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Bowl Picks: 2016 Independence Bowl

[lead align=”default”]Way down in Shreveport, the ACC and SEC meet in the 2016 Independence Bowl between NC State and Vanderbilt.[/lead]

These are not the best teams either conference has to offer, and that’s putting it mildly. Take a couple power conference teams that just barely squeaked into eligibility, send them to Louisiana, and you have this game. Both had their ups and downs, but the potential does exist for a competitive game.

NC State head coach Dave Doeren found himself on the hot seat at times this season. In his fourth year, his team still looks quite average, and they were fortunate to get into this game. To their credit, they had to beat North Carolina to do it.

Vanderbilt, on the other hand, is probably quite pleased to be here. This considers that this is only the eighth bowl game they’ve ever made in over 100 years of football. Like NC State, they had to win a tough game to qualify, and in their case, they beat a ranked Tennessee. Not a bad showing for them.

2016 Independence Bowl: Team Backgrounds

North Carolina State Wolfpack
Atlantic Coast Conference
6-6 (3-5 ACC)
30th bowl appearance in school history (15-13-1)
Best win: at North Carolina, 28-21 on November 25
Worst loss: at Louisville, 54-13 on October 22
One stat: Allowed 17 sacks this season; top 25 nationally

Vanderbilt Commodores
Southeastern Conference
6-6 (3-5 SEC)
8th bowl appearance in school history (4-2-1)
Best win: vs. Tennessee, 45-34 on November 26
Worst loss: at Georgia Tech, 38-7 on September 17
One stat: Seeking a three-bowl win streak for first time in program history

2016 Independence Bowl: The Edge

Vandy has one of the nation’s least effective pass rushes, so you know they won’t get to Ryan Finley. The question is if he or his receivers can do anything. He puts up yardage, but isn’t the best in terms of completing passes in the big picture.

The fact that NC State will keep their quarterback upright should count for something. Yet, Vandy’s defense hasn’t been bad overall. It’s their offense they need to control, and the Pack’s right there with them. This game appears to be fairly even.

2016 Independence Bowl: Pick

[header text=”Through 12-24-16 Bowls ATS” subtext=”41-52-2″]

[alert heading=”NC State (-6) vs. Vanderbilt” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]Vanderbilt +6[/alert]

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