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It's always tempting to look at a Vanderbilt win in the SEC and wonder what brand of smoke and mirrors the Commodores pulled out to win that one. But there were no smoke and mirrors in Nashville on Saturday, only the better team winning the game by a convincing margin.
Vanderbilt outgained Ole Miss by a 387-234 margin. Larry Smith was a solid if unspectacular 13-of-20 for 103 yards. But Zac Stacy was the star, running the ball 11 times for 169 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown. The only potential sour note for the 'Dores was a trick play that went wrong and put an interception on Stacy's stat line, and the fact that Ole Miss' touchdown with a shade over two minutes left prevented Vanderbilt's first 30-point SEC win in 40 years.
It's probably too early to start talking about this, but there are enough winnable games for Vanderbilt to allow Commodores fans to dream of the postseason. Home games against Army and Kentucky, as well as a road showdown with Wake Forest, are all still on the calendar. And until Vanderbilt has lost its first game, it's hard to count them out of any matchup, because we really don't know where the ceiling is. They're probably not knocking off Alabama this season, but another upset's not out of the question.
Meanwhile, for Houston Nutt, Oxford is getting a little warmer. He's got a big enough buyout to hold off the dogs for a time, but only for a time. When you're losing by 23 points to Vanderbilt, administrators have to start wondering if they can afford to keep you around.