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Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Florida Gators Preview: Two Different Kinds of Mediocre

Neither Vanderbilt nor Florida have had years that point to them being any other than average teams. But they've each gotten there in their own way

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Florida Gators, 12 p.m. ET, FSN

We're getting to the point of the year when we know most of these teams pretty well. And one of the things we should have been able to glean at this point is that Vanderbilt and Florida are both mediocre teams. Mediocre in their own ways, mind you, but average teams nonetheless.

Florida is the team with a stout defense -- though one that has staggered the last couple of weeks as injuries start to catch up to it -- and an awful offense -- also badly hit by injuries. It's who Florida is, and there's likely know way to change that, at least not in the time left in the 2013 season.

Vanderbilt is a more thoroughly average team -- averaged in a balanced way, you might say. The Commodores are statistically mediocre across the board, not as good as Florida on defense nor as bad as the Gators on offense.

But here, injuries have started to make a difference as well. Patton Robinette started instead of Austyn Carta-Samuels against Vanderbilt and -- well, it didn't go well. Robinette was 15-of-28 for 216 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions ... and five sacks. Texas A&M has 16 sacks on the season, and it had two against Vanderbilt quarterback Josh Grady. On the day, the Commodores managed just 329 yards against one of the SEC's most porous defenses.

Even as banged up as the Florida defense is, you have to think that it will be able to keep Vanderbilt reeling. The only question is whether the offense, dreadful as it is, can produce enough points to win the game. That will probably be a relatively low bar, but the Gators offense has made the failure to clear relatively low bars something of a specialty this year.

Most of Vanderbilt's truly bad performances this year, save the annihilation by Missouri, have come on the road. And most of the fleeting moments when Florida has looked relatively competent have come at home. Were this game in Nashville, I might make a different call, but home-field advantage tips it to the Gators.

Florida 20, Vanderbilt 13