There are many similarities between this week's matchup with Vanderbilt and last week's against Ole Miss. It's an early start. It's on the road in a small stadium. It's against a typically inferior opponent. The only major difference is that Vanderbilt is even more inferior than the Rebels. Where Ole Miss has played better than expected this season, Vandy is right where we expect them to be.
Yes, James Franklin is a great guy, and you have to commend him for being so excited about his job, but when it comes down to it, Vandy is still Vandy. They are always going to have the type of the talent that will not be able to keep up with the SEC. They are always going to limp along and play cupcake to those lucky enough to get them on the schedule. In football, it's just how it is. I'm sorry.
That being said, there is no way Auburn should lose to the Commodores this weekend. At this point in the season, everything wrong with Auburn is mental, and every reason that Auburn could lose to Vandy is mental. The talent is superior. Even on a bad day, the talent is superior. At some point, something has to give.
Auburn showed small signs of life on the offensive side of the ball last weekend, but like almost every game, lost it in the 4th quarter. I don't think Vanderbilt is good enough to make that happen again. Will Auburn let it happen, either way? The stats say yes, but the law of averages says no.
There is no way a team with this talent can continue to shoot themselves in the foot. There is no way a coaching staff that won a national championship two years ago can continue to make the bad decisions that have been made. No, Scot Loeffler was not on that staff, but everyone else was. Somehow, some way the cream is going to rise to the top. This black cloud can not stay forever.
We now know that Clint Moseley will be making the start again this week, and like last week, it suggests one thing: Auburn is going to run the ball... a lot. That is exactly what they need to do. They had the most success last week when Tre Mason ran the ball up the middle. It set up a few play-actions and Auburn actually looked like a football team for a quarter.
Vanderbilt's rushing defense is awful, so the choice is clear. Run, Auburn, run.
The last time I traveled to Nashville to watch Auburn play was in 2008 and the Tony Franklin fiasco was in full effect. Vanderbilt was the best they've been in decades and excitement on campus was at an all time high: a strong four out of ten. It was the perfect storm for the Tigers, and even then they only lost by one point (a missed FG in the first quarter).
In a way, this almost feels the same, but one could argue that this Auburn team is in worse shambles at this point. They would be correct. But then I'll argue that this Vanderbilt team is nothing like the one they were in 2008, either.
I don't buy the whole premise that this team has lost their will to win, and is divided, and hate life, and is losing just to make you mad. This team wants to win. In the end, they are just college kids. They want to go out and play and have fun. If Auburn does that, talent will rise up, and talent will win.
Auburn will come out strong, look better than they have all season, and end the game early. I just have that feeling. Something has to give. And it's going to happen.
Auburn 34, Vanderbilt 17