Well, last week sucked. Vanderbilt gave up 54 points in a blowout loss to Ole Miss, and now, the Commodores head to Starkville, Mississippi, where they’ll face the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The good news: Mississippi State has scored four touchdowns in the last month. The bad news: well, is that going to matter? Let’s ask the writers!
So! Remember back in the season opener, when Mississippi State went to Baton Rouge and took down the national champs, and Vanderbilt kept things surprisingly close at Texas A&M?
Since then, Mississippi State has been outscored 114-30 in four games, and Vanderbilt has been outscored 136-35 in three games. In short, both of these teams are bad, and somebody has to win. That team is probably going to be Mississippi State, which although bad offensively, at least has something resembling a defense. On the other hand, an 18.5-point spread is ridiculous considering that would require State to score more than two touchdowns, which is something they haven’t done in over a month.
The Pick: Mississippi State 17, Vanderbilt 14
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: ARKANSAS (+1.5) over Tennessee, because fuck ‘em.
Andrew VU ‘04
Hoo boy, I am not looking forward to any more Mason era Vanderbilt Feetball. After being straight up curb stomped by Ole Kiffin and the Ackbars, this game against the reeling Clanga Leach Pirates will be less an athletic contest, and more a litmus test on player apathy.
If we look crisp on offense, fight on defense, and keep this one close, at least it will tell us where the players’ minds are.
If we look like we did against Ole Piss? Mason should be fired by halftime.
I’m hedging my bets that the players view this as the last winnable game on the season, and fight accordingly.
The Pick: Mississippi State 31, Vanderbilt 17. We’ll cover, I think.
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: ARKANSAS (+1.5) over Tennessee, because schadenfreude and Arky’s coaching advantage.
*Bonus upset pick: I’m taking the Jorts over the Dawgs this week in the Covid Cocktail Party. You heard me!
Since my offensive preview, Mississippi State has decided to go with Will Rogers over K.J. Costello. That could be helpful, if the defense is prepared to play. I haven’t seen much evidence over the past couple of weeks to suggest that will be the case, but c’est la vie. I do know the Bulldogs aren’t great on defense, and in Ken Seals I trust. I’m gonna bet on the present dysfunction at Clanga to bail us out and maybe get our first victory!
The Pick: Vandy 20, Miss. State 14.
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Pig Sooie because Arkansas is actually good, and Tennessee is well, not.
As Vanderbilt fans know all too well, bad offense can stop itself even when a bad defense tries its best to give away yards and points. Tom pointed out the ridiculous contrast between how Mike Leach’s first game at Moo State went compared to every other game since then. Vanderbilt similarly went from the perfect example of “bend but don’t break” on defense to being gashed seemingly at will by Ole Miss. The path was a little different since it was a slow bleed against LSU then a second half collapse against South Cackalacky before start-to-finish ineptness versus Ole Miss.
The other weird “find any shred of logic for optimism” nugget is that Mason’s teams seem to respond when the last kernel of hope is extenguished. The worst part is they keep finding new lows to fight back from, even if just for a moment. The best examples are the Ole Miss and Tennessee games after the Missouri brainfartapalooza in 2016 and getting off the mat after UNLV kicked our heads in to beat Missouri (who then tried to literally cave in Hasan’s head, those Yankee bastards). This would be the perfect time for Mason and his players to engineer a win that culminates in another frequently-used clip of Mason in an interview getting waaaay too high on himself.
I also think the offense will find a groove, especially if the defense (or State’s offense) limits the Bulldog’s ability to move the ball and score points. No, I do not know if it will be 2 TDs and 2 FGs or 3 TDs, a FG, and a missed PAT that gets the Commodores to 23, but it feels right.
The Pick: Vanderbilt 23, Mississippi State 17
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: I think the Piggies have a good chance to upset Tennessee, but that is only a point and a half spread. Will Muschamp is going to do himself a big favor while adding to the grumblings about Jimbo Fisher in Aggieland. I think the Game Penises defend their capital from the invading milkmen and wannabe soldiers.