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Saturday Predictions: Mississippi State at Vanderbilt

Does Vanderbilt have another close one in them?

Vanderbilt nearly came away with an SEC win last weekend. The Commodores led South Carolina, 20-14, with a minute and a half left, only to see South Carolina send in its backup quarterback to lead a game-winning drive and give the Game Penises a 21-20 win. It was as painful as it was predictable, the kind of thing some Vandy fans knew would happen as soon as South Carolina put in its backup quarterback.

Anyway, that was probably the first of three straight SEC games where Vanderbilt might have a real chance before the Commodores close the season with Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Tennessee in November. This week’s opponent is Mississippi State, which enters the game with a 3-3 record, 1-2 in the SEC. The Bulldogs just lost 49-9 to Alabama at home their last time out.

What say our writers?

Tom Stephenson

The Bama hangover is real, and we’ve seen it last an entire season if you remember the 2017 Vanderbilt football team, which followed a 59-0 loss to the Tide by losing six more SEC games in a row, only salvaging a win over Brady Hoke’s Tennessee to end the season.

So here’s the deal with Mississippi State. They’re going to throw the ball a ton because that’s what Mike Leach does, but they’re not necessarily going to throw long, just throw a ton of underneath routes to pad the completion percentage. State’s defense is decent but not anything special, and with Mike Wright named the starter for Saturday, we get to really see what he can do.

That’s it, I’m calling my shot. Vanderbilt wins this one. Vengeance for the College World Series is ours.

The Pick: Vanderbilt 24, Mississippi State 21

The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: I just told you.

Andrew VU ‘04

Though we’re playing the other Mississippi school, Admiral Ackbar’s line still applies:

Well, a trap game, at least.

The Clanga Leach Pirates are currently 3-3, with wins over Louisiana Tech, QAnoNC State, and aTm, and losses to Memphis, LSU, and the Ramajama Gumps. They need this win to get over .500, so they surely won’t overlook us, right?

Wrong. They’ve got 5-1 Kentucky staring them in the face on 10/30 (Mischief Night for those who observe), and even though the Commodores showed more fight last week against the Game Penises (for the first 58:30 of the game, I mean), they had previously been a laughingstock to the point of the Vandy vs. UConn game being sold as an all-time Sickos Bowl. Though we know that Mike Wright gives new life to the offense, and the defense was gaining confidence the more Jesse Minter and Clark Lea dialed up creative blitzes (which led to turnovers), will the 18-22 year-olds in Starkville know this? Will they take us seriously? Will they put in the needed work on the practice field and film room?

I am of the opinion that they will not. They think they’re playing the Vanderbilt that lost to ETSU. They think they’re playing the Vanderbilt that got boat-raced by Georgia and Florida.

They think... okay, maybe I’m overstating their capability for thought—rational or otherwise.

Either way, open your Homecoming Presents, ladies.

The Pick: Vanderbilt 24 - Clanga Leach Pirates 23.

The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: See above! Prepare yourself for an epic Mike Leach post-game rant that makes his players cry openly.


The scary part of this game is that the Air Raid typically eats up exotic blitzes. Bringing creative pressure is when Vanderbilt's defense is at its best. The best way to stop the Air Raid in recent years is to rush 3 and drop 8 to tighten passing windows and keep any completions short. The last time Vanderbilt defended that way was a disaster.

Mississippi State has somehow found a way to be T-25th in most sacks allowed per game at 2.83. Approximately 10% of their rushing attempts also get stopped behind the LOS. Maybe pressure can be successful.

Vanderbilt's offense is probably going to rely on spurts of big plays with Wright behind center again. It will be curious to see whether the offense grows after a full game or MSU having the game tape matters more.

The Pick: Vanderbilt 27, Cowbells 17

The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Vanderbilt. That's it. No, Interim HC DACOACHO will not pull his interim magic against Ole Miss.