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Saturday Predictions: Hawaii at Vanderbilt

Time for our writers to make their picks.

Vanderbilt vs. Alabama

Is it the Friday before a football game? Then it’s time for the Death Rabbits to make their first appearance of the season.

(Am I using an Alabama helmet even though we’re playing Hawaii? Yes, yes, the guy who photoshopped the helmets onto the Death Rabbits hasn’t worked here for years.)

Vanderbilt opens its 2023 season by hosting Hawaii in the newly end zone seating-free FirstBank Stadium, whose effects on seating capacity will be complained about when a few SEC schools come to The Bank later this season, but as for this week it probably won’t affect the crowd either way. Vanderbilt also opened last season against Hawaii and scored more points in a game than they had since the 1960s. Will this year’s team achieve that again? Let’s ask the writers!

Tom Stephenson

Vanderbilt opens the season with a team they should beat easily. In Vanderbilt tradition, the Commodores will give up an early touchdown, go three-and-out on their first offensive possession, and generally give their fans heartburn before waking up and winning by a relatively large but not overwhelming margin.

The latter is because I do think Hawaii has improved, because it’s hard to not improve over how awful they were last season when they went 3-10 (with the wins coming against FCS Duquesne, 2-10 Nevada, and 5-7 UNLV.) They still don’t have the size to compete with Vanderbilt in the trenches, but the run-and-shoot will test a still-iffy Vanderbilt cornerback room, and unlike last year Vanderbilt can’t just let Mike Wright and Ray Davis run all over them. It’s going to be a relatively comfortable win, but not a complete bloodbath like last season, and rest assured that Vanderbilt Twitter will freak out when the score is 7-7 late in the first quarter.

The Pick: Vanderbilt 45, Hawaii 21

Andrew VU ‘04

Yeah... don’t overthink this one. We beat them 63-10 in Hawaii last year. This year, they have to fly halfway across the world to Nashville. We should be noticeably better in Week 0 this year than Week 0 last year. It will not go well for Hawaii.

In short, there are certain games where the difference in line play is such that the two teams aren’t really in the same league. We should be able to do to Hawaii what Ugga does to us. If this isn’t a blowout, feel free to be concerned. If we lose, openly panic.

We’ve got this.

The Pick: 70-9 Vanderbilt. The line is -15.5. I’m personally setting it at last year’s margin of victory (-53) and pounding the over. Hey, at least we’re donating to their relief effort.

Patrick Sawyer

Did someone kidnap Andrew? Did some Back to the Future version of 12 year old me hack his account?

Hawaii's defense was so awful that Mike Wright basically did whatever he wanted. They had no hopes of stopping anything when it was true 11-on-11 football every play. Swann's less lethal legs may keep the score down a bit, but I would expect the offense to get into the 40s easily.

Defensively, maybe it seems like a scheme mismatch, but Vanderbilt's defensive line should force either short, quick throws or be all over Hawaii's QB. CB quality may not be a problem yet.

The Pick: Vanderbilt 48*, Hawaii 13

2 FGs, not a missed PAT for those already very nervous about the kicking game

Cole Sullivan

We are better than they are, plus, it is more difficult to fly west-to-east than it is to fly east-to-west. Yeah, I do my research. Anyways, I really just don’t see how we don’t pound them. I feel like they’ll get a pick-6 or something flukey early to make it really, really, REALLY stressful, but even if we’re still a really bad team and show it most of the rest of the year, we’ll power back in this game because we are just bigger, faster, stronger than Hawai’i.

Scene from Pirates of the Caribbean
We may be the worst SEC team you’ve ever heard of, but you’ve still heard of us.

The Pick: Vanderbilt 59 - Hawaii 13