Another week come and gone, and that means it's time for another SATURDAY TAILGATE! I'm apologizing in advance for not adorning this thing with all the fancy snippet things, I simply am falling asleep as I write this now. Don't worry though, there's still my ~2500 of rambling nonsense! Enjoy!
AoG WEEK IN REVIEW
Our optimism was short lived. That team that fought so hard against a very good USC team two weeks ago did not show up in Lexington against the Wildcats. Instead, Vanderbilt definitely took a step backwards. While I originally said that we looked more like we did against UMass, that's probably not entirely fair. The defense only allowed 17 points to a team that definitely has a better offense than UMass. Once again, however, we are forced to face the reality that we really don't have much of an offense. I'm going to go ahead and argue that while the defense certainly needs work, much of it would be mitigated by a better functioning offense. Again, the defense certainly needs some work, but they're not our biggest problem. In fact, if the offense had done its job we'd have won. I'm not as pessimistic as Andrew VU'04; however, there were certainly moments where I was screaming profanities at the TV.
VandyImport and I appear to be on similar wavelengths. The defense, while they allowed 17 points in the first half, they completely shut out UK in the second. That shows good coaching and good personnel. Maybe not excellent, but once the youth factor is done with, this defensive unit is going to be BEASTLY in a year or two. The reality however, is that it appears that our gameplans have simply not been built to our strengths. Why we don't run the ball more where that is our strength is mind-boggling. On top of that, we just seemed to ignore obvious blitzes with some fakes or something.
CDA really put the anemic offense perfectly when he points our through FIVE GAMES - VU Starting QBs have ONE touchdown to Darrius Sims who now has 3. Yeah, the Darius Sims who ran back 2 last week and had a pick-6 against UK (our only TD btw). Wade Freebeck's got the growing pains you should expect from a freshman, which while understandable is not good news for Vandy fans. That said, he can hardly be blamed for everything as he (a) got lack of support from the OL, and (b) has had some REALLY confusing play calls thrown at him. Again, the fact that we are running an offense just not meant for a freshman QB with a solid RB just doesn't make any sense and again raises questions about OC Karl Dorrell's abilities.
AoG commenter VandyNOVA did some ~actual investigative journalism~ and found out a few things about our OC. He asks the question whether it's entirely fair of us to demonize Dorrell as much as we do. Non-football stuff first - Dorrell and Mason's wives were college roomates. This, coupled with the already well-known mentor-player bond that we are familiar with Mason-Dorrell having, really strengthens the argument that Dorrell will simply not be released unless VCDW completely cleans house. Now for the football stuff - he dug up an old article from our UCLA sister site kind of laughing at our complaints. That is, our complaints are the same ones they had at UCLA. Above all else, I have to say that I agree with VandyNOVA in one regard - let's give the man some time. I share all y'all's frustration here, but the man isn't some evil supervillain. He's got a very very young staff, and while I wish the playcalling was better, maybe there's a method to the madness that I'm not seeing. I'll leave you with a video of him in his own words.
One final thing - Andrew VU'04 started a fun "parents night" thread where we all kind of came to the same conclusion. While we all had different frustrations, and there was a definite gradient to the kinds of responses, it all boiled down to one fundamental issue - what's the plan going forward. Ultimately, a lot of us would be more comfortable with these games (and losses) if we had some idea that these were expected and there's a definite plan in place.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
I'm going to once again point out that if you listened to me last week, you'd once again have had some awesome games to watch. Granted, calling the top-25 games as the ones to watch is kinda obvious. Also yeah, the Southern Cal - Oregon State game wasn't so great, but I can hardly be blamed for a Pac-12 game being crap. Let's get down to the games that you should be aware of.
#1 FSU 56 - NCSU 41. I think it's time we accepted the fact that FSU is this year's "team of destiny" (TM). Every year, there's one team in the playoff discussion that somehow manages to win game after game after game. You expect their luck to eventually run out, but their talent overcomes it every time. FSU once again did it against NC State, escaping being down as much as 24-7 at one point to the Wolfpack. Even when the Noles got up as much as 11 points, NCSU never gave up, picking off a Winston pass and unfortunately having to settle for a FG. The good news is FSU looks very vulnerable against the pass, giving up ~360 yards to Jacoby Brissett (32/48, 3 TD, 0 INT). Even more good news - NCSU set a record for points scored against a #1 as an unranked team. The bad news is, FSU keeps finding ways to survive. Team of destiny? Sorry "Your Uncle Mike".
#12 Georgia 35 - Tennessee 32. I warn'd ya, DIDN' I war'n YA'? DEM HEDGES WERE FORGED BY LUCIFER HIMSELF!!! The story you've probably heard is that Heisman future-finalist Todd Gurley ran right over the Tennessee DL for 208 yards and 2 TDs, including one 50+ yarder. (YOU BETTER BE TAKING NOTES COACH DORRELL!) What that doesn't tell you is that the Vols started like a house afire and didn't let go. The Vols scored a FG within the first 3 and half minutes of the game, quickly forced a punt, and got right back down field to go up 10-0. By the 10 minute mark, the fans in Athens were silent, and it didn't help that UGA followed with TWO 3-and-outs. While Gurley's rushing attack was the story of the day, Tennessee doomed themselves with a late fumble on their own 1, which UGA recovered for a TD. Tennessee's Justin Worley looked quite good as well, 23/35, 264 YD, 3 TD, 0 INT. So let's just say the Vols are not going to be a fun game either later this season.
Missouri 21 - #13 South Carolina 20. The chicken curse strikes again. USC slowly built a 20-7 lead by the mid 4th, a lead that caused many of us to turn to another game and mark it as another USC win. Mizzou's Maty Mauk had other plans. After an abysmal showing to start the game, throwing only 60 yards, and hitting 1/3 of his targets, Mauk literally doubled his total yards, hitting 2/3 of his targets along the way. The defense/special teams seemed to be inspired along with him, suddenly finding inspiration to not only force a 3-and-out, but to get a great punt return. If you were still watching, you could smell the upset coming as Mizzou's marched down the field, but after a 15 yard dumbass DPI that brough Mizzou down to the USC 24. USC was stunned. Four straight incomplete passes from Dylan Thompson followed. Spurdog status - not happy.
Here's something fun that got put up today that's college-football related: what teams people root for by zipcode! It's done by "facebook likes" so yeah, it's about as reliable as you're willing to trust facebook likes being a reliable cross-section of fans across the country. It's interesting nonetheless.
THERE'S OTHER FOOTBAW
So, in case you have been totally living under a rock since Thursday night, Arizona did it again. As in, not only did they shock another ranked opponent, they beat Oregon again. Thank you Arizona. Thank you so much for once again dashing the hopes and dreams of the Pac-12 menace. At least now we'll be spared the mewling at the end of the season that they deserve to be in... OH WAIT PLAYOFFS... &%*$!!!!! Mariota, who Jets fans see as a savior (lol), was sacked five times and fumbled twice which led to the hilarious loss at home for the Ducks. The most controversial part of the game was an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on Oregon for taking a bow after a 3rd and long stop on the Oregon 8. It was not a good penalty, but c'mon Oregon, you have to beat Arizona.
This seems like as good a time as any to break this gif out.
I'm going to go ahead and assume you're psychotic football fans like myself. So here's the games I'm looking at this week. If you don't like them, well screw you too buddy. You can find the full schedule here.
#6 Aggie at #12 Clanga State - 12:00 ET, ESPN. This is an AWESOME game to start the day, and you need to watch it. In a West that's seriously amazing top to bottom, I really shouldn't have to convince you that this game is going to be deafenitely awesome (see what I did there?). The second ever top 15 matchup in Davis Wade Stadium, and the Bulldogs have a ton to prove this year. While the loser can still win the West, winning this game is monumentally important. It's simply a must watch between two REALLY good football teams for the West.
#3 Roll Tahd Pawl at #11 Fightin' Ackbars - 15:30 ET, ABC. It is of no surprise that Gameday straight up said it was between this and the MSU-Aggie game this week. Both games are huge in their implications for the SEC West. No matter what Aggie wants to believe, however, they are not going to pull the kinds of viewers as Bama will, so Gameday went to Oxford. There's no other way to put it folks, we simply have to root for our friends in Mississippi this week. Let's hope the fighting Ackbars destroy the death star of Bama football.
#15 REAL TIGAS at #5 Fake Tigers - 19:00 ET, ESPN. Not to put too fine a point on it y'all, but this game decides LSU's season. I had already circled this game as a probable loss, and the loss to MSU did nothing to assuage that thought. After a HORRENDOUS start to NEW MEXICO STATE, Brandon Harris was put in and finished the game off the way it should have been. Consquently, the young QB was named the starter (much to the celebration of the LSU fans). Auburn, on the other hand, has title hopes still in view and needs to defeat LSU (and soundly) to continue their playoff bids. I really don't see this as a repeat of LSU's surprise stomping of Auburn, so you probably should let this one go unless you have something invested in it.
#19 Nebraska at #10 Michigan St. - 20:00 ET, ABC. I'm gonna be honest, I'm only listing this game because I'm giving you the next best game to watch at the primetime spot unless you're invested in the Hawaii-Rice game or something. I really haven't seen either of these guys play much football this year, but there's links if you want to know more.
PAC-12 LATE GAME OF THE WEEK: Cal at Wazzu. Your other late - game options are Utah at #8 UCLA (lol) or Boise at Nevada. At least the Cal-Wazzu game has some potential to mean something. Watch UCLA lose now that I wrote that.
PREPARE THYSELF, FOR VU FOOTBAW
So, despite what the depth chart says, we are not expected to have Patton today. Rumor mills are churning over how serious this concussion was, and the possibility that he may have even been concussed before. If this is the case, I give our coaches a lot of credit for doing the right thing and making sure the players are able to play safely. There is no need to risk permanent injury for a game, even one we love so much.
That being the case, and coupled with our general pessimism this week, we did not look kindly on the possibilities for this game. So poor is our outlook on this game, VU04 and I instead tried to out Simpson-quote each other in lieu of actually talking about the onslaught to come. Spoilers:
- CDA's call: UGA 34 - VU 13
- VU04's call: UGA 52 - VU 3
- VTPhD's call: UGA 42 - VU 10
In talking with our UGA sister site, we learn that the best UGA receivers, Justin Scott-Weley and Malcolm Mitchell are back. Yay. Oh, and Caleb Azubike, whom I love, decided to stir the hornet's nest and call out Todd Gurley. The only thing really sparing VU from the full bore Todd Gurley assault is 2 of the 3 backups to the UGA phenom are hurt and so UGA is probably gonna try to ensure he doesn't go down. The only good thing I take from our questions is that Pruitt is much more conservative in his blitzing. Not so much in WHO he blitzes, but in how many. That's good news as UK sent the house most of the damned game last week. You should also see CDA's response to our friend's questions over at Dawg Sports.
Somehow we didn't get the noon game. That means there's plenty of time to cook up Dinard'oh's latest creation: Asian Slaw Dogs and The Moscow Mule. If you're going to watch us lose horribly today, you might as well do it in style, right?
Just a reminder - the audio feed is now FREE on VUCommodores.com (link below) and starts at 14:15 ET (13:15 CT)
GAMETIME: 16:00 ET (13:00 CT)
LOCATION: SANFORD STADIUM, ATHENS GA
TV: SEC NETWORK+
RADIO: 1510 AM, 95.9 FM, 98.3 FM
GAMETRACKER: Click this link
AUDIO FEED (FREE): Click this link (VUCommodores, FREE!)
VIDEO FEED: ESPN3.com (cable agreement required)
ANCHOR DOWN Y'ALL!