I wasn't planning on posting anything about the Vanderbilt game, figuring I didn't have a whole lot to add to the conversation that hadn't already been expertly covered by Gamecock Man.
But then a funny thing I happened. The guy who operates the Twitter feed for the Vanderbilt Rivals site published a tweet that can only be described as emocore:
That would be a powerful statement if it was based in reality. Unfortunately for the Commodores and their righteously indignant Rivals.com writer, there is overwhelming statistical evidence that extreme turnover margins are not sustainable and typically revert to something closer to league average. Vanderbilt has been particularly fortunate that most of their own turnovers have come at positions on the field where the giveaway didn't end up being that costly for the Gold and Black. In fact, turnover luck was the decisive factor in the Commodores' three-point victory against UConn. To be fair, the same is true of South Carolina's 45-42 win over Georgia. But there's a big difference between winning a game you didn't to deserve to win in Athens and doing the same against the sans Edsall Huskies in Nashville.
For good or ill, I took a swing at this low-hanging fruit and got into it with him a bit.
Look, I think it's good for the SEC and exciting as a fan of the SEC if Vanderbilt fields a good football team. I will probably root for the Commodores in the remainder of their games this season. But we need to get some perspective here. If you told me that, in any given season, Vanderbilt would beat Elon, Connecticut, and Ole Miss, I would say, "Sure, that sounds about right." But for some reason the fact that they happened to schedule all three of those games in a row has everyone talking about Vanderbilt as a breakout team in the SEC East.
Gamecock fans above all can empathize with the frustration of not having your hot start taken seriously by your SEC brethren. I even feel a little bad that South Carolina is going to have to ruin the 'Dores unblemished record on Saturday.
But after Navy came within a possession of beating the Gamecocks, Steve Spurrier will be looking to clean up his operation and put the SEC on notice that the East is still South Carolina's territory to lose. And when a man hates getting embarrassed by the triple option (and the NCAA) as much as the Head Ball Coach does, sometimes that means that a perfectly innocent football program like Vanderbilt's must be publicly beheaded as a warning to encroaching rivals.
I think South Carolina wins this one. And I don't think it ends up being particularly close.
My prediction: Vanderbilt 17, South Carolina 42.