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Vanderbilt Vs. Northwestern Preview: Two Teams Try to Find Out What They Have

Looking for better luck this time out.
Looking for better luck this time out.

Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Northwestern Wildcats, 8 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

This is a really tough game to figure out right now. As of this writing, the South Carolina team that was all but shut down by the Commodores with its starting quarterback in for part of the game just destroyed East Carolina without its starting quarterback. (Sure, it was East Carolina, but still.) The Syracuse team that Northwestern narrowly defeated is acquitting itself well against Southern Cal, thought to be one of the best teams in the nation.

But it's Vanderbilt vs. Northwestern. This is supposed to be a great basketball game, not a great football game. And one week of data doesn't really give us enough time to figure out whether the Commodores or the Wildcats are good, middling, or something closer to their historical awfulness.

Not that any of us in SEC country will see the game, since it's on the Big Ten Network. But we know this much: Vanderbilt has a defense, something that isn't entirely clear about Northwestern. The Wildcats allowed 596 yards of total offense to Syracuse. If Vanderbilt can get about three-fifths of that, it should be a solid day for them.

Vanderbilt 21, Northwestern 20