Monday, September 27, 2010

Vanderbilt opponents stumble out of the gate

Remember all that talk about the 10 bowl teams on Vandy’s schedule? Well, it’s been tough sledding for many of them. In fact, only four of the nine teams remaining on Vandy’s schedule have winning records after four games. Let’s review:

Record: 2-2.
Wins: Blowout victories over Texas Southern and Buffalo
Losses: Michigan and Temple by a combined score of 26-60.
Stock: DOWN. Husky fans expected to be 3-1 at the least.
Timing: This is a trap game for the Huskies, who’ve got a big ESPN game against Rutgers the Friday after the Vandy game.
MV! preseason prediction: 31-21 Vandy.
Still feasible?: YES. Though we may need some defensive or special teams TDs to put up 31 points. Also, the Huskies are 10-point favorites, so we’re definitely going out on a limb here. A win by any margin would be huge for the Dores.

Record: 0-4
Losses: A 4-point loss to Army, followed by another narrow loss to Miami-Ohio and a blowout to Central Michigan and Ohio State.
Stock: UP. Put a scare into Army, who beat Vandy last season and Duke on Saturday
Timing: If EMU beats Ohio this week, which isn’t beyond reason, they could be sky-high for the Commodores
MV! preseason prediction: 30-10 Vandy
Still feasible?: YES. Though it could be closer, especially if we try to get more young receivers and quarterbacks into the mix.

AT GEORGIA (Oct. 16)
Record: 1-3
Wins: Louisiana-Lafayette
Losses: South Carolina, Arkansas, Miss State by a combined score of 72-48.
Stock: WAY DOWN. The natives are restless.
Timing: The Dawgs could be back on track against Vandy after the return of A.J. Green and games against Colorado and Tennessee.
MV! preseason prediction: 24-15 Georgia
Still feasible?: YES. Though it could be much closer if Aaron Murray continues to adjust. But the Dawgs will try to pound the ball on the ground against the Dores, and their defense is awfully fast and talented. It’ll be tough to score on these guys. We still think this is a loss, but maybe 17-10.

Record: 3-1
Wins: Southern Miss, Georgia, Furman
Losses: at Auburn
Stock: UP. This is a top 10 football team that’s going to put a serious scare into both Alabama and Florida.
Timing: After a bye week and an emotional home game against Alabama, the Gamecocks go on the road against Kentucky and then Vanderbilt.
MV! preseason prediction: 27-20 SC
Still feasible?: YES, if Spurrier is still jerking his starting quarterbacks around. But this is a ridiculously talented team with a big prototypical tailback, huge athletic receivers and a scary fast defense. Don’t expect us to ring up 20 against these guys. (What were we smoking?) They’ve got to give us plenty of help (penalties, dropped passes, missed assignments) for us to have a chance of winning.

Record: 3-1
Wins: Tennessee Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, at Georgia
Losses: Alabama
Stock: STEADY. Mallett’s an awesome talent, and they’ve got plenty other weapons.
Timing: The Razorbacks could have an emotional letdown against Vandy after a glitzy game against Texas A&M in Cowboys Stadium, a war against Auburn and a home game against Houston Nutt and Ole Miss.
MV! preseason prediction: 38-27 Arkansas
Still feasible?: Wow, we were optimistic about our offense, huh? After seeing the Hogs D against Bama on Saturday, I don’t know we can get 27 against them. And while our secondary is great against the run, they’ve struggled some in coverage. This one could be worse than expected, but I think Arkansas will have a bit of a letdown against us.

FLORIDA (Nov. 6)
Record: 4-0
Wins: Miami-Ohio, South Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky
Stock: STEADY. We’ll know more after Saturday’s game in Tuscaloosa.
Timing: The Gators travel to Nashville after likely destroying Georgia in Jacksonville.
MV! preseason prediction: 31-14 Florida
Still feasible?: Seems about right, though it’ll be tough to score 14 against a speedy Florida D.

Record: 3-1
Wins: Louisville, Western Kentucky, Akron
Losses: Florida
Stock: STEADY. They’ve whipped a mediocre team and two terrible teams and they’ve gotten blasted by Florida. Nothing new.
Timing: After a tough string of SEC games, they’ll be coming off a blowout win over Charleston Southern.
MV! preseason prediction: 20-14 Vandy
Still feasible?: YES. I still like this score, though Randall Cobb still scares the heck out of me.

Record: 2-2
Wins: Tennessee-Martin, UAB in overtime
Losses: Blowouts to Oregon and Florida
Stock: DOWN. Showed some scrap against two Top 10 teams but the UAB win was awfully weak.
Timing: Coming off road game at Memphis and home game against Ole Miss.
MV! preseason prediction: 17-16 Vandy
Still feasible?: YES. This will be our best opportunity to beat the Vols for many years to come. We’d better take advantage of it.

Record: 2-2
Wins: Presbyterian, Duke in a 54-48 shootout
Losses: Blowouts to Stanford and Florida State, surrendering 99 points
Stock: DOWN. Outside of EMU, this is the weakest team on Vandy’s schedule, lacking the star power and consistency of the teams that have beaten Vandy in recent years
Timing: Will face Vandy after a tough ACC stretch of Maryland, Boston College, NC State and Clemson.
MV! preseason prediction: 31-14 Vandy
Still feasible?: YES. Wake is well-coached and could rebound, but are staggering so far this season.


Anonymous said...

Your last post was quite a chunk of football. Correct definition of "trap game".
Game Karma: VU 7 point underdogs (+); Small stadium, Homecoming crowd=VU spoilers (+);Unsteadyness after quarterback switch(+).
The replacement UCONN quarterback (Cody?) will show no respect and throw at least two, maybe three picks. One pick will be in the last three minutes of the game. Hayward and Foster will be right there. Word is that Cody has a "soft touch". You better make those rockets. Neither Todman nor Frey will jump over our front line. Footballs don't.... do you think they will?
Norman will have a runback this time. Probably two UCONN fumbles (VU overdue for these); one for positive yardage.
You're looking at 14-31, VU.

Anonymous said...

Above Post was on the UCONN game this Sat. Sorry, I can only take one game at a time.

Anonymous said...

10 point underdog ? Wow, that seems pretty generous given that Uconn is a little down this year. It is also a reflection that Vandy football will not be taken serious until they likely beat both Uconn and Eastern Michigan. I think vandy wins this game by 4-7 points. A steady running game is needed but this time Larry Smith needs to show some maturity with the offense and create some balance by making throws. I hope that Caldwell and the offensive coaches get the 3 freshman wr's involved in the game plan. They need to try to get the ball to Krause in space; and at some point fully integrate both Mathews and Boyd. The running game and defense should be solid again. Lets all hope that Larry Smith shows some leadership and command of the offense. Go Dores !


Actually, the opening line I saw was 6 points and it's now up to 7. It's interesting that Northwestern and Vandy rarely get the benefit of the doubt from oddsmakers, because they're perennial losers and academic schools not respected by your average gamblin' fan. Even Stanford, which is destroying teams right now, wasn't a strong favorite over Notre Dame last week.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 7-10 points. Not my prediction but almost every point spread website (I won't mention the words "money line" here) have UCONN at -7. A few have -10.5. Remember these are powered by pure stats and I don't think these guys have reliable stats or multipliers for strength of schedule/immediate past opponents. Also when you consider a bye week (VU) and quarterback changes (UCONN). When you consider who Vanderbilt and UCONN have played in the past 4 weeks, it is in Vanderbilt's advantage. In Vanderbilt's favor this game can go anywhere from 4 to 17 points. To take UCONN and 7 maybe a sucker's bet. I don't see UCONN winning by more than a field goal.

Anonymous said...

Some don't realize this but a great deal of information on this Vanderbilt team was put forth by the earlier LSU loss. Only the insane would have taken (later) Mississippi and 12 points. Especially after reviewing the LSU/West Virginia put it in the words of Pete Carroll a "slugfest".