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Mississippi St. vs. Wake Forest Music City Bowl Lines & Spread Prediction

Music City Bowl Matchup – Bulldogs vs Demon Deacons

Will Mississippi State salvage its season or not in this game? Mississippi State was supposed to be on the rise this season.

Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-6) vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-6)
Time/Date: 6:40 p.m. Eastern, December 30
Venue/Stadium: LP Field
Betting Lines from Bodog
MoneyLine: Mississippi State -280
Spread:Mississippi State -7
Over/Under: 47.5

Coach Dan Mullen was mentioned for the job opening at Florida once his mentor, Urban Meyer, stepped down for health-related reasons. Mullen was a rising star in the business; when he decided to remain at Mississippi State for the 2011 season, many observers reacted by saying, quite understandably, that the MSU program had increased its odds of doing well in the near future.

Instead, a coach’s career lost momentum and a program watched its winning edge disappear into thin air. Mullen could never solve an unsettled quarterback situation over the past several weeks. MSU’s offense performed up to standards in a week two game against Auburn, but that was a day when the Bulldogs’ defense buckled, allowing Auburn to nab a 41-34 triumph.

Over the rest of the season, MSU didn’t find answers on the offensive side of the ball. This development was a source of frustration to Bulldog fans because quarterback development was Mullen’s signature at Utah and Florida, where he served as Urban Meyer’s offensive coordinator. Mullen oversaw the development of Alex Smith (at Utah) into a top NFL draft selection. Mullen molded Chris Leak into a national championship-winning quarterback.

Mullen also taught a fellow you might have heard of: Tim Tebow. Mississippi State was supposed to benefit from Mullen’s excellence, but when the Bulldogs’ offense went into hiding against SEC foes such as Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and South Carolina, all was lost. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Now, it’s harder to see how Mullen will make Mississippi State as prominent as it was a year ago at this time.

For Wake Forest, reality is decidedly different, even though the Deacs’ record is the same as that of Mississippi State. Coach Jim Grobe has notched his fifth bowl bid at the North Carolina-based school, the most in the program’s generally undistinguished football history.

Wake actually had a chance to take down Clemson and win the ACC Atlantic Division on Nov. 12, but a missed field goal (a 32-yard shortie) by kicker Jimmy Newman prevented the Demon Deacons from gaining a two-score lead on the Tigers.

Clemson came back to pull out a 31-28 win in overtime, but the point remained that Wake Forest had done far better in the Atlantic than anyone had a right to expect before the start of the season. Wake has achieved well, relative to its abilities. The same can’t quite be said for Mississippi State.

The question in this game is as follows: Will Mississippi State play with a chip on its shoulder or a lump of coal in its heart? If the Bulldogs care, they should win, but if they’re not interested in competing, you can be sure that Wake Forest will approach the Music City Bowl with unrestrained passion.

That’s what we’re betting on here: Take Wake not because it has more athletes, but because it is likely to play with more fire in the belly.

Pick: Wake Forest

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About Dave Golokhov AKA Vegas Dave

Dave Golokhov has written for Playboy.com, BETUS Sportsbook, Sportsfanmagazine.com, FOX, Askmen.com, Sports-central, and the FOXSports.com Funhouse.