The School: Auburn University
Record: 6-2 (4-1 in the SEC). Auburn’s only lost to Clemson (awesome) and Texas A&M (also awesome) this season. When it isn’t playing Top 7 programs things go pretty well. Highest I can make a case for Vandy this season is 8th, so...
Ranking: No. 11 in the AP Top 25 and No. 12 in the Coaches' Poll. The formulas have Auburn rated 12th in the Real Time RPI and sixth in Jeff Sagarin’s ratings. Sagarin also has Vandy ranked one slot behind Wake Forest, who spent its Saturday getting beat by Army. Take that how you will.
Mascot: When nuclear war engulfs us all, Auburn’s three-headed tiger/eagle/plainsman mascot lineup will fuse into one terrifying singularity. It will roam the wasteland, sending minions on neverending quests for the remains of Nick Saban. It will be forced instead to feast on an enslaved Mike Shula, never knowing true satisfaction.
Location: Auburn, AL. Things in Auburn, AL:
1. the university
2. trees people keep trying to murder, for some reason
3. end of list.
Coach: Former Vanderbilt head coaching target Gus Malzahn. The Commodores wound up with James Franklin instead. It was basically a toss-up between guys who were destined to leave Nashville in three years for their dream jobs.
Oh, and Herb Hand is there, too. Just coaching offensive linemen and cooking up giant meals.
Conference: The Southeastern Conference. The good side, too.
All-time vs. Vanderbilt: 20-21-1. BEHOLD! THE ONLY TEAM IN THE SEC WITH A LOSING RECORD AGAINST THE COMMODORES.
In the Last Eight Years vs. Vanderbilt: 0-2. Ahahahahahahahah
And College Gameday was at one of those games!
The Last Time We Saw These Guys: Gene Chizik got fired. You know how hard it is to get fired just two years after winning a national title? Like Battletoads for NES hard. But it happened, thanks in part to a 1-7 start that included Zac Stacy’s record setting day in a 17-13 loss at Dudley Field. Stacy ran for 169 yards and a touchdown to set Vanderbilt’s all-time career yardage mark.
Good things seem to happen when Vanderbilt plays the Tigers.
Do They Run the Triple Option?: No, but Auburn’s top two running backs and quarterback are averaging 5.9 yards per carry between them, which is probably even worse for Vanderbilt.
Is Vandy Favored?: On the road against a ranked team? Why would you even ask this? On the plus side, the ‘Dores are a mere 26-point underdog. Bet the cover!
Most Potent Offensive Threat: Auburn is going to use a potent running game to grind the Vanderbilt defense into dust — although that’s a pretty hard feat with Zach Cunningham on the roster. Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson are complete monsters who will probably get 35-40 carries and grind their way to 200+ yards even on a bad day. Sean White is a perfectly cromulent passer, but his arm isn’t exactly your biggest concern while driving out to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Most Potent Defensive Threat: Carl Lawson is a versatile defensive end who gets in the backfield much faster than any man of his carriage (6’2, 253 lbs) should. Vanderbilt’s combination of uneven offensive line play and a quarterback with the mobility of a malfunctioning Roomba should have him salivating about Saturday’s game.
Matchup to Watch: Ralph Webb vs. Auburn’s run defense. Vanderbilt doesn’t have any reliable weapons outside of Webb, who was carrying the ball more than 22 times per game before a rest day two weeks ago against Tennessee State (he still wound up with 125 yards on just nine touches). The Tigers will attack him with one of the nation’s toughest defenses; Auburn ranks 27th in rushing yards allowed.
Some of that performance can be chalked up to teams abandoning the rushing game after falling into deep deficits, but the Tigers have limited opponents to fewer than 3.7 yards per carry this season. If Vanderbilt can’t make its running attack work, there are precious few other options to carry the ‘Dores to an upset in Alabama.
Interesting Fact: AoG’s very own JennGreening went to Auburn. You may know her from her hard hitting expose on that time David Price got diarrhea in his car.
If Auburn wins, we: ehhhhhh we’ll be alright if Vandy loses this one. Logic (and bettors) suggest we’re screwed, but history has us at a 51.2% chance of victory, so...