Thursday, October 9, 2008

Naval Intelligence: Despite favorite status, Dores see tough fight against State

Vanderbilt may be a favorite in its Oct. 11 SEC cross-division game against Mississippi State in Starkville, but the 'Dores say they're preparing for this game with just as much focus and intensity as they had against then-no. 13 Auburn. Photo by Neil Brake, VU Athletics.
Only two days until the Commodores can prove that BNV is truly here against the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. And that's what's making news in Commodore Country today:

Dimon Kendrick-Jones wonders if we'll always be an underdog in the eyes of Vegas and the media (you'd think, as the Who Ya With guys have pointed out several times, that Vegas would be tired of paying out on us -- we are 5-0 against the spread, after all).

Dimon also looks at one of the oldest SEC traditions: firing your coach after losing to Vanderbilt (I still can't believe that Tuberville fired Franklin).

Dimon's co-worker doesn't think our game with UGA will get much respect from the TV people (I hope it's ESPN, I don't want to have to get up early).

Dimon is rocking and rolling today, putting out an analysis of Croom's comments about the similarities between Vanderbilt this year and Mississippi State last year (the one, gigantic difference that no one's talking about? Croom did it with typical SEC State U., 14-on-my-ACT players; BoJo's doing it with Vandykids).

One more sign of Vanderbilt's progress under BoJo: only 2 of our 18 freshmen have taken off their red-shirts (this is part of the reason we're doing so well with such "inexperienced" players -- even though they're red-shirting, they're still getting experience and wisdom from the older players -- not to mention learning our system).

Jarred Amato must be Mr. Popularity with the football team, because he scores an interview with yet another Commodore stand-out, this time George Smith (as in team captain and starting receiver George Washington Smith III -- what a cool name, by the way).

Jarred also checks the stats tallied by the 'Dores 'n Dawgs so far (I think the scoring offense/defense statistics really play well in our favor, and belie the close game Vegas -- and a lot of predictors -- keep seeing for Saturday).

I've been telling you what a great writer Jarred is, and now Sports Illustrated has given him a national stage with this piece on SI.com (but Jarred, I don't understand why you picked "Dores Descending" for your title -- aren't we ascending right now?).

Jarred interviews Chris Marve in another C&P exclusive.

Can you tell that Jarred is currently around his computer alot thanks to his bum knee? Here he analyzes the Vanderbilt coaching staff to explain why each one deserves credit.

The Goon Squad close up, in yet another piece by young Mr. Amato (for those of you who don't know, this guy's a student at VU).

Dennis Dodd is a jerk (that's about all you can say about this piece of crap).

CBS Sports isn't paying close attention, otherwise, they wouldn't have predicted Vanderbilt playing Wake in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl (really? a re-match for a bowl game? boring...).

Jesus Quintana rails against CBS Sports for the Dodd baloney and the weird bowl prediction (these guys always crack me up).

Chris Low must have gotten in trouble with the ESPN editorial people for buying into the Vanderhype, because he picks State to win, 17-21 (either that, or he really does think this is a trap game for the 'Dores).

Chris Talbott previews the State offense and how Vanderbilt will try to stop it (with a great quote from Patrick Benoist).

Brad Locke has more on the Croom love for VU, along with a look what why it might be that Sylvester admires BoJo so much (could it have to do with the fact that Croom knows just how much more difficult the VU job is?).

Maurice Patton tells us exactly which little things Vandy's been doing to win this season (turns out, it's things we haven't done in a long, long time).

David Rutz notebooks the Dores, with some great points about our quarterback situation, the businesslike manner the Dores have assumed at practice this week, and the awards our Defense has picked up.

Matt Wilson has more on the QB situation, along with BoJo's reaction to playing Miss. State (hint = it's a lot like Croom's).

Travis Haney starts a new feature in the Charleston, S.C. daily newspaper: Vandy Watch. He also reports that a Charleston radio DJ has sworn not to shave until the Dores lose (how cool is it that out-of-town people are even jumping on the bandwagon?).

USA Today's Erick Smith picks Vanderbilt, 20-16 (he went 14-4 last week -- was he among those who picked the Tigers?).

George Jones eats crow for his Auburn-Vanderbilt column from last week (and, to his credit, he apologizes for its tone, sort of, too).

Chris Low sees similarities between Miss. State and VU as well, examining this angle as well.

The AP has a great notebook-piece about Brett Upson and the role he's playing the Commodore resurgence (I don't normally link to "notebook" pieces like this, but this one's actually worth a read).

Ralph Russo picks the 'Dores, 17-10 (though he phrases it in the form of a question).

Danny Smith says a Miss. State win against VU would definitely be an upset (and then asks, "Doesn't that sound strange?").

Chris Silcox credits BoJo with the resurgence of the Commodores (and says that Clemson will nab him after our bowl).

Kevin Thomas makes the case for Vanderbilt in a rather convincing way (his analysis of our possible routes to an SEC East title seem legit).

Ed Shearer picks the Commodores, 20-10 (he points out that we've never started the season 4-0 in league play "until now").

Vanderbilt's defense leads the SEC -- and is 6th nationally -- in number of sacks, with 16 (including 5 against Auburn). Photo by Neil Brake, VU Athletics.
Sports Network has an empirical analysis of the game (and again, those ppg stats look very persuasive to me).

Jay Todd seems to pick Vanderbilt, though he doesn't come out and say it (not sure why, either).

Brad Lock examines why Miss. State is changing from man-to-man defense to the zone (let's just hope they use zone as much as the Mississippi reporters think they're going to -- or could that be a ploy?).

Athlon Sports picks the 'Dores by a margin of 7 points (but lists no final score).

Dead GUy picks against Vanderbilt harshly, like he did against us for the Auburn game (bitter much?).

Joe, at Coaches Hot Seat, gives Week 6 honors to Bobby Johnson, saying that BoJo's success can't be fully understood until you take a look at our scores (I think he's using old ACT scores, myself -- VU admissions-types have told me that our range is more like 30-35).

Analogy of the day: "It's hard to explain the significance of this win to someone who didn't grow up with the team like I did. It's like France invading Germany, and winning" (I literally laughed out loud at that one).

Hire Joe Girardi is spot on with his summary of most of the recent VU stories in the sports media: "academic, blind-squirrel school is finally finding a nut" (it's not like we haven't found the nut in other sports -- of course, as all the people in Alabama told me for three years, in the SEC, the only nut that counts is the football nut).

Jimmy Morris predicts a defensive struggle, and I would have agreed with him until I saw those ppg statistics (I know, I know: maybe I'm putting too much stock in four measley stats, but hey -- it's my blog, I can do that if I want to).

Oskie revels in his upset pick of the Dores over Auburn, and (I think) he picks VU over the Dawgs this Saturday (he also has some very kind things to say about S&S -- we, of course, always enjoy Oskie's hiarlious overview of the SEC each week).

How about some basketball? Andrew Skwara predicts 3rd in the East, and an NIT bid (but he says that a weaker SEC might help us make the tourney with our young, but highly-talened (Top 15 recruiting class in the country!) roster).

Or maybe some baseball? VSL cheers for David Price, as the Tampy Bay Rays add him to their post-season roster.

PICK 'EM TALLY: Vanderbilt to win, 5 (and a half); Mississippi State to win, 2.

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