Monday, October 6, 2008

Back to Work

In the words of Frank the Tank, "Fill 'er up again!"

Saturday was the most euphoric day any Vanderbilt fan could have.  It was the stuff dreams are made of, a big victory on the big stage against a marquee opponent.  But, as any great coach will tell you, with big victories comes an important reminder.  There's still work left to be done.

This team has to take this week's road game at Mississippi State just as seriously as last week's thrilling victory over Auburn, because it's crucial to us competing for the SEC East championship, and yes, I said competing for the SEC East championship.  You shoot for the moon and at least you reach the stars, and this team has a pretty decent shot at taking the top spot in the Eastern Division, assuming they continue to do everything right to win big games.

Mississippi State is 10th in the SEC and 103rd in the country in total offense, right in front of Auburn who is 11th and 104th.  They are 9th in the SEC and 46th in total defense.  Big stats that play in our favor is that they have allowed 10 sacks on the year (74th in the NCAA), and they are turnover prone have coughed it up 12 times on the year (both fumbles and INTs).  They are slightly worse than Auburn in the SEC in turnover margin.

The point is, this is another important game that we should win.  There are tremendous differences, it being a road game, not nationally televised, and us having a top 15 ranking.  But the problem with these differences is that they are classic signs of a hangover game, where heads get a little too inflated, coaches don't push quite hard enough, and the team walks into another teams home stadium and gets hit in the mouth real fast.  Just ask Georgia how that feels.

In the SEC, you can't afford to take any game for granted and if you want to make a run for the championship you have to win the big games.  The difference between being 6-0 (4-0) going into Georgia and being 5-1 (4-1) is huge.  Georgia and Florida will have to lose at least 1 more game when they play each other, then both those teams have to play LSU, who we don't have to face.

The night was great, I'm sure Sunday was even better, but it's time to get back on the field and get ready for Mississippi State.  I have faith in CBJ and the players that they will do exactly at.  This teams new attitude has got them on the right path.  Winning the SEC East is not impossible by any stretch of the imagination.  Our SEC games left are Mississippi State, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee.  And as we've shown in the first half of this season, we can more than hang with these teams.

If we shoot for winning the East, we may fall short, but I can tell you this, we'll at least have 8-9 wins and the opportunity to go to a great bowl game.  Go Commies and stay the course.


Seamus O'Toole said...

Mississippi State may be 10th in the conference and 103rd in the nation in total offense, but we should not forget that we're dead last in the conference and 114th out of 119 bowl subdivision teams in total offense. That's fine as long as your turnover margin is tops in the nation, but we might want to start thinking about ways to get in the end zone more often.

Stanimal said...

Completely agree. By showing the statistics for Mississippi State I was pointing out that this is a game that we clearly can win. This Mississippi State team is not very different from Auburn except that their defense is not as good. Not saying that we're riding any huge offensive numbers, but we are not outmatched in this game by any stretch.