The Commodores and the Bulldogs endured a very chippy contest
when they met last season. They'll try to limit their combat to football this
season, which could spice up this SEC matchup. Check out our preview and our college football picks on this contest.
A year ago, fights broke out between the two teams when
Georgia visited Vanderbilt in Nashville. After the game, Vanderbilt head coach
James Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham got into a
shouting match, with both men seething in the immediate aftermath of the
incident. This is going to form the subtext for the reunion between the two
Vanderbilt, which lost to Georgia in that game last year,
will try to take emotional fuel from it. Georgia, still playing without
multiple defensive starters, will simply aim to notch another win and move one
step closer to defending its SEC East Division championship. College football odds makers have the Bulldogs favored by 16 points at home in their SEC home opener.
The Commodores can win because…
They have shown that they
can stay close with the SEC's better teams into the fourth quarter. Vanderbilt
does not get blown out by upper-tier SEC teams, with the exception of Alabama.
The Commodores played Arkansas close last year. They played South Carolina on
even terms this season, losing by only four points and carrying the run of play
in the second half. Vanderbilt's levels of athleticism and depth have risen
markedly in the past year and a half under the new coaching staff, which has
recruited well and stocked the roster with a higher grade of talent. Vanderbilt
is a tough out in today's SEC, and that's a testament to the program's
improvement over time. If the Commodores can hit downfield passing plays and
convert a handful of particularly timely third downs over the course of this
game, there's no reason to think that they can't be in position to win this
game in the final minutes of regulation. Vanderbilt's defense is rugged; it
could very easily contain Georgia's offense, which has not been a model of
consistency to this point in the season. Georgia has played two cupcake teams
while fending off an average Missouri squad. Vanderbilt has enough resources to
give the Bulldogs a legitimate test, even on the road and at night.
The Bulldogs can win because…
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is exponentially better than Jordan Rodgers is
for Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs' defense is extremely talented – even with safety
Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree out of the lineup due to
several body blows in the first two and a half quarters of its game at Missouri
in Week 2 before pulling away from the Tigers in the fourth quarter. This is a
deep team with an ample supply of confidence. Having won the SEC East last
year, it has every reason to trust its abilities.
marked contrast, is a team that's doubting itself. The Commodores always seem
to play opponents close but they rarely – if ever – close the deal. They
couldn't beat Arkansas despite outplaying the Razorbacks for most of that game
in 2011, they couldn't beat South Carolina this season and they couldn't beat
Northwestern despite outplaying the Wildcats. Vanderbilt will get demoralized
at the first sign of adversity and Georgia will pull away.
Outlook & NCAA Football Betting Prediction:
Vanderbilt hates Georgia so much that the Commodores are
likely to stay in the fight and cover the spread. However, Vanderbilt just
doesn't win games outright against upper-tier SEC foes. Georgia wins,
Football Picks: Vanderbilt +16