Tuesday, August 11, 2009

VSL 2009 Schedule Preview

Editor's Note: This is the final installment of VSL's 2009 Season Preview. Last week we posted preview for the Offense and Defense/Special Teams.

Western Carolina: Despite making it to our first bowl game since 1982, Vanderbilt is still not a team that can look past any of its opponents. With that said, if there was an opponent to look past, it would be the Catamounts. WCU is a FCS (formerly I-AA) team that plays in the Southern Conference. Last year, under first year head coach Dennis Wagner, the team went 3-9 overall and 1-7 in conference. The team has some experience, returning 14 starters, equally divided among the offensive and defensive units. On offense, the players to watch will be sophomore QB Zack Jaynes, who threw for 1,163 yards and 10 TDs, sophomore RB Quan Warley who gained 672 yards, and junior wide out Marquet Pittman who led the lead with 571 receiving yards. Still, 2 of the projected starting 5 offensive linemen for Coach Wagner are redshirt freshmen, meaning the Commodore front 7 should have chances to get into the backfield before anything is able to develop.

On defense, there are 3 players to watch. First, senior linebacker Adrian McLeod was one of only 4 players in the conference to record 100+ tackles. A relative strength for the Catamounts will be their secondary, which led the conference in pass defense in 2008. The secondary is anchored by safeties Mitchell Bell and Chris Collins (who forced 6 fumbles last season).

Bottom Line: Western Carolina is 6-28 since 2006. This is a team Vanderbilt should handle, and handle early. Commodores 38 – WCU 16

LSU: While the USA Today Coaches Poll has LSU ranked #9 entering the season, the preseason previews are split on just how good LSU will be. While Lindy’s thinks Les Miles’ Tigers will be the class of the SEC West, Athlon has the boys from Baton Rogue finishing third behind Alabama and Ole Miss. The Sporting News splits the difference, picking LSU to finish second. Regardless of where the Tigers are expected to finish, what is clear is that LSU will (as always) be very good. The Tigers' 2008 8-5 record is somewhat deceiving. They lost late at Arkansas 34-31 in the final game of the regular season, and went down in overtime to Alabama 27-21 in Baton Rogue. They weren’t competitive against Ole Miss, Florida, or Georgia losing those 3 games by a combined 62 points (including a 30 point stomping in Gainesville), and were not nearly as dominate as they had been in years past (remember how Troy was up 31-10 in the 4th quarter before giving up 30 straight points?) Still, it’s still LSU, and if nothing else, they will always be quick and athletic. It’s not clear which sophomore, Jordan Jefferson or Jarrett Lee, will start at QB. Lee, the more conventional drop-back quarterback, is probably a better match-up for the Commodores, especially given his penchant for throwing INTs (last year, LSU had 7 INTs go pick-6). Whoever the QB is will be well protected by senior left tackle Ciron Black. A mind-blowing 6’5, 325 lbs., Black has started in 40 consecutive games.The strength of the LSU offense is senior running back Charles Scott, who last year averaged 5.4 yard a carry, gained 1,174 rushing yards, and scored 18 touchdowns. Adding to LSU’s dynamic offense is senior wide out Brandon LeFell who led the SEC in receptions last season (63) while gaining 929 yards and catching 8 TDs.

LSU brought in Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis to run a unit that some felt had fallen off. The defense is sure to have a new look under Chavis, which included moving 6’2, 205 lbs. senior Larry Coleman from strong safety to linebacker in the spring. LSU has 3 solid linebackers, as well as a secondary that (despite the shift of Coleman) has big play potential. Sophomore Patrick Patterson started the final four games of last season at cornerback and electrified fans after ending the spring game with a 69 yard pick six. Senior Chris Hawinks, who led the team in INTs last season, will line up on the other end and is also expected to be a difference-maker. The defensive line only returns 1 starter after having a disappointing season last year.

Bottom Line: Winning a night game in Baton Rogue is one of the toughest things to do in college football. LSU is very talented and will probably be zeroing in on the Commodores sooner than they otherwise would have given they open the season at Washington, a team that went 0-12 last season. While the Tigers have not always been the most disciplined team in America, it’s possible they are just too talented and athletic for Vanderbilt to handle. We think the game will be closer than most, but even we can’t predict the Commodores getting a win on the Bayou. LSU 27 – Vanderbilt 17

Mississippi State: Vanderbilt’s loss in Starkville last season was one of the most disappointing of the season. Luckily, the Commodores get a shot at revenge as the Bulldogs travel to Nashville on the third week of the season. Florida’s Offensive Coordinator Dan Mullen replaces Sylvester Croom as the head coach of Mississippi State, who is hoping to breathe life into an offense that gained an anemic 24 yards in the Bulldogs 45-0 loss to Ole Miss that undoubtedly sealed Sly’s fate. Mullen is planning to implement a spread offense, but it remains to be seen whether senior Tyson Lee is the right guy to run it. It’s possible that by week 3 (especially depending on how weeks 1 and 2 go) true freshman Tyler Russell will be lining up under center. Senior running back Anthony Dixon flourished under Croom’s West Coast system, and is sure to be a big part of the Bulldog’s new offense both in the backfield and as a receiver. The biggest problem for Mississippi State is their dearth of receivers. Senior Brandon McRae led the team with 51 catches and 518 yards last year, but missed spring practice with a broken leg. Athlon describes McRae as a “possession receiver,” which is somewhat antithetical to the high-flying offense Mullen likes to run. The Bulldogs signed 7 wide receivers, and Mullen has already said he doesn’t plan to redshirt anyone. Many (if not all) these freshmen will be on the field at some point against Vanderbilt. The Bulldog offensive line gave up 37 sacks last year, and returns all 5 starters.

Mississippi State only returns 2 starters on the defensive side of the ball. The players to watch aer JUCO transfer DE Pernell McPhee (6’3, 275 lbs.) who has been dubbed a “sack machine,” and senior linebacker Jamar Chaney. The linebackers are the strongest and deepest unit on either side of the ball, while the secondary lost their best DB Derek Pegues along with SS Keith Fitzhugh. Senior Marcus Washington started all 12 games last season at DB and is not terrible, still this is a unit the Commodores will need to exploit if they are going to get back above .500.

Bottom Line: Mississippi State is in a rebuilding process and it’s not clear they have all the pieces they need. Dan Mullen had one of the funest (yes, we know it's not a real word) jobs in America over the past few years as the talent around him. If the Commodores are going bowling again, this is a “must-win.” Vanderbilt 24 – Mississippi State 17

Rice: Despite going 10-3 last season, including a win over Western Michigan in the Texas Bowl, Rice is picked 6th in the western division of Conference USA. Why the fall? Graduation. Quarterback Chase Clement's 4,119 passing yards and 44 touchdowns (and just 7 INTs) are gone. Jarrett Dillard and James Casey's combined 198 receptions, 1,639 receiving yards, and 33 TDs are also no more. So who is going to fill the void? That's not entirely clear. While coach David Bailiff did not to settle on a quarterback during the spring (sound familiar?), Rice does have 3 solid receivers in seniors Toren Dixon and Corbin Smiter, and junior Patrick Randolph. Neither quarterback has much experience. John Thomas Shepherd is a senior, but his only start came as a freshman. Alabama transfer Nick Fanuzzi is a sophomore and was dazzling one day and inconsistent another during spring ball. Rice's offense averaged 33.3 points and 450 yards a game, but only 5 starters from that team are returning.

Coach Bailiff thinks the defense will be improved, with 6 starters returning, including a DE, Cheta Ozougwa, with all-conference potential. Rice runs a 4-2-5 offensive scheme, which means the linebackers have a lot of ground to cover. This could be a big game for Brandon Barden. The 5 man secondary returns 3 starters, including free safety Andrew Sendejo, who led the team in tackles despite missing 3 games (speaking volumes about just how bad last year's defense was, does it?).

Bottom Line: When Rice hosts Vanderbilt at the end of September, it will be their home opener. Before Vanderbilt goes to town, the Owls will have already made trips to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, which means the Commodores, by comparison, won't exactly be intimidating. This is another "must win" if Vanderbilt wants to make it 2 straight bowl games. Still, this is Rice's first home game and this strikes us as a game that could trip up the Commodores, especially with Ole Miss coming to town the next week. Vanderbilt wins, but it'll be a nail-bitter (sorry those in VSL Nation getting married or attending). Vanderbilt 31 - Rice 23

Ole Miss: If the Mississippi State game was the "one that got away," Vanderbilt's 24-17 win in Oxford was the gift that kept on giving. Ole Miss committed 6 turnovers, including a fumble on the goal line that would have tied the game. Ole Miss is good, and you can be sure their trip to Nashville is a game the Rebels have circled after last season's debacle. TSN has Ole Miss ranked #1 in the West, Athlon thinks they'll finish 2nd, with Lindy's giving Ole Miss the pre-season bronze. The USA Today Coaches Poll ranks Ole Miss 10 going into the season. As a prototypical, drop-back quarterback, I think Jevan Sneed is best in the conference (yes, I said it). Perhaps even scarier is Sneed's primary target, senior Dexter McCluster, to say nothing of senior wideout Shay Hodge. Houston Nutt's Rebels averaged 32 points a game last season, and return almost all their playmakers. The biggest hole on the offensive line is at left tackle after Michael Orr was selected in the NFL Draft. Sophomore Bradley Sowell and top flight recruit Bobbie Massie (who Nutt lured awary from Bama) are expected battle to replace Oher. Massie is a beast at 6'7, 345 lbs., but then again, so is Sowell at 6'7, 310 lbs. The knock on Sowell is that he lack of toughness, so don't be surprised to Massie starting by week 3 if the coaches aren't happy with the sophomore.

The Rebs have perhaps an equally big hole to fill on the defensive line with the departure of First Team All-American defensive tackle Peria Jerry. Despite the loss of Jerry, the defensive line is talented, deep, and anchored by DE Greg Hardy. The linebacking unit lost their top 2 tacklers, and the Oxford faithful will look to senior Patrick Trahan to step up big. While 3 of last year's 4 starters in the secondary return, this unit's pass coverage was definitely the Achilles Heel for the Rebels defense. The secondary seems to have gotten as much ink in the police blotter as it did for it's development.

Bottom Line: Ole Miss is undoubtedly pissed about losing last year to the Commodores in Oxford. This is certainly a game many on the team have been looking forward to. Still, there is hope for Commodore fans. The Rebels don't have a particularly difficult schedule before coming to Nashville (at Memphis, SE Louisiana, and a Thursday night game at South Carolina), which means the team won't really have been tested. Add to that, the fact that Ole Miss will host Alabama the week after the Vanderbilt game, and there is certainly a potential for the Rebs to look past the Commodores (in spite of last year's loss). Containing Ole Miss' offense will not be easy given the multitude of weapons the already creative Nutt has at his disposal. This should be a great game, but given all the talent Ole Miss has, it's difficult for us to see Vanderbilt winning this one. Ole Miss 34 - Vanderbilt 27

Army: This game marks the first ever VSL Road Trip, and one we are very excited about. The Alumni Association is also pulling out all the stops, including organizing a boat ride/booze cruise up the Hudson before the game. For more information, click here. Army was 3-9 last year, prompting the brass to hire first year head coach Rich Ellerson. Upon his arrival, Ellerson implemented the triple-option offense and, according to TSN, "a defensive version of the University of Arizona's 'Desert Storm' from two decades ago." The defense is predicated on speed and ability to hit (although in fairness, what defense isn't?) As we've seen with Navy, the academy teams are never going to have the big uglies other Division I schools will. Both the offense and defense Coach Ellerson brought with him from Cal Poly appear well suited to the realities of an academy program. How good Army will be is anyone's guess. Starting QB, junior Chip Bowden returns, as do last year's starting receivers Ali Villanueva and Damion Hunter, and running backs Ian Smith and Patrick Mealy. While we'll wax poetic and offer information like we actually know what we're talking about for most team's, we won't do the same with Army, because really, who's kidding who?

Bottom Line: This is another "must win" game if Vanderbilt is going bowling. If Vanderbilt is really taking that next step, this is a game that can't get away. West Point is beautiful in the fall and if you've actually read this much of our preview, chances are you a huge Commodore fan. Take Friday off and head to the big city and spend Saturday with (some of) VSL Nation in West Point. Vanderbilt 38 - Army 20

Georgia: As many of you know, there is a special place in the heart of at least two VSL contributor's for the Dawgs of Georgia, Over the past few years, UGA and Vanderbilt have had some really good games (including Vanderbilt's win in Athens a few years back). While Vanderbilt has still be on the losing end more often than not, Georgia always appears to be a game the Commodores get up for. The Bulldogs, despite entering the season ranked #13 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, lost a tremendous amount since we last saw them. The defections to the NFL by QB Matthew Stafford (who appears to be enjoying himself in the upper midwest as much as he did in college and RB Knowsheon Mareno will completely change the potency of the offense. Add to those already large holes the departures of WR Mohamed Massaquoi, LB Dannell Ellerbe, and CB Asher Allen, and you have a team that will look dramatically different than last year's squad. Still, this is still Georiga, and they will still be good. The player to watch on offense is sophomore WR A.J. Green, who led the team in receiving yards with 963, and was tied for the most TD receptions with 8 as a true freshman. 4 of 5 offensive linemen return, and Athlon thinks this is the year UGA has a dominant offensive line. Who that dominate line will be protecting is still not entirely clear, although the odds on favorite is 5th year senior Joe Cox will get the nod. On defense, the Dawgs return 6 starters, incuding linebacker Rennie Curran who led the team with 115 tackles last season. Georgia will also get the services fo DT Jeff Owens, who missed almost the entirty of last season after gonig down to injury in the first quarter of the first game.

Bottom Line: It always seems the Georgia/Vanderbilt game comes between UGA's match-ups with Tennessee and Florida. That has the benefit of making this another game that a team could look past. Still, given Vanderbilt's improvement, the no-nonsense nature of Mark Richt, and the fact UGA has a bye before heading to the Cocktail Party (we don't care what anyone says, it will always be the cocktail party to us), don't expect Georgia to come to Nashville unprepared. According to Bobby's Father-in-Law, Georgia is going to be "terrible" this year. While we think that's an overstatement, we do think this is a game the Commodores can win. Vanderbilt 17 - UGA 13

South Carolina: Vanderbilt has beaten the Gamecocks in each of the last two seasons, a fact that never ceases to bring a smile to our faces give the Ol' Ball Coaches proclamations during his first interview as the Redskins Head Coach. While it seems pretty clear that Florida and Georgia will be the class of the SEC East, where the other 4 finish is not at all obvious. Vanderbilt's trip to Columbia could have serious implications on that front. Steve Spurrier has never been able to find the QB he needed to run his offense in South Carolina. The question going into this season is whether true sophomore Stephen Garcia can finally be the guy. Garcia was a respectable 65-122 last season, but threw 8 INTs compared to just 6 TDs. With Chris Smelley transfering to play baseball at Alabama, the #2 spot probably falls to true freshman Alshon Jeffery. The Cocks offense had a difficult time running the ball last season, averaging just 94.1 yard a game, good enough for 112th out of 119 in Division I. South Carolina runs a 1 back set out of the shotgun, and will feature power running junior Brian Maddox and freshman Jarvis Giles, who according to Athlon, gives the Ol' Ball Coach a "breakaway threat" based on his play in the spring after graduating early and enrolling in January. South Carolina only has 3 starters returning on offense, including 2 offensive linemen. A team that was anemic at times on offense last year isn't likely to be much better this season.

The defense is the Gamecocks strength, which includes LB Eric Norwood, one of a handful of players who could possibly be named SEC Defensive Player of the Year. South Carolina lost LB Jasper Brinkley, but do return 5 starters. The player to watch on defense besides Norwood is freshman cornberback Stephen Gilmore, who was another player to graduate early and join the Gamecocks for practice in the spring. He was a Parade All-American, and at 6'1, 188 lbs. already has a Division I corner's body.

Bottom Line: This is a big day for the VSL family, and not because of game in South Carolina. Seamus takes the plunge at 6 which means Bobby and Staminal (Seamus has expressed no opinion whatsoever) are praying for an early, televised start. South Carolina's offense is probably not goingt to be that good and will have to rely heavily on their defense. It would seem the defense's best hope is freshman RB Jarvis Giles, as the team doesn't appear to have that many other weapons. Vanderbilt will have to contain him and LB Eric Norwood, although that is certainly easier said than done. Still, from where we sit, Vanderbilt is a better team that South Carolina heading into the season. We can't think of a better way for Seamus and the newly minted misses to start their lives together than with a win. Vanderbilt 24 - South Carolina 16

Georgia Tech: When Vanderbilt scheduled this game a few years back, it's doubtful they expected to be facing such an dangerous and offensively potent team. Unfortunately, the Commodores Halloween date with the Ramblin' Wreck will not be the cake walk their other 3 out of conference games should be. Why? Two words: Triple Option. Second year head coach Paul Johnson brought the triple-option offense with him from Navy and took the ACC by storm last season, finishing 9-4, including a 45-42 win in Athens that Bobby's father-in-law still hasn't fully recovered from. The Tech attack is anchored by junior quarterback Josh Nesbitt and running back Jonathan Dwyer. Dwyer is probably the best running back the Commodores will face all season. The 6'0, 228 lbs. junior rushed for 1,395 yards on 200 carries last season, averaging 7 yards per carry and 107.3 yard per game. Making matters worse for opponents, after shedding 10 pounds this off-season, Dwyer is poised to be in better shape than he was last year. TSN thinks Nesbitt is the best running QB in the ACC, which he'd have to be given his accuracy struggles last season (completing just 43.9% of his passes). Still, Johnson's offense is primarily a running attack and Nesbitt will (probably) not be asked to win games with his arm.

Georgia Tech returns 17 starters from last year's team. With that said, the unit to watch is the defensive line, which lost 3 of 4 starters from a year ago. Another area of concern for Johnson might be the offensive line, which lost All-ACC tackle Andrew Gardner and David Brown from last year's unit. The defense is solid, with senior cornerback Morgan Burnett earing pre-season All-American honors from several outlets including TSN and Lindy's.

Bottom Line: Any time a team does something completely different, they are difficult to prepare for. Add talent to unfamiliarity, and there is reason to be concerned. Vanderbilt will have a chance to scheme for the triple option when they play Army, but what they see in West Point, will not compare to what Tech has to offer. Like Vanderbilt, the Yellow Jackets will not have had a week off when they come to Nashville, which means both teams will likely be showing some signs of wear and tear. It's also possible that Tech will be looking past Vanderbilt to their November 7th match-up with Wake Forest (especially if they beat the Hokies and find themselves in the driver's seat for 1st in the ACC Costal). Still Georgia Tech enters the season ranked 11th in the country by The Sporting News, 16 by Lindy's, and 22 in both Athlon's the USA Today Coaches Poll. Vanderbilt won't have the luxury of preparing for Tech until the week before with big SEC East matches against Georgia and South Carolina, which makes their triple-option that much more dangerous. Georgia Tech 31 - Vanderbilt 20

Florida: Going to the swamp is never fun. The fact that Tim Tebow and 19 other starters from last year's National Championship team will be lining up makes the trip that much more ominious. Florida is very, very good. One of the only things the rest of the country has going for it is that they know how good they are. They might have lost Percy Harvin (who torched the Commodores in Nashville last year), but Florida is a team who personfies "reloading." On the defensive side of the ball, LB Brandon Spikes is scary good, as is DL Jermaine Cunningham and DB Joe Harden.

Bottom Line: If your looking for a football free Saturday, this might be it. We don't mean to sound too pesimsitic, but the Gators have become the 800 lbs. of college football. With all the talent they have returning, there is no reason to expect that trend to end this season. If ever there was a game that Commodore fans should be looking for a "good showing," this would seem to be it. Florida 49 - Vanderbilt 21

Kentucky: The dynamic offense that the Kentucky Wildcats put on the field in 2006 and 2007 was not on display last year. Losing Andre Woodson was a big reason for the drop off. UK hopes junior QB Mike Hartline, who started in 6 of Kentucky's 7 wins last season, is the answer, although the line on Hartline is that he's more of a "game manager" than a playmaker. UK also has two touted freshmen joining the squad in Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski. If Hartline isn't getting it done (or UK's season is a bust), don't be surpised to see one or both of these guys lining up under center. UK lost the services of RB Tony Dixon, and have converted Randall Cobb from QB to WR. While Brooks hinted that Cobb's services might be employed in a Wildcat formation, don't expect to see him behind center too often. The offensive line, which has 3 starters returning, will need to improve from last season if the Wildcats are going to resemble the 2006 or 2007 teams. As of right now, the team doesn't appear (perhaps with the exception of Cobb in a Wildcat formation) to have a "big play" threat, although JUCO transfer WR Chris Matthews, at 6'5, 210 lbs., very well might turn out to be the threat the Wildcats currently don't seem to have. If UK can't find a way to stretch the field, their offense should be relatively easy to contain.

Kentucky's defense was their strength last season, and if they are going to make their 4th straight bowl game, they'll need it to be this year as well. A team that was 35th in scoring defense last season, returns 4 starters including DE Jeremy Jarmon (who is 3rd on UK's All-Time sack list), MLB Micah Johnson, and CB Trevard Lindley, heralded by some as the SEC's best cover-corner. All 3 players flirted with the NFL before deciding to come back to Lexington. Another player to watch is sophomore Winston Guy, who moved from corner to safety in the spring with much success.

Bottom Line: Vanderbilt had to beat UK to get bowl eligible last year, and they'll have to do the same this year as far as we're concerned. There are a lot of similarities between the Commodores in the Wildcats both in terms of rising from the doldrums of the SEC, but also in what the teams' strengths and weaknesses are. Both teams have very good defenses, but enter the season with a lot of questions on the offensive side of the ball. A game Vandbilt has to have, we think they'll get it down in November. Vanderbilt 23 - UK 13

Tennessee: It seems as if Lane Kiffin's mouth hasn't stopped since being installed as the UT head coach. We are finally close to seeing if son of Monte (the team's new defensive coordinator) can actually coach. After the Volunteers finally got fed up with Fulmer, they turned their beloved program over to the boy wonder, who as far as we're concerned isn't all that wonderful. Kiffin has had a charmed career (even after being dismissed by Al Davis) without many tangible results. While he has certainly won the award for coach generating the most ink in the SEC (and in a conference with guys like Meyer, Saban, Spurrier and Petrino, that is saying something), whether than translates to wins on the gridiron remains to be seen. Picked to finish either 3rd or 4th depending on the preseason preview you read, UT is definitely a wildcard in the SEC East.

While the Volunteer defense is poised to be very good, many questions surround an offense that finished 115th in total yards and 110th in scoring last season. Returning 7 offensive starters, including 4 of 5 O-linemen, the unit should be better. The question on Rocky Top, is what QB will be able to get the job done? Senior Jonathan Crompton is penciled in as QB1 but will certainly feel some pressure from junior Nick Stephens for the starting nod. UT's anticipated running back is senior Montario Hardesty who, according to Lindy's "runs hard but has been injury prone." While the Volunteers already had some depth in the backfield with sophomore Tauren Poole and freshman Toney Williams, Volunteer fans are buzzing about Bryce Brown, the nation's #1 recruit. The Volunteers receiving corp was pretty anemic last season and will need to get more production from Gerald Jones and Austin Rogers. Jones led the team last year with 30 catches last year while Rogers went from 56 catches in 2007 to 14 in 2008. Teams will have to watch out for junior Denarius Moore, who averaged 24.6 yards per catch, but only caught 11 balls in 2008.

UT's defense is definitely their strength. The anchor of the UT defense is safety Eric Barry, who is being pimped (mostly by Vols Nation) for Heisman consideration. Monte Kiffin was one of (if not the best) defensive coordinators in the NFL, so imagine how much college coaches don't want to see daddy dearest with a headset next to junior on Rocky Top. UT's two corners have experience, with Brent Vinson having started in 2007 and Dennis Rogan startting in 2008. The DEs are set with Chris Walker being described as "unblockable" by junior. The interior of UT's defensive linemen are hold overs from last season with Dan Williams and Wes Brown returning, but are a question mark. Brown was converted from DE to tackle, while Williams had 8.5 sacks last season. Senior Rico McCoy returns at LB after leading the team in tackles last year with 87. Who else will fill out that unit is still very much in the air.

Bottom Line: As I said above, UT is definitely the biggest wildcard in the SEC East. This is a game that Vanderbilt fans care about more than Volunteer fans because we hate them and they don't think we belong in the SEC. This is Vanderbilt's last game of the season which means they are sure to leave it all on the line. How much they have to "leave" after 11 straight games is another question altogether. The Commodores should be flirting with bowl eligibilty this season, but regardless of whether this gets the team to 6 wins or not, if healthy, this is a game Commodore fans should expect to win (even if it's in Knoxville). Vanderbilt 27 - Tennessee 23

VSL Prediction: Vanderbilt 8-4 (5-3 in conference)

For those laughing, ESPN.com's Chris Low thinks Vanderbilt could be bowl bound.

SECRivals Editor Darrell Owenby is decidedly less optimistic

4 comments:

Bob Loblaw said...

Great writeup, way better than mine. The big question Vandy's going to have to answer this year is "how does the offense score points." If the coaches figure out the answer, then I think a lot of your predictions may be true, switching a few wins for losses and vice versa. But if the 'Dores can't find a way to put up numbers on the scoreboard, things get a lot dicier. Good luck and have a good season.

vandygold28 said...

where is the BIG road win we get every year? surely not usc or ut is considered this considering our recent defeats against usc and being much more competitive and ut having down years. last year you could say it was ole miss or uk with the 6th win coming in lexington. but i'd say ole miss seeing as how they had a fantastic year and were the only team to beat florida. before that it was usc. but that was then. in 2006 we beat uga and no one can forget 2005 can they? ut and arkansas. that year makes me sick losing to mtsu, florida in 2OT, and uk. that should've been the team to end the drought.

any ways, i think we get one big road win this year that no one expects. one team that doesn't believe in us. one team, even though it is their home opener, even though it's at night, and even though it never rains, will fall to the 'dores unexpectedly. i tell you now, it's going to happen.

wcu - W (38-15)
lsu - W (41-38)
miss st - W (10-7)
rice - L (17-31)
ole miss - L (6-52)
army - W (27-17)
georgia - L (31-35)
usc - L (3-28)
georgia tech - W (24-13)
florida - L (21-59)
kentucky - W (28-27)
tennessee - L (16-17)

i think this accurately reflects a vanderbilt season. 6-6 to go par with last year's team and in my eyes achieve what they can. beating lsu and going 3-0 everyone will hop on the vandy wagon. then, just as quickly as we started we fall down losing to rice on the road (typical vandy - gotta think this way when predicting our schedules). we come home disappointed and ole miss beats us badly getting their revenge and some. we take it to army but come back and lose a close game to uga. the cocks get us back as well and our disappointment with the team grows. we come home and surprise all again and beat the yellow jackets. we keep it close with florida in the first half but come mid 3rd quarter we get smoked. once again, we get our 6th against the wild cats at home and then head to knoxville to lose another nail biter. this sounds like a true vandy season to me where we'll be thinking, "if only we had beat rice and won that close georgia and/or ut game we could've been so good...."

Anonymous said...

On a completely unrelated note did anyone read Andy Katz's piece on Stallings?

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4391834&name=katz_andy

Last time I say anything bad about that man.

Joseph said...

UGA at homecoming? who do we think we are?