AoG Week in Review
This is a different Vanderbilt team from what we started the season with. It seems a bit cliche to say, but the offense is, clicking. Our QBs and WRs seem to be on the same wavelength; there are considerably less plays that die just because the throw goes nowhere. Players are not only getting open, but the throws are hitting our WRs for plays. With the inclusion of Sims into a greater part of the running game, we now have FOUR RBs that can hit you for a score any time they carry the ball; making an already strong running game stronger. Neither of these things could happen without a blocking game that is giving the plays the time they need to happen.
I’m going to repeat myself here and trace this surge to the TSU game. Something happened in that game to really light the fire of the offense. All of a sudden, the offense is not only playing better, they play like the KNOW they can play better than they have. There was something that boosted this team that has been borne out in the last two SEC games. With TSU we had one of our best performances since BoJo left, and built upon that with a solid (and exciting) win to UGA. That was a game we looked like the better team the whole time. We continued that against a TOP TEN team in Auburn. This team has turned it around.
Missouri provides a different type of challenge to our upwardily mobile team. Missouri is a bad football team, but is by no means a pushover. If we look past them, if we don’t play them as we should, or if we just plain crap the bed, all this confidence the team (or the fans) have will be destroyed. Vanderbilt can, and should, defeat Missouri. After looking better than two considerably better SEC teams, we can’t waste all that good will by barely squeaking by or... well... losing.
Mason is in an interesting position here. While he’s certainly not convinced everyone, there’s growing sentiment that a “fourth year” would be worth a go. That sentiment would be eroded significantly with a loss today. Mississippi and Tennessee are still an important part of the decision here but this is one of those rare games we expect a win.
Lets go out and get it.
Around the League
- Mississippi State 35 - #4 Texas A&M 28. Well, that happened. Just a few days after the possibility of two west teams being in the playoff was bandied around, Aggie lost to the Bulldogs. State destroyed Aggie on the ground, rushing for over 365 yards. The Bulldogs dictated the game from the start, running and running and went into the half 28-14. Aggie tried to mount a comeback, but it was too little too late. The one score difference doesn't’ tell the whole tale here. Aggie got beat and it was because State was the better team. To commisserate with them some though, they had their share of SEC REFS (TM).
Honestly that’s about it in terms of specific hilariousness. The LSU-Bama game was a terrific game, and LSU played better than I thought, but in the end LSU’s defense was just left out too long and got tired.
Also I missed the UGA-UK game, but that looks Georgia is still reeling from losing to us and barely managed to beat a surprisingly good UK team.
There's Other Footbaw
Another slate of mediocre games this weekend. Yay. Here’s what you can watch if you’re not doing something else.
- Kentucky @ THEM, 12:00 ET (11:00 CT), SECN. You know, maybe it’s basketball season starting, but UK seems a little too pessimistic about this game. I’ve been saying it all year but Tennessee plays exactly to the level of their competition, and no more. They should crush UK, but they won’t. It’ll be a hilarious struggle the entire time, and I want some of those drugs the oddsmakers who gave UK 12 points are on.
- Georgia Tech @ #14 Virginia Tech, 15:30 ET (14:30 CT), ESPNU. I’m truly at an impasse trying to come up with a reasonable alternative to the Vandy game because all the mid afternoon games suck. All of them. I’m throwing dart and saying that maybe GTs offense can beat VaTech. GT could also block VaTech from winning the Coastal division with a win, so I bet that’s a motivator. I say this having not followed one down of Yellow Jacket football since... well, you know.
- #20 USC @ #4 Washington, 19:30 ET (18:30 CT), FOX. YOUR PAC-12 DEGENERATE GAME OF THE WEEK! If you’ve not been paying attention to the Huskies this year, now is the time to start. Last year, I called the UW upset victory over the Trojans in LA. The Huskies have been quite simply amazing this year and somehow still fly under the radar. The Huskies are a team that has champions written all over ‘em and it starts with their incredible 3rd down efficency - 46.6% (Alabama is at 48%). USC though is getting back into national relevance and is looking to crush the dreams of a Washington fanbase that’s finally getting some respect from the playoff committee.
ALTERNATIVE LATE GAME:
- #3 Michigan @ Iowa, 20:00 ET (19:00 CT), ABC. As all the ~2100 games are trash, I’ll give you an alternative to the USC/Washington game. Iowa has a very real chance here to pull off the upset against Michigan. Iowa fans and everyone else already have this game written off. What is it with fans of black and gold teams and infinite sorrow? I’m probably showing some commisseration with an outmatched Iowa team, but there’s something about this that game that doesn’t feel like it’s going to be a walk.
AoG Writers Ruin Your Day
I forgot to include these last week, but as usual, I asked the AoG Writers to give you a game to watch. Here’s what YOUR. EH OH GEE WRITERSSSSS. said:
Christian D’Andrea continues his tradition of punishing us with horrendous Colonial League games. It’s kind of like reading The Great Gatsby over and over, only you have a chance of actually enjoying the experience.
1-8 Rhode Island at 2-7 Elon
The two quarterbacks in this game have a combined 5:21 TD:INT ratio. URI is coming off an 84-7 thrashing that featured four straight kneeldowns at the URI 2 yard line...with 10 minutes left in the game. Elon hasn't scored a touchdown in nearly a month.
This is gonna be awesome.
I’m convinced Tom Stephenson really has just seen the movie Duel too many times.
Iowa State (1-8) at Kansas (1-8): Imagine you see a wreck on the freeway. One car is a mangled corpse with broken glass all around. The other car is literally on fire.
That's this game, and you know you can't look away.
Get Ready For Something Resembling Football
We’ve got Missouri this week. Vanderbilt - Missouri was always going to be a bad football game. We knew this going into the season. Hell, we knew this three weeks ago. The real question now is whether it’ll be bad in that we still manage to keep it close, or whether it’s just bad in a good way for us - total victory.
I suspect we know what will happen. In fact, you can register your own predictions here!