There's something you notice about Vanderbilt as you look over their schedule this season: The Commodores really don't look all that bad. They don't look ready to go to the SEC Championship Game or anything, but it's pretty clear that James Franklin's New Vanderbilt project hasn't completely fallen apart.
After all, the Commodores only lost by 10 to South Carolina after nearly being able to take advantage of South Carolina's weekly meltdown to win that game. The four-point loss to Ole Miss looks a lot better after the Rebels sprang the upset on LSU. And while the 23-point shellacking by Missouri is never going to look good, the Tigers have yet to win a game by less than 15 points this season. There's very little there to actually be ashamed of.
Still, it was hard to see the home win against Georgia happening last week, and it's even harder to see a win at Texas A&M. Unless things go exactly the right way for the Commodores -- say, with the inability of a certain quarterback to play and the defensive problems that have plagued the Aggies for weeks now. Of course, as questionable as Johnny Manziel might be, Austyn Carta-Samuels is flat out not going to play.
In truth, this game could go a long way toward answering the age-old question in sports: Would you rather be really good at one aspect of a game and terrible in another, or average across the board? The Commodores are ranked between 30th and 90th in the vast majority of the statistics tracked by the NCAA. Meanwhile, A&M is spectacular on offense, ranked in the Top 5 in several categories, while there are a number of categories in which the defense's rank hits triple digits. Oddly, the Aggies rank eightieth in red-zone offense, while the Commodores rank 119th in red-zone defense. Something's gotta give.
If Vanderbilt were at home, or if the Commodores had their starting quarterback ready to go, or if I was a bit more certain that Johnny Manziel would not play, I would consider this game for an upset. But none of those things are true; Texas A&M wins, because being good at something is probably better than being good at very little.
Texas A&M 47, Vanderbilt 45