The participants in Monday's Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, the NC State Wolfpack and Vanderbilt Commodores, are midlevel BCS conference teams that are seen as having the potential to rise up the standings in their respective leagues in future seasons.
Vanderbilt is further along in its rebuilding process in Year 2 of coach James Franklin's tenure. Talent, development and scheme are the three main factors that can turn around a program, and the Commodores, a team with a long history of ineptitude, believe they have improved in all three phases in Franklin's time as coach.
The first step is recruiting, and the Commodores sit 16th in ESPN Recruiting's 2013 class rankings. Vanderbilt claims nine four-star verbal commitments to next year's class, plus a quartet of four-star recruits signed with the Commodores in this year's class. Vanderbilt signed one four-star recruit in the five classes before Franklin became the team's coach.