WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — James Franklin isn't happy about bringing Vanderbilt to Wake Forest for a second straight year. Still, he hopes this trip goes as well for the Commodores as the last one did.
Riding a five-game winning streak, Vanderbilt (7-4) returns to the scene of last season's 41-7 rout of the Demon Deacons (5-6) with the hope of doing it again Saturday in their regular-season finale.
"I'm completely against it. It's one of the strangest things," Franklin said of the scheduling quirk. "I hope we're not going back to Wake Forest for the next six consecutive seasons. I've never seen it before."
The logistics might be a pain for Franklin — but what happened on the field last year was anything but one.
Zac Stacy rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Jordan Rodgers had 229 total yards to help the Commodores become bowl eligible in the 2011 finale in Winston-Salem.
They've got a bowl berth safely in hand this year and are looking to deny the Demon Deacons their second straight trip to the postseason.
Wake Forest is coming off a 38-0 loss at Notre Dame, its third highly ranked opponent this season, joining Clemson and Florida State.
"I feel like we're a pretty good football team. We've played three top-10 teams this year, and for the Deacons, that's a lot to chew on," coach Jim Grobe said. "That's tough, and some of the teams we've lost to are going to be bowl teams. We've played a tough schedule. That's the problem when you play in a good league and play a pretty good nonconference schedule. You can actually be a pretty good football team, and not have a lot to show for it."
The Demon Deacons have lost five of seven since a 3-1 start, and four losses have come by at least four touchdowns apiece.
"It's a confidence factor," receiver Lovell Jackson said. "We just need to build our confidence back. ... Football is a crazy game. You can have a team that's on the downs, and the next week they come out playing with fire. That's what we need to do. We've just got to build that fire."
For Vanderbilt, the challenge is to keep grounded following its first home victory over rival Tennessee since 1982 — a 41-18 pasting of the Volunteers — especially with a desperate group of Demon Deacons on the other sideline.
The Commodores were 2-4 following a loss to Florida on Oct. 13, but haven't been beaten since, taking care of four of the Southeastern Conference's worst teams during that surge.
"They are going to be hungry for that sixth win, so we're going to get their best and we're going to bring our best too," guard Josh Jelesky said. "That's why we're moving past Tennessee pretty quick because we have a big game this week."