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Saturday Predictions: Vanderbilt at Northern Illinois

How will Vanderbilt respond to its first loss of the season?

Well, we can’t win them all, can we?

Vanderbilt got off to a promising start against Wake Forest last Saturday, but a combination of turnovers and Sam Hartman led to Wake building a big lead on its way to a 45-25 win. That leaves just one game left on the non-conference schedule, Saturday’s tilt at Northern Illinois.

How will the Commodores respond to the first loss of the season? Let’s ask the writers.

Tom Stephenson

Vanderbilt showed some promise even in losing to Wake Forest last week; remember, Wake’s a Top 25 team even if the sorts of people who put all their stock in recruiting rankings don’t really believe it.

Northern Illinois is not that. Northern Illinois is a team that lost to Tulsa and beat Eastern Illinois by a touchdown. I do not know how we are not favored, except that we get no respect.

The Pick: Vanderbilt 38, Northern Illinois 24

The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: I’m going with Miami (+6) over TEXAS A&M because why are we hyping up Texas A&M, again?

Andrew VU ‘04

That Wake game sure was a kick in the teeth, eh? (And I’m not even referring to the way the refs allowed the Wake D to quite literally kick Mike Wright in the teeth ad infinitum.)

If we lose to the Husky Boys, with their hands covered in chocolate, and their designer uniforms for fat kids who can’t find clothes in regular department stores, I’mma lose my shit.

Oh, those world-class butterballs with propeller hats and belts that are just for show are currently favored by 2.5 in this one? Son of a...

Okay, time to Mike Wright to return to the Platonic Ideal of Chris Nickson that we saw in the first two games, as opposed to the Mike Wrong we saw against Wake. Wright, The Hypothesis, and Jayden “The Rose” McGowan should be able to run all over these pre-diabetic chonkers in elastic waist jeans. I don’t want to consider the alternative.

The Pick: Vanderbilt 34 - Husky Boys 24

The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: I mean, technically, us winning would be an upset, so us. Just for shits and giggles, let’s have the corpse of the Auburn War Tigers beat up on The Old Bald Poach and The State Penn. Why? Mostly spite on my part.

Patrick Sawyer

Vanderbilt made some serious mistakes against Wake. It was not a good performance, and they still never really seemed overmatch, even with the turnover-boosted Wake score safely out of reach. Mike Wright needs a bounce back game in a bad way with his detractors already hyping AJ Swann’s garbage time success as the better option full time.

Tulsa’s QB went 19/32 for 322 yards and a TD last week. The NIU run defense did bottle up the Golden Hurricane’s ground attempts. The week before Eastern Illinois had a ton of success on the ground to the tune of 30 carries for 165 yards, and I am pretty sure 3 or 4 of them were sacks. The EIU QB was also 25/34 for 276 yards and 3 TDs. The NIU defense did pick EIU off twice and Tulsa once, so Wright does need to be smart with the ball. If he does, the Commodore offense should have no trouble moving the ball and scoring.

I am not sure what to make of NIU’s offense based on their success against two teams Vanderbilt should be bigger, faster, and stronger than. The defense held Wake to 24 points on drives that did not start at the Vanderbilt 32 or closer, so that is an okay performance. They should have some success against NIU.

The Pick: Vanderbilt 38, Northern Illinois 17

The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Us. We are the only one. If I had to pick another one, it would go with Auburn, except I know they are going to find a way to choke because they like to hurt me as much as Vanderbilt.

Cole Sullivan

I think college sports media has this issue where they just kinda created narratives a decade or two ago and they don’t update those narrative or any of the talking points around them save for a couple of the most well-followed teams whose narratives remain up-to-the-minute and in some cases of sustained, extremely long-term results counter to a team’s traditional narrative. We are better than our narrative, and we are better than NIU, even if the sportsbooks of the world don’t know it yet. Give me Commodores by a trillion in Team 2, Episode 3 of The Leanaissance: “A Comeback Done Wright”

The Pick: Vanderbilt 41-NIU 13

The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Can I pick the meepers over the mooers? Doesn’t matter. I will. UTSA by a billion, because the Longhorns ain’t beat anybody yet, PAAAWWWLLL! UTSA 38-Texas 17