Somehow, this is Rivalry Week.
The SEC, in its infinite wisdom, decreed a few weeks ago that in order to allow every team a chance to get in a “full” ten-game schedule in 2020, the conference reserved the right to alter the league schedule as little as five days in advance. On Monday, the league did just that, removing Tennessee from Vanderbilt’s schedule and replacing it with Missouri. Vanderbilt had previously been scheduled to play the Tigers on October 17, but COVID protocols forced that game to be rescheduled.
Now, Vanderbilt will play Missouri for what is somehow Rivalry Week. The only explanation given was that Arkansas couldn’t play because of contact tracing, and the SEC wanted to give Missouri — which had already had two games postponed due to COVID-19 — the opportunity to play a full schedule, which meant rescheduling one of its makeup games for Saturday. The official release from the SEC made no mention of any particular reason why Vanderbilt was the team they picked to play Missouri, but Robbie Weinstein at 247 Sports had a scoop.
Update: Multiple sources tell 247Sports that Vanderbilt was informed that Tennessee has its own COVID-19 issues. Dores and Tigers both free, so they play each other.— Robbie Weinstein (@rwweinstein) November 23, 2020
SEC statement made no mention of COVID at UT, only that the game was ppd to allow VU to play Mizzou this week. https://t.co/9c3kSizhrS
In other words, the SEC was willing to say out loud that Arkansas had COVID issues and had to be rescheduled, but for some reason was unwilling to say the same thing about Tennessee. But logically, it’s the only thing that makes sense. Missouri also had a makeup game to play against Georgia; Georgia is scheduled to play South Carolina today, a game that isn’t normally a Thanksgiving weekend rivalry game, and which — because South Carolina somehow has not had any postponements this season — would be easy to reschedule. Why Missouri was scheduled to play Vanderbilt and not Georgia only makes sense if Vanderbilt could not play Tennessee. (Or the SEC office hates us, a possibility which may also be true.)
So Vanderbilt went from playing its game of the year to playing a game that nobody cares about, and then we decided to go and make national news.
So, yeah: Vanderbilt added the goalkeeper from the women’s soccer team to the roster as a kicker. Sarah Fuller will make the trip to Missouri and will be the first woman to appear in a football game for a Power 5 team, should she play on Saturday (or, I guess, the rest of the season.) The purported reason for this is that Vanderbilt lost a bunch of kickers to contact tracing (though that list apparently doesn’t include Harrison Smith, the team’s starting punter and holder who was working out with Fuller in a video put out by the athletic department), but others have their own theories that you can probably find on Facebook and Twitter and I’m not about to repost here. (In Chris Lee’s most recent podcast, Bruno Reagan was on to talk about the team’s reaction to this and... there were some players who were unhappy with the move.)
Anyway, Vanderbilt hasn’t actually come out and said that Fuller will appear in Saturday’s game, but you can’t just make as big of a deal out of her making the trip as Vanderbilt has and then not play her. I’d say it will be an extra point, but this being Vanderbilt, we can’t guarantee that there will actually be an extra point attempt.
Oh yeah! Another player entered the transfer portal this week. This time, it was Dimitri Moore, a senior who’s been a starting linebacker. So, that’s totally normal. Stan previewed Missouri’s offense and defense. I talked about how the SEC can complete its football schedule and got annoyed with the way the media talks about an 0-7 Vanderbilt team with a seventh-year head coach. We did our weekly staff pick ‘em contest and made our predictions for today’s game.
In other sports, Vanderbilt soccer won the SEC Tournament (and then its goalkeeper got pulled in to play football.) The men’s basketball team opened its season last night with a 77-71 win over Valparaiso; the women’s season opener, originally scheduled for November 25, got pushed back to no earlier than December 2 (when the Commodores are set to host Texas Tech.)
Bad Gambling Advice, Football Edition
(I haven’t done this one in a while. What’s my record again?)
Kentucky at Florida (11:00 AM CT, ESPN): Florida -25, Over 60.5
Vanderbilt at Missouri (11:00 AM CT, SEC Network): Vanderbilt +14.5, Under 51
Auburn at Alabama (2:30 PM CT, CBS): Auburn +24.5, Over 63
Georgia at South Carolina (6:30 PM CT, SEC Network): South Carolina +21.5, Under 49
Bad Gambling Advice, Basketball Edition
Yesterday: 1-0-1 ATS, 0-2 totals; Season to date: 5-4-1 ATS, 4-6 totals
LSU at St. Louis (2:00 PM CT, ESPN+): St. Louis -3.5, Over 147
South Carolina vs. Liberty (3:00 PM CT, ESPNews): South Carolina -9, Over 139
North Texas at Arkansas (5:00 PM CT, SEC Network+): North Texas +8.5, Under 148.5
College Football TV Schedule
All times Central.
- Penn State at Michigan (ABC)
- Texas Tech at Oklahoma State (FOX)
- Kentucky at Florida (ESPN)
- Maryland at Indiana (ESPN2)
- Bowling Green at Ohio (ESPNU)
- Kent State at Buffalo (CBS Sports Network)
- NC State at Syracuse (ACC Network)
- Vanderbilt at Missouri (SEC Network)
- Ball State at Toledo (ESPN3)
- Georgia Southern at Georgia State (ESPN3)
- Northern Illinois at Western Michigan (ESPN+)
- SMU at East Carolina (ESPN+)
- Miami (Ohio) at Akron (ESPN3)
- UTEP at Rice (ESPN3)
- UL Lafayette at UL Monroe (ESPN3)
- South Alabama at Arkansas State (ESPN3)
- Coastal Carolina at Texas State (ESPN+)
What to watch: You’re watching Vanderbilt-Missouri if you’re here, obviously. Should morbid curiosity get the better of you, you may want to check in on James Franklin attempting to remain winless. You may also want to check out UTEP-Rice, since we assume you are wanting to see bad football.
- Auburn at Alabama (CBS)
- Pittsburgh at Clemson (ABC)
- Northwestern at Michigan State (ESPN)
- Troy at Appalachian State (ESPN2)
- San Jose State at Boise State (FOX)
- Rutgers at Purdue (FS1)
- Louisville at Boston College (ACC Network)
- Mississippi State at Ole Miss (SEC Network)
- San Diego State at Colorado (Pac-12 Network)
What to watch: The Egg Bowl for pure entertainment value, the Iron Bowl for probably the most consequential game, San Jose State-Boise State for probably the best game. Northwestern-Michigan State is probably going to be the most Big Ten game that’s ever Big Tenned.
- LSU at Texas A&M (ESPN)
- Kansas State at Baylor (ESPN2)
- Memphis at Navy (CBS Sports Network)
- Duke at Atlanta (ESPN3)
- Utah at Washington (ABC)
- Georgia at South Carolina (SEC Network)
What to watch: Utah-Washington is probably the best game here, but Duke-Georgia Tech is the most AoG game.
- Nevada at Hawaii (PPV)
No, I don’t know what ESPN is showing at 10 PM that’s so goddamn important that they can’t show Nevada-Hawaii.