What to Expect in Music City:Vanderbilt vs SC

The University of South Carolina will travel to Nashville, Tennessee for its first road-game. Here's a look at what to expect from Vanderbilt coming into the season and things to do around the area.

Music City will stand as the home for South Carolina’s first game away-game. September 20th, the Gamecocks will head north and a little west over to Nashville, TN and take on Vanderbilt.

Vandy finished off the season overall 9-4 and a dead 4-4 in the SEC in 2013. 19-4 all-time against the Commodores, the garnet and black took a 35-25 victory over the Commodores last season and are looking to snatch another again.

Vanderbilt rolled over the season into the Compass Bowl and took a win over Houston to close out the 2013 season. Unfortunately, with loss of head coach James Franklin to Penn State, the Commodores are starting over brand new with head coach Derek Mason, who served on the coaching staff at Stanford and will stand as Vandy’s 28th head coach in the programs history.

Scout placed the Commodores class of 2013 as 8th in the SEC and 19th overall. 2015 proves to be a different story. In the polls, Vanderbilt ranks last for its class of 2015 and stands at No. 52 overall.

There’s no doubt James Franklin brought serious talent to the program. But, Franklin also left Vandy with 10 returning starters. That makes them the second least experienced team in the SEC, next to Missouri.

Speaking of starters, Vanderbilt will be replacing all-star WR Jordan Matthews. Also, QB Austyn Carta-Samuels spot is up for grabs. Phil Steele projects freshman Johnny McCray will be handed the starting line-up position.

Vandy’s rebuilding years are on the horizon, but will have returners like senior Joe Townsend. The center was regarded as one of the SEC’s top last season and started in all 13 games. Returning junior RB Jerron Seymour will be a much needed base for Vandy’s offense, as well.

Also, Vanderbilt has a couple of returning players on the scene for its defense. Senior OLB Kyle Woestmann started 13 games last season and will add some experience to the roster. Also, defensive tackle Vince Taylor will be coming up on his senior year. Last season, Taylor recorded a career high of 12 solo tackles and saw action in 13 games.

Moving to a 3-4 defense this year, the transition will certainly be a big one for the Commodores. Working to their favor, it could be an obstacle for other teams.

As for the 2014 football season, Phil Steele has South Carolina listed as No.2 overall in the SEC-East, behind Georgia, and Vandy down in the last spot at No.7. There is certainly a time-span between July and September and a lot of room for future predictions on the game.

But, it’s never too late to plan. If you are banking on a trip over to Music City, there are certainly a lot of things to dive into.

1. Broadway: Nashville is known for Broadway and its nightlife. Even if you aren’t big on the nightlife scene, well-known bars and venues have performers on stage singing the greats of country music all day long.
2. Loveless Cafe: If you like good southern food, you need to come to the world-renown Loveless Cafe. With homemade jams and endless pictures of country music stars on the wall, this little historic dine is sure to make your taste buds happy.
3. Downtown Franklin, TN: This historic district is full of shop and restaurants that are unique to the area. If you are looking to explore a little outside of Nashville, this is a great place to get away and catch some great food, buys, and Civil War history.
4. Grand Ole Opry: Even if you aren’t a music fan, this building is a piece of U.S. history. Some of the biggest names in the music industry have performed on this stage. They have daily tours, and it’s conveniently located right next to Opry Mills Mall.
5.The Ryman: This was the Opry’s original home and is right in the heart of downtown Nashville. It’s rich history makes it a Nashville hot-spot for visiting.
6. Puckett’s: You haven’t had real chicken and waffles until you’ve had Puckett’s chicken and waffles. This unique southern comfort spot is located in downtown Nashville and some times even has live music along with its tasty food.
7.Belle Meade Plantation: Now, South Carolina has no shortage of plantations. However, this plantation has wine-tastings along with its rich history in raising horses.
8. The Hermitage: This is certainly a place you must make a visit to, if you are a history buff. This is the beautiful historic home of President Andrew Jackson, and its definitely worth the trip during your stay in Nashville. The tour guides are extremely knowledgeable on the history and even have some unique facts of their own stored away.
9. Carnton Plantation: Yet, another historic home. Tennessee is very rich in Civil War history. This home played a tremendous part in one of the most horrific battles fought in the War and was even turned into a hospital. On the original wood floors, one can still see the blood stains from that fateful day on November 30,1864.
10. The Parthenon: If you are into Greek-mythology, this is one hot spot not to miss. It’s located in the heart of Centennial Park and within walking distance to Vanderbilt’s campus. The museum is a great place to see local and notable artists work and houses a 42-foot statue of Athena.
11. Sam’s Sports Bar: Need a great place to catch the game and get some great food? This is your place. It’s been voted the best sports bar in Nashville for 12 years running.
12. “Mid-Town”: This is a neat place to grab a drink or two and mingle with locals. In this area, you have bars like Rebar, Corner Pub, and Chuys. They have great happy-hour specials and a nice place to kick-back, relax, and enjoy the Nashville scene.
13. Demonbreun: If you’re a student, this is most likely where you will end up. Tin Roof and South are bars that are filled with college students from all over the place. However, Little Chicago makes excellent pizza.
14. MayDay Brewery: If you like a neat local place to hang out and definitely a good beer, this is your place. MayDay regularly has great local live music. The brewery is tucked away in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It’s about 30-minutes SE of Nashville, but is worth the drive. With some of the most entertaining brewery tours out there, it’s only $6 dollars, and you get a tasting of their four core beers. Tasting really means a full-glass at MayDay.
15. The Frothy Monkey: More of a hipster/modern vibe, 12 South is a great destination for unique dives. The Frothy Monkey is located in this district and has a wide selection of wine and unique beers. Also, their cafe-style food is anything but ordinary. I would highly suggest it for breakfast.
16. “The Gulch”: If you are looking to get a glance at some famous faces, this could be a good bet. The Gulch houses tons incredible eateries. A little more on the pricey side, this district is completely worth a little more. Virago is a popular destination for sushi and even star athletes in the past. If you’re in the mood for mexican, Cantina Laredo is to die for. Another top favorite is Sambuca. Known for its sophistication and music vibe, it’s the perfect place for a low-key night and some incredible food.

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