Record: 0-2 (0-1 against FBS opponents, 1-11 in 2014). That includes a 52-6 loss to Southern Mississippi. The Golden Eagles had gone 4-33 in the three seasons before they took on Austin Peay. So, yeah - pretty good timing for a 3-11 Vanderbilt team to rove onto that schedule.
Ranking: Unranked in the FCS Top 25. The formulas have Austin Peay rated 232nd in the Real Time RPI (Vanderbilt is #107).
Mascot: The Governors. I actually like this as a nickname. I currently live in a state where this guy:
calls all the shots. There's no middle ground with Scott Walker. People either love him and want him to be the godfather to their brood of children or hate him so much that they've dedicated no fewer than six square feet of bumper sticker space on their Subaru Outback to mock him. That's perfect for college football - a binary system with no wiggle room between blind unreasonable love and pit-of-your-stomach hatred.
Alabama should be the Governors. Or maybe Florida State. Or we could move to the hardwood and give the title to Duke Basketball. But not Austin Peay, because no one gives a shit about them.
Location: Clarksville, TN. In 2008, the city adopted the slogan "Tennessee's Top Spot!" because the old one, "The place from that Monkees song!" was beginning to feel dated.
Conference: The Ohio Valley Conference.
All-time vs. Vanderbilt: 0-1.
In the Last 10 Years vs. Vanderbilt: 0-1
The Last Time We Saw These Guys: The only time these two teams met was back in 2013 when the Commodores beat an 0-12 Governor squad that lost all but one game by at least 25 points. Vanderbilt only scored three points in the first quarter, which led to some brief moments of panic before they dropped five touchdowns on APSU in the second.
The team's rushing statistics from that game read like a who's who of players who left or were forced off the team before their eligibility expired. Brian Kimbrow! Jerron Seymour! Patton Robinette! Josh Grady! If tradition holds up, half of the running backs who get touches on Saturday will be wearing another team's uniform by 2017.
Is Vandy Favored?: Technically, no - according to ESPN, no one is offering a spread on this game. OddsShark predicts a 17.2-3 nailbiter, one week after a 4-33 Southern Miss squad scored 52 points against the Govs. That's either a depressing critique of the Vanderbilt offense, or someone spilled a milkshake onto the OddsShark projection algorithm.
Most Potent Offensive Threat: The Governors have scored in double-figures in eight of their last 26 games. They averaged 9.6 points per game in 2014, 7.5 points per game in 2013, and 6.5 points so far this fall. Their most potent offensive threat right now is a golden retriever wearing pads and the lingering hope that there's nothing in the rule book that says dogs can't play football.
Most Potent Defensive Threat: Linebacker Antonio Turner has been starting for the Governors since his freshman year on campus and led the team with 81 tackles and seven tackles for a loss in 2014. Turner does a good job of finding a way to be around the ball at all times, and his team's sputtering offense should give him plenty of opportunities to make a standout play on Saturday afternoon.
Matchup to Watch: The Vanderbilt offense vs. red zone turnovers. Saturday's game against Austin Peay is this team's only real tune-up opportunity. With all due respect to the Governors, even a last-place SEC program should be able to dismantle an FCS program that has won one game since 2013. That means that the Commodores will have several opportunities to polish their red zone offense, cut down on the mistakes that killed them against Western Kentucky and Georgia, and build some confidence with a home win. Last week's Georgia game gave this team the opportunity to be impressive despite notching a loss. On Saturday, they'll have the chance to disappoint us even if they win.
Interesting Fact: Austin Peay is the second team that Vanderbilt will face this season that's based in a town that a vengeful God tries to swallow into the earth every few years:
The Governors filled it back up with packing peanuts and covered it with some old Astroturf, so things should be fine now.
Bonus Fact!: Local pundits voted Clarksville #2 for "Tennessee City Most Associated with the Railway via Song," falling behind only Chattanooga.
If Austin Peay wins, we: Buy land in Guyana, move our families down there, and then avoid any Congressional inquiries to our whereabouts. Just trust me on that last part. It never ends well.