Friday, October 3, 2008

Vanderbilt Will Shine Under the Spotlight of ESPN

Auburn Tigers 4-1 @ Vanderbilt Commodores 4-0
Line: Aub -4

ESPN Game Day will visit Vanderbilt for the first time ever as the Commodores look to inch closer to ending a bowl drought that extends back to the early 80s. However, Auburn comes in as the favorite after dispatching Tennessee at home last week 14-12.

Auburn Offense vs Vanderbilt Defense
Auburn's new spread offense under OC Tony Franklin has failed to deliver thus far. The Tigers managed just 3 points earlier this season against Miss State and needed a defensive touchdown to beat Tennessee last week. QB Chris Todd has split time with backup Kodi Burns, but it has not been enough to spark Auburn on offense. The running game has done pretty well led by Ben Tate though. Right now, Auburn's o-line is struggling with the new blocking schemes and they do not have the receivers or quarterback to run this offense.

Vanderbilt's defense has always been solid under Bobby Johnson keeping them in many of those close games they have lost over the years. This season, Vandy has been giving up yards, but has done a really good job of forcing turnovers and keeping their opponents off the scoreboard. However, the 124 ypg allowed on the ground is concerning against an Auburn team rushing for 155 ypg this season though.

Key: Can Vanderbilt's Defense continue to generate turnovers?

Vanderbilt Offense vs Auburn Defense
Bobby Johnson has turned to more of a option based attack with Chris Nickson under center. The 'Dores are averaging over 200 ypg on the ground this season, but a measly 80 through the air each game. Vandy's offense has done an excellent job of turning opponent turnovers into points averaging close 30 ppg on under 300 ypg of offense.

While the Auburn offense struggles, the defense has not missed a beat under new DC Paul Rhoads scoring touchdowns in each of the last two games. This defense has done an exceptional job against the pass allowing just 155 ypg. This defense also leads the nation in third down conversion percentage.

Key: Can Vanderbilt open up the offense when Auburn stacks the box?

Vanderbilt is sky high with their top 25 ranking and ESPN Game Day coming to Nashville. Still, Vegas is not giving Vandy much respect as a home underdog to an Auburn team which has not been overly impressive this year. Vandy has had really good starts before under Bobby Johnson, but has choked in the big games. Auburn’s offense is not making significant improvement and now has two QBs running their offense, which means they don’t have any good ones. If Vanderbilt can keep their turnovers in their favor like they have all year they have a good chance in this one. But if they give the ball up and Auburn gets points off of them, then the Commodore ship could sink under the spotlight. I just cannot trust Auburn's offense enough to go and win on the road right now

Vanderbilt 20 Auburn 17
Vanderbilt Covers

Last Week: 2-1 ATS, 1-2 SU
13-5-1 ATS, 12-7 SU


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