Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vanderbilt #19 in Both Polls...ESPN College Gameday Comes to Nashville!

ESPN's College Gameday will be broadcasting live from Vanderbilt University next Saturday when the Auburn Tigers come to town. This is the first time ever that Chris, Lee, and Kirk will be setting up shop in the Music City, and I don't think it's an understatement to say that this marks a turning of the proverbial corner for our football program and the university more broadly. Tickets are already sold out -- get one if you can!

With Vanderbilt idle this week and teams like Clemson and Wake Forest getting hit with upsets, the Commies rose to No. 19 in both the AP Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll. With Auburn at #13/14 and ESPN planning to broadcast the game at 6:00pm EST, this sets up to be one of the biggest regular-season games in the recent history of this football program.

Auburn beat Tennessee 14-12 yesterday, but has sustained a few key injuries and still cannot seem to get the spread offense off the ground, largely due to the fact that they lack a QB who's proven he can both run and throw the ball effectively. They've been rotating Chris Todd and Kodi Burns for the first five games, but you get the feeling that something has to give in Tony Franklin's new offensive scheme. This leaves a number of question marks concerning Auburn's offense that we'll be attempting to address all week.

What we do know for sure is that Auburn has one of the best defenses in the country and plays an extremely physical brand of football, the likes of which this Vanderbilt team has yet to see. The Tigers boast the #5 scoring defense in the country, are the only team in the NCAA not to have allowed a first-half touchdown yet this season, and have basically been living off their defense's ability to shut opponents down with huge stops at key times. They have by far the best 3rd-down percentage defense in the country, holding offenses to a paltry 14.5% conversion rate on third downs this season (the Commies, on the other hand, rank 74th in the nation in 3rd-down conversions offensively).

Vanderbilt remains the #1 team in the nation in turnover margin (2.25). Stay tuned for "keys to the game" later in the week, but for now suffice it to say that two focal points for Vanderbilt in Saturday's nationally featured matchup have to be forcing turnovers to create short-field situations and protecting the football the way we've been doing thus far.

We're going to need A LOT of chatter from y'all this week. This is what the VSL faithful and all of Commodore Nation have been waiting for...

2 comments:

Aleksey said...

OH MY GOD...

Five years ago, a Vanderbilt Hustler writer penned a rather tongue-in-cheek account of why Vanderbilt has the 'worst college football gameday in the country'. In a rather satirical piece, he began by describing the College Football Gameday set rising above Vanderbilt Stadium with a throng of the Black and Gold faithful yelling to Kirk, Lee and Desmond. Then Vandy fans wake up, turn off their alarm clock and realize that it was all a dream. Until this Saturday, that is.

Bobby Johnson's attitude has always been 'one game at a time' and that there is no proverbial 'hump' to get over. Well, I'll have to disagree with Bobby on that one. This is probably the biggest hump we've ever surmounted.

Getting College Gameday to come out to West End Ave. for a game between the nationally ranked Commodores (first time in 24 years) and the Auburn Tigers marks a turning point in the history of this program. Seriously, 2008 could be the year we all point to as the season when things permanently rose to a new plateau of expectations for Vanderbilt.

Congratulations to CBJ and his staff. Great job, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Where do you guys think the gameday crew will set up on campus? My guess is Olin.