If it's Thursday and, like me, you've seen too many really bad Vanderbilt teams give the Georgia Bulldogs all they can handle inside Sanford Stadium, you could probably use a drink. I can help you with that.
I'm going to level with you. I can riff on Dooley-esque pessimism with the best of them. But even I am having a hard time finding anything on this Vanderbilt squad to fret over. These guys are just awful. The Commodores are last in the SEC in scoring offense (17.0 ppg), last in scoring defense (34.8 ppg), turnover margin (-1.20) and a host of other statistical areas that serve as markers of a really bad football team.
They've even managed to screw up the whole flying under the radar thing that makes it easier to pull the upset.
So why do I have this uneasy feeling about this game? I think, as referenced above, it's because I've seen Vandy come in as a double digit underdog more than once then give Georgia all it could handle, even a loss or two. This game strikes me as a little dangerous for that reason, and because it seems like the kind of game that could be in doubt longer than it needs to be, keeping starters on the field to get worn down or injured before next week's critical road showdown with Missouri. There are just so many ways this could go wrong. . .
Hey! There it is! I got my Munson back!
All I'm looking for on Saturday is the following:
- Hutson Mason gaining some confidence. Mason said earlier this week that the coaches want him to just let it rip out there a little more. To have some fun. I think that's probably in order. During the Tennessee game Mason looked a little too much like he had read too many articles about his status as a "game manager", like he needed permission to take a shot deep. Mason doesn't have the strongest arm in the world but his touch ain't half bad, especially on the deep ball. I'd love to see him take advantage of the return of Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell to air it out a bit.
- As little Todd Gurley as possible. Something like 10 rushes for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns sounds nice. We're going to need him fit and rested next week in a game against Missouri that could be for control of the SEC East race.
- No big plays from the secondary. Vanderbilt is (stop me if you've heard this one) dead last in the SEC in plays of 30+ yards from scrimmage. I'd like to see our secondary continue to tighten things down in terms of technique and scheme. This includes Coach Pruitt, who frankly got caught in some bad looks against Tennessee.
- Starters shuffling out by the end of the third quarter with a win safely in hand.
If those things happen it's a win. Just bring the ship safely into port against the Commodores. And if you're praying for a safe return through what history has shown to be unexpectedly troubled seas, you'll need the time-honored drink of sailors looking to steady their nerves. Rum. Rum punch to be specific. I have a ton of rum punch recipes, but this is one of the best. Mix 4 ounces of Bacardi 151 proof rum, 2 ounces of dark rum, 2 ounces of coconut rum, 8 ounces each of pineapple and orange juice, 2 ounces of lime juice, and 4 tablespoons of grenadine. It's got a punch to it, but is pretty well balanced. Plus the lime juice gives it a nice tart kick. This recipe makes 3 drinks, which should be plenty to get you to kickoff, or keep you from making it to kickoff as the case may be. Drink up and go 'Dawgs!!!
Also, feel free to use this as the open comment thread for tonight's NFL and college action, which looks fairly promising. We'll see you in the morning with more preview type things for Saturday's action.