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SATURDAY TAILGATE - OLD DOMINION

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What was supposed to be an easy win at the start of the year is likely to be an ordeal.

I feel you friend, I feel you.  I'll be making this face most of the game today, I wager.
I feel you friend, I feel you. I'll be making this face most of the game today, I wager.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Is it me or are the weeks getting shorter?  Like seriously, these weeks go by entirely too fast.  Time to catch up on your AoG addiction with another Saturday Tailgate!

AoG WEEK IN REVIEW

It took entirely too long to happen, but the Vanderbilt Football team showed marked improvement last week in the game against Missouri last week.  While we lost 24-14, we held on the whole game.  Partly, that was due to Missouri's incompetence, but we would should really give credit where credit is due - the team hung in there and fought tough.  A lot of that falls to Johnny Mac.

VandyImport put it best - we have our QB at last.  I also agree with VI in this important point.  We have four games left, and after last week, you have to believe all three of the games at home are winnable.  Johnny Mac showed us something that's been missing all season - an offense that works. A good deal of y'all are also upset at the 4th and 30+ punt at the end of the game.  I largely agree.  Coaches don't kneel it 32 yards out from the goal with 2 seconds left and a chance to change the outcome.  In the same way, you shouldn't concede at the end of the game unless it's obviously out of reach.  THAT SAID, I'm not terribly worked up over it.

The problem, however, is this - why did we wait so long?  Was it Mason and his staff  not seeing the talent?  Was it Johnny Mac simply not being Ready?  Was it something like the rumored transfer of Johnny holding them back?  We don't know, and we likely won't know (at least for a while).  All arguments have some reason behind them, but it doesn't sit well with me in any situation.  This should have been handled a lot sooner than it has been.

On a lighter (heavier?) note, VandyNOVA has an interesting piece about how our O-line stacks up against the rest of the SEC.  There's no question our O-line is bigger than it has ever been.  While Franklin played a huge role in that, we still need to be considerably bigger.  Realistically, we need to be on average 15-20 pounds heavier.  Is that conditioning? Is that just not putting on non-lean mass?  I don't know, but we're still considerably lighter than our conference friends.

In non-football news, you absolutely need to check out AoG's first ever Dore2Dore.   In it, CDA has a great intrerview with former PG for the Vanderbilt Commodores, Kyle Fuller.  It's got great insight into what life is like in the VU atheletics world, and really made me want to buy his book.  I know a lot of you will be happy to know one thing - VU academic advisers are tough and stay on our guys.  Commodore Tom has continued to bring us great basketball team-previews during the week, check em out!

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Personally, I was happy to spend a good portion of the day doing chores (but still keeping games within listening distance).  Yeah, there were some good games, but for the most part forgettable ones.  Let's get to the ones that were... good?? Close?  Well, not offensive anyway.

  • #5 Auburn 42 at South Carolina 35. This was a back and forth slugfest. Both teams simply went all out and were playing their best. Well, more accurately, their offenses were playing their best, their defenses were... well I don't know what they were doing. USC played worse than they played against us. Read that again, I'll wait. Seriously though, the USC defense let up 551 yards, but Auburn has no reason to gloat because they let up only 16 less. So yeah, it was a great game if you love no defense at all. If that's the case, perhaps you should become a Pac-12 fan.
  • #24 LSU 10 - #3 Mississippi 7. I most certainly had this marked as a loss for LSU before the season started. Hell, even as the game was underway, I was not optimistic about the Tigers' chances. You may have read that Bo Wallace was intercepted at the LSU 1 yard line with 2 seconds left to end the game. While that's true, it's not fair (especially as it was basically a Hail Mary play). The reality is Mississippi scored once all game, but for the most part the LSU defense was very... LSU. Unfortunately, their offense wasn't as much, with only a FG to show for their efforts until the mid-4th. It was then, with 11 minutes in the game, that LSU RBs Kenny Hillard and Leonard Fournette had enough. On their legs, a 95 yard - 6 minute drive proved to be enough to win the game.
  • #13 Ohio State 31 - Penn State 24 (2OT). I bring this game up for one reason and one reason only. You know the reason; moreover, I stick by my statement from last week - I'd rather eat my own fingers than watch B1G football. Just as Ohio State blew a 17 point lead, it looked like all was lost, and we couldn't have nice things. Ohio State somehow held on and for the first time in my life I found myself rooting for Ohio State. They pulled it off in 2OT, and I took a bath in bleach to wipe the filth away.
  • #19 Utah 24 - #20 Southern Cal 21. By now, you should realize that I really don't like Southern Cal. Part of it is the false narrative of them being "split champions" in a year they agreed the BCS champion was the real champion; part of it is the arrogance which rivals only that of NYC, honestly. While most reasonable people realized their title dreams were over in Arizona, there were those who were still arguing for their placement in the playoff... seriously. This was a great way to end the day with a back and forth slug fest, and in the end, Utah ended up on top with a last moment TD pass from Kaelin Clay. Some kind soul put up the entire 2 minute, 72 yard drive.

THERE'S OTHER FOOTBAW

If you didn't watch the FSU game last night, what's wrong with you?  Do you have a job or something?  Why are you not watching a huge Thursday night game with a team that's destined for the playoffs?  Seriously, I keep saying FSU is playing like a team of destiny, and they proved it again last night with another last second win.  Just in case you haven't heard my sermon before - there's always one team each year that keeps eeking out close wins that don't seem to deserve and ends up being #1-4. Just get used to the idea of FSU being in the playoff, like it or not.

With the full schedule here, here's the games I'm keeping my eye on.

  • Midday Games: Seriously, just get your chores done. There is a LOT of great games going on today, but it's later in the day. It's not even a huge deal if you miss the 15:30 ET games, because really so long as you're home for primetime you'll catch the large majority of the good ones. The only game that could be mildly interesting to me before the primetime games is #7 TCU @ #20 WVU (15:30, ABC)... but even that I am lying to myself. I just can't get excited about TCU games... at all.
  • #3 Auburn at #4 Mississippi - 19:00 ET (ESPN). The SEC fan in me is really hoping that no matter who wins, its close as hell. I'd sincerely love a scenario where the entire playoff was SEC teams. The committee won't allow it, but a man can dream. Anyway, the reality is that this game has huge playoff implications. You simply must watch it. Who will show up - good Bo or evil Bo?
  • #12 Arizona at #22 UCLA - 22:30 ET (ESPN). This is your Pac-12 degenerate game of the week. It was a tough call between this and the #17 Utah @ #14 Arizona State game going on just a half hour later at FS1. Why'd I pick this one? Because Arizona is a small school who's having a wild year and we should all love that. Also, Arizona has one of the best astrophysics PhD programs in the country. Betcha didn't know that.

PREPARE THYSELF, FOR VU FOOTBAW

McCrary has the start, but Patton "the General" Robinette has the dreaded "-or-".  The general (nyuk nyuk) consensus is that McCrary is getting the start based on proving he deserves it last week and Patton is simply listed as the second starter as he's been cleared to play off his concussion.  We all agree that Patton should not risk his health for this game.

In case you didn't know, we're playing Old Dominion this week.  I didn't even know they were called the Monarchs.  I figured it was the "Stately Lions" or some such stuff.  Then again, I don't know what to believe after I found out UTC Mocs was short for "moccassins" and not some slang term for "locomotive" which would have made a lot more sense.

Old Dominion recently converted FROM 1-AA to join the big boys.  It's been showing, and that along with our terrible team make the odds only +7 (as of the time I'm writing this).  That said, ODU is still basically a 1-AA team, and if we lose someone must be fired. That's a very real possibility (us losing, not us firing someone) because we almost lost to Charleston Southern.  What do we think? Well...

  • CDA: Vanderbilt 34, Old Dominion 30
  • VU04: Old Dominion 34, Vanderbilt 31
  • VTPhD: Vanderbilt 35, Old Dominion 34
  • VandyImport: Vanderbilt (no score)

GAMETIME

There's some great games, and unfortunately our shitfest is during most of them.  Seriously, just set up a tablet/laptop for our game and put the game worth watching on the big screen.  That said, somehow ESPN has decided to put this game on ESPNU.  What, were there no shuffleboard championships?

Just a reminder - the audio feed is now FREE on VUCommodores.com (link below) and starts at 17:15 ET (16:15 CT)

2-6 (0-5)

GAMETIME: 19:00 ET (18:00 CT)

LOCATION: VANDERBILT STADIUM, NASHVILLE TN

TV: ESPNU

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)

ODU

3-5 (1-4)

ANCHOR DOWN Y'ALL!