Vanderbilt +24 over Florida
- No question it's incredibly tough to go against
Florida. A potential National Championship team. A team that really
hasn't played a close game all year with the exception of 3 quarters
against Miami and a loss to Ole Miss. Not only have they blown teams
out but look at the teams they have blown out. Specifically LSU and
Georgia. Now we have Vanderbilt, a team that hasn't scored more than
14 points in a game for 4 weeks straight going up against one of the
best offenses in the land. Rarely will we ever back a team that we
don't think can win a game straight up. That's really our M.O.
Backing good dogs we think can spring outright upsets, or small
priced favs. Do we think Vanderbilt can beat Florida? It's possible.
It's just not likely. So in this spot, we're likely asking Vandy to
stay within the number. But hey, a straight up win? Dare to dream.
There are some interesting things we can point to
when making a case for Vandy. Let's start with the pointspread of
recent Vandy- Florida games. Now remember, Florida has had some
pretty good teams over the years, including a National Championship
team in 2006. Yet in the last 6 years, Florida has never been a 24
point favorite against Vandy. The last 4 times they have played, we
saw lines of -14.5, -16.5, -18.5 and -11.5 all with Florida being
favored. This is significant because Vandy covered 2 of the last 3
games and there is little doubt that this Vandy team is better than
any of the past years teams. Furthermore, if you gave Vanderbilt 24
points in each of the last 16 games between these two, Vandy would
have gone 11-5 against the spread. They also would have covered 5 of
the last 6 if given +24.
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Again, we have brought it up all year, Vandy hasn't
had a winning season in 25 years yet they have sprung upsets and
played very well against the very best the SEC has thrown at them,
at times. They have even given Florida a run for their money as
recently as 2005 and 2006 with scores of 25-19 and 49-42. Both
losses. Both very close. Again, this is significant because we want
to see if the talent that Vanderbilt can put on the field is capable
of competing with the talent that Florida puts on the field. We
don't have to look far to get that answer as illustrated above and
it's a big yes. So why not in a year that may be the best in 25
years for Vandy?
Of course it never hurts to have other motivational
and psychological factors on your side and it just so happens we do
in this game. Let's start with a potential flat spot for the Gators.
Yeah, they destroyed Georgia last week in a game that Georgia really
never had a chance in even before the game started. That was a HUGE
revenge affair that Florida was sky high for. Once that game started
going Florida's way the snowball affect took over. They could play
next week and you'd see a much different game. But it is what it is
and the point is, Florida was Sky High. It's tough to get college
kids sky high week after week. Especially for an opponent like
Vanderbilt. There's no revenge, nothing special, it's just
Vanderbilt. It's a natural flat spot.
Vandy on the other hand has plenty to be excited
about. They are getting all kinds of attention not generally given
to Vanderbilt football. The ESPN crew will be there once again, and
it's a night time, prime time affair with the nation watching. We
mention this because it does matter. Realize that a team can play
way over their heads under the right circumstances. Those
circumstances being, a huge game with plenty of SEC significance, as
both teams still in the hunt, as well as the aforementioned National
TV audience. Here's a direct quote from one of the Vandy Captains :
"We're excited about being at home you know.
ESPN's coming again, it's a night game, we're excited. It's good for
the campus life and community around here, so we're excited about
it. Nationally televised game again, we're going to be fired up and
ready to go."
Vanderbilt will win at least 6 games this year and
will go to a Bowl game for the first time in 25 years (they have
Kentucky, Tenn and Wake Forest left). It would be wild if they could
accomplish that against Florida. That would really make this a
season to remember. Having come close before, it's not out of the
question. Either way you have to assume this will be their best
effort to date this year. Vanderbilt has the type of team to keep
this one within the number. They haven't allowed more than 24 points
in a game all year long. At home they haven't given up more than 21.
They don't have the horses on offense to go toe to toe with the
Gators (although they did go toe to toe 3 years ago) but they do
have a defense that's comparable.
Huge game, huge crowd, excitement on campus,
potential Gator letdown, best Vandy team in years, a good defense,
looking for a Bowl game, tight games in the past, it all adds up to
a game that ends up being closer than the big spot. Vanderbilt + 24
P.S. Florida lost to Ole Miss at home. Guess who
beat Ole Miss at Ole Miss? If you said Vanderbilt, you win!
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