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SATURDAY TAILGATE - CHARLESTON SOUTHERN

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Saturday Tailgate is here to tell you what games are actually worth watching this week.

Our offense: now with Vitamin R.
Our offense: now with Vitamin R.

Another week come and gone, and that means it's time for another SATURDAY TAILGATE!  Also, this is the the place to talk about non-Vanderbilt games during the day, so have at it.

AoG WEEK IN REVIEW

I still haven't watched the curbstomping we received at the hands of the Dawgs.  I was busy last Saturday, and it's really just been sitting there on the DVR all week.  The game featured all sorts of horror shows, from Gurley throwing a 50-yard touchdown pass (yes, you read that right) to Stephen Rivers once again making ridiculous desperation throws.  Capping the night off was a fourth down play where Rivers got the play call wrong and ended up throwing a pick-6.  As they lined up, the coaches noticed it was wrong, but didn't call timeout.

VandyImport said it best, that's just simply unacceptable.  Not just that, the fact that in the post game, Mason put it on his offensive guys for not calling timeout when he saw something was wrong.  That really is worrysome.  Personally, I'm all for calling people out on their mistakes, but as VI says, the way it was handled implied that Mason didn't think the buck stopped with him on that one.  Granted, to be fair to Coach Mason, he did later in the week take responsibility.  So maybe we can chalk that up to our now all-too-familiar knowledge of how well this staff handles the press.

VU04 held a vote here and the results are clear.  The majority of y'all agree - something must be done.  While some of us believe that you need to give a coaching staff two-three years to show what they got, most of us believe that some shake up is necessary.  The majority of us pin the anemic (to put it nicely) offense on Coach Dorrell.  This is nothing personal against the man, as every impression I've gotten from him is that he's a fantastic person... but I'm sincerely worried about the direction of this offense.  We all understand that we're playing 31 freshmen on this team, and there's woes associated with that.  The problem, however, is there's nothing for us to really point to as a reason to think we're going to get better.

To be fair to Coach Dorell, however, our QB situation is horrendous.  Patton is still out, and as he's had two concussions already this year, I wouldn't be surprised if he is out for the year.  Wade Freebeck is young and has a ton of potential, but his youth is very evident.  Then there's Stephen Rivers who as CDA put it, gives us no faith he can handle the position.  The man has shown us time and again that he makes game-changingly horrific decisions and his body language is suspect to say the least.  Finally, barely on the depth charts, we have Johnny McCrary.  We've had some interesting guesses as to what's going on with him but there's definitely something afoot.  Because no matter how bad our situations have been, the coaches aren't putting him in.  Your guess is as good as mine.

That really covers the week at AoG.  We've just been trying to make sense of this disaster of a season, and much of it has been said already.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Last week was phenomenal.  As Alec Lewis over at TSK pointed out, last Saturday defined why we love College Football.  It wasn't just the upsets, it was the complete and total pageantry.  If you couldn't get teary-eyed watching at least one of the insane games last weekend, I don't know what to tell you.  Eleven of the top-25, and THREE OF THE TOP FOUR lost last week.  Incredible.  There were so many upsets to keep track of that even I (who watch at least 4-5 games a Saturday) didn't catch them all.  Here's what I did catch though:

  • I already covered #2 Oregon losing to Arizona in last week's Tailgate.
  • #11 Fightin' Ackbars 23 - The Galactic Empire Alabama 17. Last week, I hoped that the Rebs would be able to destroy the Death Star of Alabama, and they did not disappoint. The game did not start easy for the Rebels either, going into the half down 14-3. Even as the Rebels started to draw closer in the third quarter, it seemed like Bama would once again hold out and we'd once again be robbed of nice things. The merciless Alabama attack was on the move. Bo Wallace, however, was flawless (as was the entire Rebs team) in the fourth. The tieing touchdown with 5 and a half minutes left changed everything. Alabama fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Rebels capitalized immediately. Bo threw his third touchdown of the half a little over a minute later. Still, evil was not to go away so easy. Bama marched back down the field... but then Mississippi's Senquez Golson picked off Blake Sims on a call that would be reviewed, and correctly called a pick.
  • #12 Mississippi State 48 - #6 Texas A&M 31. I've been a big fan of State's QB Dak Prescott for a while now. Saturday, however, he really proved himself to be amongst the best. The Aggies marched right down the field to score on their first drive, State responded with one of their own. While Clanga certainly had a few mistakes early on, they controlled the game from there on out. State was up 24 points for all but 90 seconds of the third quarter, and went up to a 31 point lead with 10 minutes left in the game. Don't be fooled by the two very late (garbage time) TDs by Aggie, State completely destroyed Aggie Saturday.
  • Arizona State 38 - #16 So. California 34. I was watching this game with a friend of mine who doesn't watch a lot of college football. After maybe like two drives, this friend looked at me and said, "Wow, you're right, Pac-12 football is horrendous." This was really a hard game to watch, especially after the two exciting games that lead into it. The game just seemed to move in slow motion to me personally. I'm really pissed off at myself though for turning this game off. For with only 3 minutes left, and USC up 9, it seemed not worth subjecting myself to the end. I wish I had, because ASU threw two touchdowns to complete an impossible comeback. The final pass is the thing of movies... Jaelen Strong said after the game that he blacked out and doesn't even remember catching the ball. He ran so hard to get the catch that he blacked out.
Other Games To Be Aware of:

#25 TCU scraped out a win over #4 Oklahoma, #10 Michigan State defeated #19 Nebraska, and NORTHWESTERN DEFEATED #17 WISCONSIN! I saw not one snap of these games, not even on sportscenter.  Still, I have to say, all these upsets is the sort of thing that makes college football so amazing.

#8 UCLA was toppled by the Utes by a last moment FG.  The loss may have something to do with the fact that the Utes got to the UCLA QB TEN TIMES. I really feel for the UCLA kicker though.  He was forced to try a 55-yard FG, missed... but was given another shot due to a "controversial" (see: bullshit) running-into-the-kicker call.  He then missed again (from 50).  Fortunately for him, the Bruins screwed up too much to just blame it on that.

There was no game in Auburn, AL.  Les Miles went to go manage a Dairy Queen.  Punch was served.  Check with LSU.

THERE'S OTHER FOOTBAW

So, once again the SEC West gives us the games to watch this week.  FSU plays ‘Cuse, so barring a miracle, there's no point in keeping track of that game.  If you want an early game, you can watch that or

  • #13 Georgia - #23 Missouri - 12:00 ET (11:00 ET). You have no other reasonable options for the noon game. Well, if you're an FSU fan, or if you have some sort of interest in watching the Red River Shootout in a terrible year, you go right ahead and do that. Missouri, however, could not have asked for a better turn of events this week. In case you missed it, Todd Gurley is suspended indefinitely for allegedly signing things for money. How this is somehow different from JFF signing thousands of footballs "for free" (lol if you believe that he did it for free) is not the point. What is the point is UGA is without their Heisman RB and has little time to prepare as the suspension came down Thursday. Missouri could very take advantage here.
  • #2 Auburn @ #3 Mississippi State - 15:30 ET (14:30 CT). Do I really have to justify this game? Seriously? Look, I know there are other top-25 options going on here. Sure, you could watch #12 Oregon at #18 UCLA, but why? Because Pac-12 football makes you nostalgic for taking a date to you HS Friday games? I could at least MAYBE understand watching #9 TCU @ #5 Baylor, because Baylor is just proving they are here to stay. That said, I propose the following question - Why did they schedule another top-10 matchup at the same time? Answer - there's more important SEC games to put on at those times.
  • #7 Bama @ Arkansas - 18:00 ET (17:00 CT). This is the only top 25, the only SEC game really going on with a 1800 start. Not only that, Arkansas somehow has shown itself to be quite good this year. AND Ramajamma is reeling from last week. ALSO Bama would have lost to Florida if Florida wasn't so incompetent after forcing so many turnovers. Bama looks VERY beatable this year, despite its incredible defense.
  • #3 Mississippi @ #14 Texas A&M - 21:00 ET (20:00 CT). Same story as the Auburn - State game son. If you're near a TV, there's simply no excuse here. Can Aggie bounce back after State's demolition last weekend? Or, will the fighting Ackbars build on their momentum after beating Bama? I'm pulling for both Mississippi teams at this point, because can you imagine an Egg Bowl where the winner goes to the SECCG? Holy cow.
  • PAC-12 DEGENERATE LATE GAME OF THE WEEK: USC @ #10 Arizona. USC has now lost twice this season, giving us all a well-deserved year without hearing about how wonderful they are. Arizona now has pulled off two amazing last-second victories and really looks like that kind of "team of destiny" in the FBS high school conference Pac-12. It's the game to turn to when the Rebs-Aggies are done, and perhaps you'll get to see some crying Trojans fans. It'll be a good wind-down game.

DRINK HEAVILY, IT'S VU FOOTBALL TIME

So, as we all already know, we have no Patton Robinette for our homecoming game against Charleston Southern.  Further proof of my theory that Johnny Mac must be doing terribly in practice is that Stephen Rivers is our backup to Wade Freebeck.  No mention of McCrary anywhere on the depth chart at all.  Wade Freebeck at least looks like the QB of the future... if he isn't killed by a sack attack in the interim.

Do you know anything about Charleston Southern?  No, well that's good because neither did we, really.  CDA tried to make some sense of the 1-AA foes who are undefeated this year.  Here's the worry that I have (and many of you share it).  CSU runs a gun triple option.  I briefly cover what that means in our predictions for the week.  The long of the short of it is this - in order to have a good game, the defense will have to be highly disciplined.  The defense really hasn't been bad (I know I keep saying this) and I think they can handle it...

...unless the offense keeps handing the ball back to CSU.  Now, CSU is 1-AA, so in theory we should march all over them.  In theory.   In theory, we should have also beaten Temple soundly, and we all know how that turned out. CSU is going to run on us... a LOT.  So combine being left out all game AND having to defend a run-extravaganza?  Let's just say Vandy thus far has not made me confident.  The other AoG writers tend to share my attitude:

  • CDA: Vanderbilt 34 - Charleston Southern 16
  • VU04: Vanderbilt 27 - Charleston Southern 21
  • VTPhD: Vanderbilt 38 - Charleston Southern 35 (OT)
  • VandyImport: Vanderbilt 31 - Charleston Southern 27

There is no Q&A this week as it's CSU.  I'll leave you with one last tid-bit.  Vanderbilt has never lost to a 1-AA team since the distinction was established.  Granted, we had a few close calls losing to schools who had just upgraded (or were just about to downgrade), but we still technically have never done it.  That useless statistic out of the way, let's hope we don't make the bad kind of history.

GAMETIME

So we have all day to basically barely watch the 1-AA game on WatchESPN as the much more interesting games are being played on national TV.  So while you're busy not really watching this game, why don't you try Dinard'oh's Chocolate Braise Ribs?  They look absolutely delectable.

Just a reminder - the audio feed is now FREE on VUCommodores.com (link below) and starts at 17:45 ET (16:45 CT)

1-5 (0-3)

GAMETIME: 19:30 ET (18:30 CT)

LOCATION: DUDLEY FIELD, NASHVILLE TN

TV: FSN

RADIO: 1510 AM, 95.9 FM, 98.3 FM

GAMETRACKER: Click this link

AUDIO FEED (FREE): CClick this link (VUCommodores, FREE!)

VIDEO FEED: ESPN3.com (cable agreement required)

CSU

5-0 (0-0 Big South)

ANCHOR DOWN Y'ALL!