Well, that sucked. The writers all predicted a win over UNLV, and instead, Vanderbilt decided to go out and give up 30 straight points on their way to a 40-37 loss, dropping them to 2-2 on the season.
This week: the Kentucky Wildcats, who totally did not tamper with Ray Davis over the offseason. Ha. Anyway, do the writers think the losing will continue? Are they going to reverse jinx us? Or, perhaps, tempt Vertigo, God of Insanity? Let’s find out!
I do not think Vanderbilt is as bad as they’ve looked so far this season, simply because many of the problems just don’t make sense. Why, for instance, is a guy who’s in his third year as the starting center suddenly having trouble snapping the ball?
Vanderbilt will come out fired up because (a) it’s Kentucky and (b) Ray Davis is on the other side. That said, my prediction of a cover is definitely of the backdoor variety: I don’t think Vanderbilt will win this game, but the final will be within two touchdowns.
The Pick: Kentucky 35, Vanderbilt 24
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Only one of Ole Miss and Alabama has a functional quarterback, and it isn’t Alabama.
Andrew VU ‘04
You can be forgiven if you’re not looking forward to this game. Never fun when an ex is doing well, no matter what nice things NoHo Clark says about Re’Mahn “The Hypothesis” Davis. Hypothesis: He runs all over us, cutting us up for at least 125 yards 2 TDs. In a perverse way, I’ll mostly be watching to see how long the cup snake gets.
To think we beat Kentucky last year and thought it marked a turning point in the NoHo Clark Experience, only for our RB to jump ship to the team he’d just ground into hamburger meat.
This team, man...
The Pick: Vanderbilt 23 - Mashburn Wedding Jerseys 38. More importantly, the cup snake will exceed the size of the student section.
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: How low has Ramajama fallen? Well, let’s see what happens to those rednecks’ psyches when the fancy rednecks from Ole Miss (+7) take them down. Kiffen is about to be insufferable.
AJ Swanna has had his first 2 300+ yard games in his Commodore career against Wake Forest and UNLV. The difference was that against Wake he was 26/39 for 314 with 3 TDs and 2 INTs. Against UNLV, he was 17/35 for 335 for 3 TDs and 1 INT. The competion percentage was 18.1% lower against a weaker opponent. The QBR also dropped from 78.1 to 34.2. I have talked about needing more of the good and less of the bad. Ironically, we saw some of that by being willing to tuck the ball and run. The throws were just not as good against the Rebels.
I actually think the defense was a bit better against UNLV. There were obviously problems. They still allowed 5.2 Yards/Play, but it was down considerably from the 6.5 Yards/Play against Wake. Again, it’s weaker competition, but they were put into a lot of bad situations. Half of UNLV’s points were off turnovers.
Buuuut not so fast my friend. It doesn’t matter who you play if you keep killing yourself. There have been 7 or 8 bad snaps in the last 2 games. Vanderbilt has turned the ball over 7 (SEVEN!) times in these two games. The 2023 Commodores are a much better team than the 2022 Commodores in terms of ability, especially with the CB situation seemingly given over to the more talented young guns of Martel High Jr and Trudell Berry. They have thrown away the last two though.
I think we see a little cleaner game, but I think they swing too conservative to try and avoid mistakes. Ray Davis comes up big for Kentucky. The game is either going to start close and get away late or get away early then steady out in the 3-score range. Either way...
The Pick: Vanderbilt 20, Kentucky 38
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Auburn is going to beat Texas A&M. I don’t normally take Auburn because they’re basically more talented Vanderbilt. They are going to hurt you by twisting your heart and soul into knots. Jimbo sucks though. It’s an 11 AM kickoff after Midnight Yell. This probably means you should bet the savings on A&M since Auburn is “going to hurt you by twisting your heart and soul into knots,” but I’m mostly taking A&M and Jimbo to suck worse, not for Auburn to actually be good.
Vanderbilt has the pieces, but we are worse than the sum of our parts. Expect us to hold it together early but slowly unravel under the stress of repeat mistakes. Kentucky also has something to prove after last year. I think it could get ugly late because Kentucky is not going to let up.
The Pick: Vanderbilt 20, Kentucky 44
The SEC Upset Pick of the Week: Ole Miss takes down Bama. The Tide is slipping. Lane has spent, I would assume, every single second of his tenure at Ole Miss game planning to beat Saban. After all this time, I think he may finally get his sweet, sweet victory.