Thursday, September 4, 2008

Commodore Banter: Gameday edition

The day has finally arrived. Vanderbilt vs. South Carolina on ESPN. I don't think I've ever been more excited for a football game. Maybe it's because Erin Andrews is here. Maybe it's because it's my final SEC home opener as an undergraduate. Or maybe it's because there's some part of me that just knows Vanderbilt is going to win.

There's no question that South Carolina is out for revenge, writes Rick Scoppe for The USA Today.

"Vanderbilt probably thinks we're some slack players," said wide receiver Kenny McKinley. "They kind of ran through us last year. They probably think we're soft. We've got to let them and everybody else know that South Carolina's for real."

At the same time, don't expect the Gamecocks to take the Dores lightly, writes Brett Hait of The Nashville City Paper.

“Give Vandy credit,” Spurrier said. “They played outstanding defense, which they can do. They thoroughly beat us.”

Hait also has a number of good tidbits in his gameday notebook:

*Vanderbilt is going to know where McKinley is on the field at all times.

*South Carolina is going to try to make Chris Nickson a passer.

*USC linebackers Jasper Brinkley and Eric Norwood weigh more than 270 pounds. That's more than some Vanderbilt offensive linemen.

While we're only in week two, there's no question that this a huge game for both teams, writes The Tennessean's Mo Patton.

Patton also takes a look at how the Commodores stack up, position-by-position, with the rest of the SEC.

In addition, Patton looks at which team has the edge and predicts a 24-20 victory for South Carolina.

South Carolina is going to need to a better performance from its offensive line, writes The Tennessean's Joe Biddle.

The Post & Courier takes a look at three key matchups, including Moore vs. McKinley
and Chris Nickson vs. the USC defensive front, and predicts a 27-13 Gamecock victory.'s Chris Low predicts a 21-13 victory for the Gamecocks, but writes that it won't be easy.

"The Commodores are a different team when Chris Nickson's healthy, so this isn't a good time to be getting them. Chris Smelley will get his chance at quarterback for the Gamecocks, who will survive thanks to their improved defense."

Finally, here's my take on tonight's game: South Carolina's defense is very good, even for SEC standards. They're quick to the ball, they hit hard and they play with an attitude. With that said, the Gamecock offense is mediocre at best. They're starting a different quarterback, Spurrier's already complaining about his offensive line and their running game is nothing special.

You can say pretty much the same thing about Vanderbilt. The Dores defense is very talented, while the verdict is still out on their offense. So, what's gonna give?

Tonight's game is going to come down to special teams and field position. Seems obvious enough, but I think it's even more important than usual for Vanderbilt. If the Commodores can force a few USC turnovers (and capitalize on them) and then take care of the ball on offense, I truly do like their chances. Furthermore, they'll probably need a big play on special teams to put the offense in position to score.

In addition, it's worth mentioning that Vanderbilt did not show any of its trick plays or creative offensive sets against Miami (OH) so do not be surprised to see D.J. Moore, Sean Walker and even Jamie Graham used in double reverses, end arounds, etc.

Just putting together this post has gotten me fired up. Chris Nickson said earlier this week that games like this are why players come to Vanderbilt. Well, games like this are also why I chose to attend Vanderbilt. It doesn't get much better than this.

Prediction: Vanderbilt 24, South Carolina 20

1 comment:

David Shochat said...

Man, Jared. Close on the prediction haha