When it comes to 123 out of 124 teams in the FBS, Rodger doesn't know the difference between the Battle of Borodino and a bleedin' tigers' bum. So why pretend? Instead, we ask people from other schools who actually know about their teams to tell us.
Today: KingJamesIV from Anchor of Gold is here to talk Northwestern-Vanderbilt football.
Vanderbilt's offense didn't look great against South Carolina, but considering the Commodores only put up 77 yards in 2011 against the Gamecocks (yes, I bought Phil Steele's college football guide in a train station last week), did Vandy's attack look decent to you in Week 1?
If I were answering this based on my perceptions having just left the stadium, I'd say not really. But after watching the replay on the ol' DVR, I'd have to say yes. I wish we'd gotten the call on the PI at the end of the game, cause I think we've got the receivers (particularly in Matthews) to have at least made the ending interesting. As it was, I felt like the team was a lot more conservative on offense than I would have thought they would have been. I suppose the rain we had early in the game was a big part of that.
I'd have also liked to have seen how the team would have capitalized on the early South Carolina turnovers had they come a little later on in the game. Both teams clearly had some first-game-of-the-season jitters. Had they come once Vandy had settled a bit, I think the team would have been a bit more successful. Enough if's and but's.
That said, Vandy held a top 10 team to only 17 points in that game. THAT said, that was against a South Carolina team with almost no passing ability, whereas conversely NU has almost no run game but likes to put the ball in the air. How will that work out?
I'm interested to find out. Most Vandy fans believe the secondary to be the strength of the defense. Seeing as SC's Connor Shaw sustained an injury to his throwing shoulder, it was impossible to tell how solid the secondary actually is. Hopefully the assessment is legit. Vanderbilt did struggle at times giving up yardage to the SC QBs' runs. Will Northwestern look to exploit any perceived weaknesses there? How much of that success is related to Spurrier's zone-read offense (and the threat of Lattimore gutting us)?
What's your favorite song by the Commodores?
Gotta be "Easy", right? (Ed. note: Yeah, probably.)
Last time we played, we heard all about Warren Norman, while last year Zac Stacy set a school record in rushing. What can NU expect out of Vandy's backfield?
Running back is definitely the strength of the Commodore offense. Zac Stacy is a workhorse and is the SEC's leading returning rusher from 2011. Warren Norman has been MIA the last couple of seasons due to injuries, though he's allegedly healthy, finally (despite not seeing the field vs. South Carolina). Wesley Tate (younger brother to former Notre Dame WR Golden Tate) was Stacy's primary backup against the Gamecocks, though he's also supposed to spend a lot of time in the slot. Jerron Seymour didn't dress vs South Carolina but supposedly returned to practice today, and true freshman speedster Brian Kimbrow (4.28 in the 40, recorded officially somewhere) only saw two carries against the 'cocks.
Based on reports from summer camp, you're going to see a lot of Stacy, and it's only a matter of time until Kimbrow forces his way into more carries. Honestly, there's not enough carries to go around at this point, so kids are going to be looking to make the most of their opportunities.
Predictions for this week? And if you're game, for Vandy's season?
I'm terrible at predictions. I think we both probably feel good about our chances this week, and I definitely think Vandy's prospects against Northwestern are better than they were against South Carolina (who I thought Vandy might nip at home). I'll go with Vandy by 4, 35-31, just covering that 3.5 point spread.
As for the season, I think most Commodore fans expect this to be Vanderbilt's first back-to-back bowl trip in school history. I think the Commodores make it happen.