Well, the worst of it is behind us.
After three straight games against Top 10 opponents, Vanderbilt heads into a more manageable stretch of the schedule, with four teams that are at least on paper beatable coming up before the season finale against Tennessee. That starts tomorrow afternoon with a trip to Missouri.
Missouri is coming off its bye week with a 2-4 record entering the game, though all three of their SEC losses are by one score — and, frankly, they should have beaten Auburn, what with Harrison Mevis shanking a chip shot field goal to win in regulation and Nathaniel Peat fumbling at the goal line on what would have been the game-winning touchdown in overtime. Anyway, what say our writers about Saturday’s game?
Look... I believe in Vanderbilt going into this game. I don’t think Missouri is a very good team, I think they’re very capable of farting away a game that they should win.
However, if I actually pick Vanderbilt to win, history says that they will not.
The Pick: Missouri 24, Vanderbilt 21
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: SOUTH CAROLINA (+3.5) is an underdog to Texas A&M. This is very much going to be a Sickos Committee game, and I am here for the Game Penises to pull what technically counts as an upset.
Andrew VU ‘04
After three weeks of getting our asses handed to us, we now get... umm... you know, I’ve never heard that phrase inverted. It can’t be getting our hands assed to us. Now the ass is on the other foot? That doesn’t sound right. We’re certainly not in the position to hand Missourah (spits) its own ass, as this is more of a 60-40 coin flip game, with us in the 40 spot. A peaceful transition of asses? No. Oh how the ass has turned? No. There’s more than one way to hand an ass? Giving an ass-handed compliment? Also no.
I have lost my train of thought.
The Pick: Missourah (spits) 34 - Vanderbilt 27. We’ll cover, I think, but we’re not yet ready for prime time when it comes to the handing of asses in the SEC-Big XII Showdown. Maybe next year we’ll keep our Ass-Hand strong. Ooh... that’s the winner. I knew I’d successfully mix my ass-based metaphors if I kept at it.
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Okie State’s taking down Tejas in Stillwater. In a few years, such an event will elicit a PAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWLLLL followed by some neck shooting at a rusted out truck on his property. You know, just like now when the Chuggers, Gumps, War Tigers, etc. lose.
Last year, Mike Wright had runs of 69 and 70 yards but was otherwise mostly ineffective. Patrick Smith had a big day with 96 yards on 17 carries. This year, Missouri had both lost a 26-22 battle with Georgia and been pounded 40-12 by Kansas State.
Missouri's defense is 23rd against the run and 58th against the pass in terms of yards per game. In a road contest with only 2 healthy scholarship RBs, the passing attack will probably need to click. Swann has been limited in terms of production but still graded out at a 66.1 QBR against UGA, so I would bet on him having a decent day. May see Gamarion Carter or Quincy Skinner with a decent day as both have gotten a few good looks but not quite gotten the rewards.
The Yankee Tigers are okay on the ground at 56th for yards per game (166.5 on 4.36 per carry), but the good news is their passing attack is 103rd at only 207.7 yards per game. QB Brady Cook has also thrown 6 INTs to only 5 TDs and been sacked 12 times. Swann has 8 TDs, no INTs, and been sacked 7 times.
Vandy has had the tougher schedule. They seem resilient based on how they played Ole Miss after the Alabama shellacking. If it was not a road game, I would be tempted to call for a comfortable win. As is, I still think Clark Lea gets a big P5 win here.
The Pick: Vanderbilt 34, Missouri 31
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Ole Miss is going to win in Baton Rouge. The Ole Miss offense will be too potent. And they are the undefeated team left in the West. If it was a night game, I might give the home team the benefit.
It’s difficult to judge where the team is right now, but one thing I want to point out is that unless I am missing something, AJ Swann has not yet thrown a single interception. While going into this game his completion percentage is ~61% versus Missouri’s quarterback’s ~65%, Swann has played much stronger teams through this point in the year and has gained about an extra yard per completion than Missouri has without throwing a single pick. I don’t know a lot about stats, but I haven’t watched Missouri all year so this is what I have to go off of, and this makes me pretty confident in our passing attack against theirs, especially when I don’t expect them to have the top-speed of some of the teams we’ve recently faced. I think we can win because Missouri is not going to be able to take advantage of our biggest weakness while we will be able to play offense in a way that may surprise Missouri if they aren’t careful. They do have a decent defense, but I trust our team to bounce back strong against a team on a much worse looking 3-loss streak than we are on.
The Pick: Vanderbilt 38-Missouri 20
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Narratively, I simply don’t think the scriptwriters would allow Ole Miss to lose to LSU. Ole Miss should be undefeated when they play Bama for the drama of it all. I don’t know if I truly believe in the Rebels though, (interesting story: they don’t allow their new shark mascot anywhere except at events where the majority of attendees will be kids because older fans harass him too much) so I’ll have to pick Mississippi State over Alabama. I think Bama’s loss against Tennessee may be symptomatic of a larger issue in Tuscaloosa that I’m not so sure can be fixed overnight. If not an outright win, Clanga will at least keep it very close in the game. It will be at most ten points that decides the game one way or the other at the end of the night.