Vanderbilt Getting Unprecedented Attention

Most glaring sign that Vanderbilt has finally arrived on the national football scene: Look who's in Nashville today. Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will broadcast ESPN College GameDay this morning from outside Vanderbilt Stadium, the crew's first trip to the Music City.

No. 19 Vandy, which hasn't played in a bowl game since 1982, takes on No. 13 Auburn at 5 p.m. on ESPN with — for two-plus decades, at least — unfathomable possibilities. A victory would make the Commodores 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC and could propel them into the top 10.

Simply put, this is biggest game of Bobby Johnson's coaching career to date.

He'll need an improved effort from quarterback Chris Nickson. And Auburn will need either Chris Todd or Kodi Burns to awaken the Tigers offense. Otherwise, these defenses are so stout, we could be looking at another Auburn-Mississippi State-style defensive snoozer.



Alabama On Alert

The second-ranked Crimson Tide drilled Georgia last Saturday night in Athens. But Alabama struggled after halftime, surely giving coach Nick Saban enough incentive to ride his players this week.

Alabama's opponent provides Saban's other source of motivation.

With a bye week awaiting, Alabama can't get caught hoping to breeze past visiting Kentucky at 2:30 p.m. on CBS. Rich Brooks' undefeated Wildcats have posted the most impressive point totals through four games of any SEC team.

Kentucky has scored 126 points and given up 22, though its strength of schedule hasn't been impressive.

The Wildcats, led by linebacker Jeremy Jarmon, must somehow stop suddenly dominant Alabama power running game, paced by Glen Coffee and Mark Ingram.



Being Competitive

Can Arkansas avoid a third straight blowout defeat when the Razorbacks welcome No. 12 Florida to Fayetteville (at 11:30 a.m. on KHOG)?

Welcoming a steamed Florida team that surprisingly lost at home to Ole Miss last Saturday doesn't help the case. Florida coach Urban Meyer talked of being embarrassed by the defeat, and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow even apologized to Gators fans.

The Razorbacks failed to control Texas quarterback Colt McCoy last week, a bad omen considering Tebow is a bigger, stronger, faster version. Arkansas linebackers Freddy Burton, Wendel Davis, Jerry Franklin and Elston Forte provide the Hogs with their only chance.

But even if the Hogs contain Tebow, remember, the Gators still have speedster Percy Harvin.



Quick Hits

Tennessee plays host to Northern Illinois at 6 p.m., desperately needing a confidence-boosting victory. Sophomore Nick Stephens replaces junior Jonathan Crompton at quarterback for the Volunteers. ... Ole Miss seeks to avoid a Florida-upset hangover against South Carolina at 1 p.m. in Oxford. ... Georgia, LSU and Mississippi State all had a bye this week.

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