Who: Auburn Tigers at Vanderbilt Commodores
When: 11:21 a.m. CT (SEC Network)
Where: Nashville, Tennessee
All-time series record: Series tied 20-20-1
Last Meeting: Vanderbilt 14, Auburn 13 (2008)
So, Auburn’s season has come to this. The Tigers, a traditional powerhouse with the 12th-most wins in college football history, two national titles and three Heisman winners, are an 8-point underdog at 2-4 Vanderbilt.
This betting line is depressingly accurate. Auburn’s just 1-5. The only win was against a UL-Monroe team that honestly should have won in Jordan-Hare in week three. The Tigers have been outscored 62-3 in the fourth quarter. Auburn’s QBs have thrown a whopping three touchdowns this year, with 11 interceptions. Auburn’s scored four offensive touchdowns in SEC play in the last 23 quarters of SEC play dating back to last season’s 45-7 loss at Georgia.
The defense has been nothing to brag about, either. Instead of listing stats, all that needs to be said to sum up Auburn’s defense this year is that they’ve already allowed two big runs similar to the run Michael Dyer had in the BCS National Championship Game. That pretty much sums up Auburn’s defense this year.
The worst thing about the stat of the program is the lack of unity. It doesn’t have the same family atmosphere. That falls on Gene Chizik for losing control of the locker room. Thus, the introduction of the “Gene Chizik has lost control of Mark Richt” meme. (It’s a Twitter thing.)
Here’s a preview of Auburn’s game at Vanderbilt Saturday morning.
Key for Auburn: Just keep fighting. Odds are not too good for Auburn in this game or any other SEC game. There’s no one key area that could see Auburn win this game. It’ll have to take a scrappy team effort, where players simply trust each other and decide to play together, and coaches keep the players’ spirits up in the face of adversity during the course of the game.
Key for Vanderbilt: Run the ball. Auburn’s run defense has been weak this year, and with Zac Stacy being one of the greatest running backs to ever play at Vanderbilt, there’s no reason to suspect Franklin will go away from the ground game. It also helps that Vandy’s QB, Jordan Rodgers (brother of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers), is a mobile threat. Vandy saw the trouble Auburn’s defense had with Bo Wallace, so expect Rodgers to be a key factor in the running game.
Auburn player to watch: Corey Lemonier. Lemonier didn’t record a single stat against Ole Miss. For a player that Tiger fans had been hyping as an All-American caliber guy, that’s very disappointing. If Lemonier and the Tigers’ defensive line can’t force pressure in this game, Vandy’s offensive will roll like Ole Miss’ did.
Vanderbilt player to watch: Both guys in the backfield, QB Jordan Rodgers and RB Zac Stacey. Both of these players are running threats, so read options should be expected. If these guys successfully navigate Auburn’s defense on such read plays, the ground game of Vandy will dominate to the extent that Rodgers will barely have to throw the ball.
Auburn vs. Vanderbilt edges:
Running back: Vanderbilt
Wide receiver: Vanderbilt
Tight end: Auburn
Offensive line: Vanderbilt
Defensive line: Vanderbilt
Interesting Facts: Vandy is one of just five SEC teams out of 14 that Auburn doesn’t lead all-time (the other four being Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M and Missouri). Auburn-Vanderbilt is tied at 20-20-1…. Auburn has won 13 of the last 14 against Vanderbilt, but lost the last time they played the Commodores back in 2008…. The last time Auburn faced Vanderbilt, the Tigers ended the season with a losing record and without a head coach. Gene Chizik is currently on a scorching hot seat….
Prediction: I was wrong when I picked Auburn to lose to Ole Miss by 28. The Tigers only lost by 21. Shockingly, this didn’t make me feel any better about this team. I don’t even need to give you reasons why Vanderbilt is going to kick Auburn all around the field, but I’ll describe what’s going to go down anyways: Auburn’s QBs continue to struggle, some good plays from Tre Mason won’t be enough for Auburn’s offense to gain a spark, and Vandy will gain at least 200 yards on the ground. Gene Chizik gets another loss on what could be his farewell tour.
Vanderbilt Commodores 35, Auburn Tigers 10
Other SEC predictions:
#1 Alabama 48, Tennessee 17 (How exactly does Tennessee’s defense stop T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy?)
#7 South Carolina 21, #2 Florida 13 (Carolina rebounds from last week, defeats Florida and gains control of the East.)
#6 LSU 28, #18 Texas A&M 24 (LSU gets a thrilling road win over future superstar Johnny Football.)
#11 Georgia 52, Kentucky 10 (Do I really need to explain this score?)
#12 Mississippi State 34, Middle Tennessee 17 (MTU’s a tough little team. Not tough enough.)
Predictions for other notable games:
#13 West Virginia 33, #4 Kansas State 30 (Big 12 thriller goes to the home ‘Neers, ends KSU’s BCS dreams.)
#5 Notre Dame 24, BYU 10 (Notre Dame gives up their first offensive TD since week 2. Doesn’t matter. Irish wins.)
#3 Oregon 41, Arizona State 23 (Ducks get a big win in a nationally-televised road game.)
#19 Clemson 35, Virginia Tech 27 (Clemson usually wins these kinds of games at home in Death Valley.)
Oklahoma State 37, #24 Iowa State 31 (Cowboys exact some revenge for last year’s shocking upset.)
Upset Special: California 26, #20 Stanford 21 (Golden Bears pull off upset at home in fierce rivalry.)
Win or lose, War Eagle.