Last year, after a positive start to the season, Vanderbilt ran into the buzzsaw that is Alabama and lost 59-0.
But the real deflating game arguably came a week later when the Commodores went to the Swamp and, after hanging around for most of the game, lost to the Florida Gators 38-24.
This year, instead of following a deflating loss with a road trip to play an SEC team, the Commodores will host Tennessee State instead. Tennessee State is 2-0 against the murderer’s row of Bethune-Cookman and Eastern Illinois; they’ve also had games against Jackson State and Hampton cancelled due to weather. This is a game to get right before... oh God, we go to Georgia next week?
Anyway, Vanderbilt should win. The question is by how much?
The halftime show will be a good contest, and Vanderbilt’s Spirit of Gold Marching Band is an underdog against Tennessee State’s Aristocrat of Bands. I really, really like the idea of scheduling nearby FCS teams instead of paying random teams from across the country to come to Nashville. Tennessee State will have a good showing.
The actual football game, though, should not be close, and if it is we can start having a different conversation about the season. The things of interest in this game are (a) whether Derek Mason starts using Ke’Shawn Vaughn more, and (b) whether, with the new redshirt rule, we get to see some true freshmen (including QB Allan Walters) take the field for the first time.
The Pick: Vanderbilt 35, Tennessee State 7.
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Well, if we were going off opening lines, I would take Kentucky over South Carolina — but that’s since moved to a pick ‘em (and Kentucky was favored briefly by the oddsmakers.) If not that, well... there aren’t really any games I like. I’ll go national and take Penn State over Ohio State, and I feel gross writing that sentence.
This game will be bad and everything about it will be unwatchable. At some point early in the game people will be mad we’re not up by more points and that we allow TN State a score or two. So to be honest, I’m just not enthused about watching this game in the least. It should be a blowout and there’s not much more to say than that.
The Pick: Vanderbilt 40 - TN State 10
SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Like Tom I don’t really see picking a winner in a one-point spread game as really picking an upset. The line has shifted over the week and we picked on USC being the underdog in that game... If you’re putting a gun to my head I’ll under protest take UF to beat State. The rest of the SEC will be bloodbaths.
Andrew VU ‘04
There’s no real need to watch this one, right? Either way, I’m going to Norman to tailgate/watch an OU hockey game. Not losing one moment of sleep over it, either. I feel the same about cupcakes as preseason football.
The Pick: Vanderbilt 38 - TN State 0
SEC Upset Pick of the Week: The South Cackalacky Game Penises are going to slap Kentucky around. Not as much as they did to us, of course, but enough to win by 10+. I don’t care what Vegas says—if the Wildcats are ranked and the Penises are not, a Penis win would be an upset.
After a let down week defined by miscues and lack of execution, I think Vanderbilt will come out ready to prove a point. And, they will be successful against an overmatched OVC team. What I look for is not will they win or win big, but will they do it without mistakes? Additionally, will they play with passion, essentially avenging their loss last week by taking it out on the Tigers this week?
I think they will. The loss to USCe was embarrassing. It wasn’t embarrassing to lose, but to lose in the manner they did, especially after taking ND to the final minute. This season is not lost, and they will get the wins for a bowl. But you, like everyone else, saw the facets on this offense and the tenacity on this defense and were hoping for more than a 6 win season.
The SEC East is starting to bifurcate, and this is the first game of the rest of the season for the ‘Dores. They need to set the stage to be on the top half of the division.
The Pick: 49-3, sons of Cornelius
SEC Upset of the Week: USCe over Kentucky. It’s not much of a spread, but the Blue Bloods are ranked and the Fighting Coach Boom’s aren’t. But South Carolina is a better team and just realized they are really good.