regular season to be able to get here to the bowl season, and they were handsomely rewarded with the right to play at the Music City Bowl in their own backyard in Nashville. The North Carolina Tar Heels might have to overcome a bit of a home field advantage in this one, but they’re still virtually a pick ’em on the Music City Bowl odds on Thursday night. Which team will prevail? Check out our Music City Bowl keys to the game to find out.

Key #1: TJ Yates needs to hang on to the football
Easier said than done. For his career, Yates has really been a much maligned quarterback in Chapel Hill, as he never really seemed to be able to make the big throws and constantly made mistakes that drove the fans batty. He was benched as a sophomore, but in both 2007 and 2009, he threw more INTs and TDs, and he never even threatened the 3,000 yard barrier. Yates was looked at as the weak link to a team that was good enough to win the ACC. In this, his senior season, the roles were reversed. Yates was good enough to win the ACC. His teammates certainly were not. Yates had two 400+ yard passing games in his last four overall, and he ended the season with 3,184 yards and 18 TDs against just eight picks. Without the help of the rest of this offense, this is really the key to keeping North Carolina moving. The running game isn’t there. The receiving options really aren’t plentiful. Yates really needs to do it all by himself. UT’s defense did rank No. 80 this year against the pass at 229.2 yards per game, and if that continues in this one, it is going to be a long, uphill climb for the Vols.

Music City Bowl Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
North Carolina Tar Heels +1
Tennessee Volunteers -1
Over/Under 50
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Key #2: Tyler Bray needs to just continue doing what he has been doing
Hey kid, here’s the plan. You’re a freshman, and you sort of thought you were redshirting this year. Instead of doing that, we’re going to throw you into the lineup against the eventual SEC East champions on the road, knowing that you need to win four of your final five games with a team that only has two wins thus far on the year to get us to a bowl game. Got it?…. That’s the story surrounding QB Tyler Bray in 2010. He was in the mix against the South Carolina Gamecocks and performed admirably, leading the team to a near upset and a cover against a 17.5 point spread. The Vols fired back with these last four games and won all four by double digits thanks to Bray. He threw for at least an average of 8.6 yards per attempt in each of his final five games of the year, and he had a TD/INT ratio of 13/5 in these games. He had three games of at least 320 yards through the air and put an average of 37.5 points per game on the board. North Carolina’s pass defense was alright this season in spite of all of the suspensions at the start of the campaign, allowing just 204.7 yards per game, ranking No. 39 in the land.

Key #3: Derek Dooley needs to get his boys to believe
Sometimes, it’s just a matter of some willpower from the coaching staff that can push teams to victories in bowl games. We saw it last year with Bobby Bowden and the Florida State Seminoles in the Gator Bowl, and we saw it just yesterday with Ralph Friedgen and the Maryland Terrapins. Sometimes, it works the other way as well. Just ask Mr. Stoops and his Arizona Wildcats what has gone on the last two seasons in bowl games. No one on Rocky Top was really particularly thrilled about the low key signing of Dooley in the offseason after Head Coach Lane Kiffin flew the coop and went to the USC Trojans, especially after Dooley got off to that horrendous 2-6 start to the year. However, this is a fiery, young coach, who really sparked his team at times in very close calls against some of the SEC’s best. If he can really keep this motivation going into Thursday’s game at the Music City Bowl, the Volunteers should be able to put their best foot forward to claim a ‘W’.