Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ah, Rice! But is Vandy ready for somebody they're supposed to beat?

Ah, rice! Especially good with real butter, cracked pepper and a few drops of hot sauce.

Ah, Rice! A team Vandy absolutely must beat. We're on the road, and that's a good thing. We're favored to win, and that's a bad thing. We've got our backs against the wall, and that's probably not a good thing.

But maybe this team is different. Maybe this is a team that finds a way to win in the second half of the season instead of just the first. Two weeks ago, everybody was talking about Larry Smith's coolness under fire and his ability to win. I believe he's going to show that. I believe the young receivers are going to improve. I believe the offensive line is going to gel.

That's got to happen if we're going to even put ourselves in a position to have a winning season.
A couple of weeks ago, I ranked the teams Vandy will have the best chance of beating. Let's review the list.

1. Western Carolina: WIN
2. At Army: No, the Knights don't have SEC talent. For example, one of their starting wide receivers was an offensive lineman last season. (Of course, he is 6-10.)
3. At Rice: Don't have SEC talent either, but do have an offensive system that can score a ton of points. If you haven't noticed, Vandy's ill prepared for a shootout.
4. Miss State: LOSS
5. Kentucky: Looking like the best bet for a conference victory so far, but we never play well on senior day.
6. At South Carolina: At least we believe we can beat them because we've done it the past two years. Think Spurrier will be taking us seriously this year?
7. Ole Miss: Sure, the Rebels are the No. 4 team in the nation but we traditionally have been able to hang tough with them.
8. Georgia Tech: Bobby Johnson knows Paul Johnson's system from past Furman-Georgia Southern battles.
9. Georgia: The Dawgs are heating up on offense, but we usually give them a good fight in Nashville.
10. At Tennessee: We don't match up well with the big defensive front of the Vols, or their big offensive front and bruising running backs.
11. At LSU: LOSS
12. At Florida: Expect the Gator offense to be firing on all cylinders by the time we face them.

After Florida, LSU is the closest thing to a sure loss on Vandy's schedule. So if the Dores can win tonight...

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