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18 September 2008

Blog Swap:

I posed a few questions to Josh of the Vandy Blog: Vanderbilt Sports Line.

(1) How far will Vandy go this year?

Vandy has a shot at winning seven games without beating Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, or Wake Forest. The trick is that we would have to win three SEC games on the road (Ole Miss, Miss. St., and Kentucky). If we can win those three games, and perhaps pull off an upset of one of those four teams, we could be looking at an 8-4 season, which would be a major accomplishment in the eyes of all Commodore fans.

(2) Being 3-0 is the excitement around Nashville at an all time high?

We’ve been 3-0 at the beginning of the season before, but this time there’s a different feel to it. Winning a huge game on national TV last two Thursdays ago really set a different tone for this Vanderbilt. The fans are filling the seats, the team is playing tough late and holding leads, and the players have more confidence than ever. It is a great time to be a Commodore football fan thus far.

(3) What do you see as being the critical matchup this weekend?

Vanderbilt’s front 4 against Houston Nutt’s running attack, specifically the “Wild Rebel.” Vanderbilt has held opponents to 98 yards in their first three games. That stat however, is very misleading as non of the teams we’ve faced so far really committed to running the football.

(4) Do Vany fans see Ole Miss as a major Rival?

I think so. Vanderbilt and Ole Miss are kindred spirits in that both teams have historically been overlooked and looked past by the rest of the SEC (save Mississippi State and perhaps Kentucky). There’s also a rivalry in that both schools think they have the best looking women in the SEC.

(5) What does Vandy need to do in order to win this weekend?

The running game will be key. If Vanderbilt can stop the run, it makes Ole Miss’ offense much more one dimensional. With a quarterback with Jevan Sneed that’s not necessarily the end of the world for Ole Miss, but it would certainly allow Vanderbilt to dictate the tempo and the pace of play. On the other side of the ball, if Vanderbilt can continue to run the ball successfully, it will open up our playbook and allow Chris Nickson to do some things through the air. Vanderbilt’s wide receiving corps has been decimated by injuries early this season. While there is hope that Andrew Diomande, a transfer from Clemson who has been slowed with a toe injury, might make his debut Saturday, the unit is still not 100%. If Vanderbilt can effectively run the ball, it will allow the receivers to get in the game, and hopefully put the Rebel defense back on its heels.

(6) What's your prediction?

True to form, this game will be close. I also think it could be an offensive slug fest. As always, who wins the battle of the turnovers will be key. Still, Vanderbilt homers that we are, we’ve got to go with the Commies. Vanderbilt 27 - Ole Miss 24.

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