LP Field, Nashville—College coaches are weird creatures. They lift a championship trophy with their team one night and sign a multiyear deal at another school the next morning. Conversely, they annually lead their team to a winning record and a bowl game and get dumped the moment their athletic director's goo-goo eyes turn to a bigger-name coach. N.C. State tossed Tom O'Brien to the curb after six seasons—and a 7-5 record this year, including a win over then-third-ranked Florida State—because the school poached Dave Doeren from 15th-ranked Northern Illinois hours after he won his second straight MAC title and an Orange Bowl berth. The Wolfpack took a long look at Vanderbilt's coach James Franklin after booting O'Brien; they now face Franklin's Commodores on their home turf. Awkward!
During the Music City Bowl in Nashville on New Year's Eve, the fickle Doeren will be off recruiting, leaving interim coach Dana Bible to run the Wolfpack sidelines for this game. The Doeren era begins with a noon kickoff on ESPN. —Chris Vitiello