Tuesday, September 30, 2008


People love an underdog, and lots of people are saying Vanderbilt has a good shot at Auburn this week. But the last time the Commodores were 4-0 and the nation was singing their praises, in 2005, they played at home and lost to MTSU. (Thankfully, the GameDay crew wasn't there.)

Vanderbilt people know how dangerous this Auburn team is. Yes, we believe we can win, but we also know our history and know we could lose 35-7 too.

Coach Bobby Johnson certainly gets it. When asked how he's keeping his team grounded with all the talk of national rankings and bowl bids, he said, "You throw on that Auburn film." That's exactly right. You show them the guy who took preseason All-American Tray Blackmon's place this week and won CBS' player of the game.

Everybody's talking about Auburn's unbelievable third down defense and how all Vanderbilt has to do is move the ball on first and second down. But Johnson says: "They're very good on first and second down, too."

This is not a coach poor-mouthing his team and praising another team, a la Vince Dooley or Lou Holtz. Vanderbilt may be just a handful of spots below the Tigers in the polls, but the Commodores, whose success depends on their running game, will be outmanned on Saturday and in need of some big breaks and hometown magic.

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