The Commodores wrapped up their final day of bowl preparation on Sunday and are now just a few hours away from the 2012 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl kicking off at 11 a.m. CT on Monday (ESPN).
Sunday began early for the Commodores with a 7:30 a.m. wake-up call at Gaylord Opryland Resort. By 8:30 a.m., the team had boarded buses to the Wildhorse Saloon for the Music City Bowl Coaches Brunch. Both teams attended the event, which was hosted by WKRN-TV sports anchor Cory Curtis.
Upon arriving at the Wildhorse, each team was brought on stage and introduced to the large crowd in attendance. Players and coaches were then treated to a brunch buffet. While eating, a large screen on the stage displayed season highlight videos from both teams. Props to video maven Wes Whaley who pieced together another gem for the Commodores. (Watch Video)
Following the highlight videos, seniors from each team were asked to stand and be recognized for their commitments made throughout their careers as they prepare to put on their school's uniform one last time.
A powerful moment occurred during the brunch when Lieutenant Colonel Eric Goslowsky stood at the podium and recognized the wounded warriors, who were present in the audience with their families. He also recognized the families of military veterans, who lost their lives while serving our country. After all the names had been read, every person in attendance gave a standing ovation.
After the recognition, the focus of the event turned to Monday's game and the head coaches from each team. NC State's Dana Bible and Vanderbilt's James Franklin took the stage at the event and had a brief question and answer session regarding Monday's matchup. At one point, when talking about his team, Franklin played to the crowd in discussing Vanderbilt's success. "We've been fortunate to win six games in a row, which I believe is the longest streak in the SEC, isn't that right?" Franklin asked. "Yes," confirmed the crowd.
When the event ended, the players and coaches boarded the team buses and headed back to McGugin Center for a team meeting, which was followed by unit meetings and then a walkthrough.
In addition to the Coaches Brunch in the morning, Sunday provided numerous opportunities for fans to gather downtown for bowl events offered by the Music City Bowl and Vanderbilt. At 5 p.m., the Music City Bowl hosted MusicFest and Battle of the Bands on 2nd Avenue. Diamond Rio began the festivities with a free concert and then the two marching bands squared off against one another on Lower Broadway. With a large crowd - predominantly dressed in black and gold - in attendance, the two bands faced one another as fans surrounded them, cheering and clapping.
After the Battle of the Bands, Vanderbilt fans gathered at the Wildhorse Saloon for the Vanderbilt Bowl Kickoff Celebration - an event that sold out well in advance of Sunday. The festivities continued long into the night and will resume early in the morning on Monday.
Monday will be a busy day for Vanderbilt fans. Here's a look at the schedule of events leading up to the 11 a.m. kickoff and long into the night. At 8 a.m., Vandyville will open on the south end of LP Field. 'Dore Alley Walk will take place at 8:20 a.m. near Vandyville. The Music City Bowl's Family Fan Zone Area will open at 8:30 a.m. in Lot R.
Immediately after the game, Vanderbilt encourages fans to gather at Honky Tonk Central (329 Broadway) for the Commodore Postgame Celebration. Those looking to take in the New Year downtown, can do just that on Lower Broadway. The musical group The Fray will perform and the Midnight Music Note Drop will be accompanied by a fireworks display.