For a crackpot writer like myself, the appeal behind a bold predictions post needn't explanation: Few, if any, will take my auguring seriously (nor should they); but, should any of my cockamamie declarations manage to indeed come to fruition, I am thereby afforded bragging rights which I will undoubtedly cash in on, shoving it into the mugs of those who denounced or doubted that I, of unnatural clairvoyance, was right about at least one thing concerning college football this season. That one thing might be that Vanderbilt will start its season 6-0.
You read that right, damn it. Derek Mason's sophomore season will start with a sextuple of green dubbayas streaming consecutively downward on the first half of his team's schedule. On the surface this seems implausible until you look at Vandy's slate, and realize that it plays UGA in the second game of the season at home; and the Dawgs, though my favorite to take the East, will at such time have someone who has not done much quarterbacking -- in the SEC, at least -- under center. Further, UGA has for whatever reason been apt to struggle in early-season games. This bodes well for a Vandy team low on experience and talent and other things. The Commodores -- assumingly, hypothetically -- just scraped by a pesky Western Kentucky outfit in week one, but found a quarterback and some offensive confidence, in Johnny McCrary, who beat out Wade Freebeck in an in-game tryout. McCrary's and Vandy's confidence will roll over into Game Two, which the ‘Dores will take on a late-game fumble return after a driving Georgia coughs up the ball inside its own 5-yard line. Strangely, the exact same scenario will play out weeks later in Oxford, when Mason's squad upends Ole Miss.
The Commodores will continue riding high until Mizzou comes to town, at which time Vandy's run of luck will cease in quick order, sparking a free fall that won't end until its bowl game. Yes, sadly, Vandy will finish the regular season with a losing streak to match its run of victories; but all hope won't be lost, as running back Ralph Webb will earn First Team All-American honors after a 2,000-yard season, including an NCAA co-record of 427 yards rushing when he returns to his hometown, Gainesville, in November. And no, the arrival of former Wisconsin OC -- and coach of brief holder of that record, Melvin Gordon -- Andy Ludwig has nothing to do with that prediction. Not a thing.
Vandy will make the most of its Birmingham Bowl matchup against Temple by exacting revenge on the team that outclassed them by 30 points to kick off the Mason era. McCrary, who was supplanted at QB by Freebeck following a lopsided loss against Kentucky, will catch the game-winning pass.