It's interesting to read through the coverage of the Auburn-Vanderbilt game today.
Everyone keeps saying, "Auburn had better be careful, or those pesky Commodores may try to pull an upset -- but don't worry, the Tigers will win."
More on that elsewhere. For now, though, we'll stick to doing what S&S Naval Intelligence does best: bringing you a comprehensive look at what people are saying about the Commodores today.
First up, Maurice Patton writes some game notes in today's Tennessean, and let's us know that our ground game (which suffered against the only real SEC-quality defense we faced all year in Alabama) may get a much-needed shot in the arm this week when tailback Jeff Jennings returns this week on the Plains.
And he'll also get some help, we learn from Brett Hait in the City Paper, from Vanderbilt cornerback and legitimate "playmaker," as Bobby Johnson calls him, from D.J. Moore.
Anyone who disagrees with Coach Johnson about DJ just hasn't been paying attention to the 2007 Commodore football games. The kid is for real, and Hustler also also has a piece about Vanderbilt's surprise playmaker.
Vanderbilt junior Sam Sabulis writes in the Vanderbilt Hustler that the 'Dores are leaving the friendly confines of Dudley Field for the first time this season.
Wow: one more sign of the change that's slowly working its way throughout the Vanderbilt football program. When I was a junior at Vanderbilt, I would have called Vanderbilt Stadium many things (perhaps some of them not appropriate in this space), but "friendly confines" is not one of them.
In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Tony Barhart writes that Auburn fans should be scared to death of the Commodores this weekend. Of course, that doesn't mean that he picks us to win.
The Sporting News says that Auburn is bracing for Vanderbilt as the Commodores prepare for their first away contest of the season.
The SN gets perhaps the quote of the day in this gem: "After all, if Auburn (3-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) can do it to No. 9 Florida [on the road] with strong defense and mistake-free offense, then why can't Vandy do it to Auburn?"
Why not, indeed.
The Alabama papers (as they usually are) fill themselves with minutiae on their two teams, and this week is no different. We'll do a round-up, because most of it is very similar (though check below for some of the ones we wanted to highlight): some respect for Jonathan Goff out of Mobile; a note that Earl Bennett was one that got away from the coaching staffs of the State's two powerhouses; and a cute (tongue in cheek there, folks) sarcastic intro piece out of Huntsville that kindly recalls for us all that Dwight Eisenhower was President when the 'Dores last beat the Tigers.
Some of the less-perfunctory pieces coming out of the Yellowhammer State (a.k.a., the Heart of Dixie State) include a well-written article by Ross Dellenger in the Decatur Daily.
An excerpt: "As I walked out of Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium late Saturday night, I realized that I have lost all feeling for this team. I get paid to follow this Auburn football team closer than just about anyone, and I have no earthly idea what this squad is going to do next. Could the Tigers lose to Vandy at home?"
The other piece worth taking a look at is the one penned by Stephen Dawkins (I'm guessing this is not the famous atheist scientist) in the Clanton Advertiser: Vandy looks to pull an Auburn.
Now on to the internet media.
On VandyMania, we get a whole heap of content (for free): College Football News' SEC predictions, Nik Rodewald's weekly Commodore Keys to beating Auburn, Mike's and Jay's weekly (and enjoyable) banter-laden SEC and Top 25 picks, and Pete Fox's weekly Pigskin Prognostications.
How do the VM folks see the game this weekend? Well, CFN takes the Tigers; Mike takes VU by 11, while Jay sees a 7 point Commodore win; and Pete (ever the optimist) takes Auburn by 10.
Over on VandySports, there is a great, free (!) article by VS publisher Chris Lee that does very thorough, very in-depth analysis of the game for the benefit of poor folks like me, and if you only read one thing off NI today, it should be this article.
The blogs have gotten back into the swing of things this week, and we'll start off with Brandon Barca on VUCommodores.com. For Friday, he tells us all about the logistical, behind the scenes goings-on that he and the hardworking staff at McGugin have to get ready when the team travels to an SEC road game (great piece, Brandon).
On Vanderbilt Sports Line, Bobby O'Shea apologizes for falling down on the job, but does a great job catching us up (and thanks for the shout-out to S&S, too).
VSL also also draws attention to the withdrawal of Vanderbilt's up-and-coming basketball star JeJuan Davis from the University. I agree with Bobby that this is a loss for the hardwood 'Dores.
On Who Ya With, Marv let's us peer inside his heart as he bears his emotions and trepidations about the Auburn game for all to see. Apparently, he hates Auburn quite a bit, and thus he wants to win even more so than might be expected (the source of his hate? let's just say there's some Crimson in his background).
Best of the SEC Blogs makes me look silly by saying that I am not "sure Auburn is really better than Vanderbilt." He references NI from earlier this week, but I think if you read what I actually said, there's a little bit of difference between the two.
Of course, we do appreciate the love from Best of the SEC, and they do great work, so no hard feelings.
There could have been some hard feelings for our buddy Phillip after yesterday, when he saw fit to go off on me for my Auburn-Vanderbilt prediction. But, in his own post yesterday, he takes some of the sting out and gives us his thoughts on how things will shake out tomorrow.
Phillip also gives us some detailed predicting, and there it is.
Finally, in baseball news, the Commodores announced their 2008 schedule, and boy is it a doozy. Nobody can accuse Tim Corbin of being afraid of playing the best: including four College World Series attendees and the national champions. Should be an amazing baseball season.
Well that's it for today; if you haven't had chance yet, go read out Auburn-Vandy preview and leave us your comments. Also, check out our rant about the attitude that our conference "brethren" hold about VU, and see if you agree.
If you're heading down to the Plains tomorrow, look for me in the Vanderbilt section -- I'll be the tall guy wearing the yellow polo.
See you there.