Oh, what might have been. Instead, the outcome we got was one that we'd like to forget. Auburn came out and completely dominated in all facets of the game, and Vanderbilt was sent home with a loss that probably had a little sting to it. It's definitely one that has the Commodore fans talking. All kinds of things are being talked about, and most of them aren't very good.
Honestly, do we really know what to expect anymore? Not just in Nashville, but in all of college football? There has arguably been more parody in college football this season than any season in recent memory. How many people had Stanford beating USC on Saturday? Who thought the team in Knoxville would lead Georgia 28-0 at halftime, in route to a 35-14 win? Who picked the 21 point underdog, Notre Dame (previously 0-5), to go into Pasadena and beat up on UCLA? Is there logic or common sense behind any of this? We all expected the top teams to take care of business, but that hasn't been the case in recent weeks.
Maybe the only thing we can expect now is the unexpected. Truth is, none of us really know what is going to happen beforehand. We can take all the educated guesses we want, but I'm starting to learn that they are nothing but guesses. All logic has seemed to go right out the window this season. We can look at all the matchups, breakdown all the past games, but it's hard to believe these predictions anymore. We may think we know what the outcome is going to be, but this season has proved otherwise.
While Vanderbilt wasn't the favorite heading into Auburn, none of us really expected them to play the way they did. We at least had some hope heading into the game, and thought it would be at least be competitive. But that didn't happen. Most of expected Chris Nickson to bounce back and have a much better outing that he had against Eastern Michigan the previous week. But that didn't happen either. This has to be a concern heading into this weekend's game against Georgia. If the Dores can't get better play at the quarterback position, we could be looking at another long game this Saturday on West End. However, it's not just the quarterback position though. Sure, the quarterback position gets all the attention, but frankly, there's weren't many bright spots on offense, defense, or special teams at Auburn. Things will have to improve in all areas of the game if the Dores want to get their second SEC victory of the season.
The main problem has been consistency. Vandy hasn't had consistency at any position this year really, besides the defense. The defense had been very consistent up until this past weekend, so maybe the problem isn't as big there. The passing game hasn't been consistent, the running game hasn't been consistent, and the kicking game hasn't been consistent. If the Dores want to reach the promise land, a bowl game, they must be more consistent. There's really no other way around it. If some changes have to be made in order to achieve this consistency, then so be it.
Most people probably expect this weekend's game to feature two teams who will be very angry after their performances this past weekend. Georgia will likely come in with a chip on their shoulder, not just from the thrashing they took in Knoxville, but from the loss to the Commodores last year in Athens. They will be out for some revenge, and wanting to prove they are much better than what we saw from them last week. Vanderbilt will also likely be out to prove something this weekend. It's safe to say they probably have a bit more to prove than the Bulldogs though. The Dores will be looking to erase the Auburn game from our memories, and prove they are a much better football team than that. If these two teams show up to play, this could be a very good SEC football game.
Then again, we could see the same two teams from this past weekend show up, in what would make for a very interesting nationally televised football game. Perhaps the beauty of college football is the unexpected. Week in and week out, we no longer know what to expect. Anything can, and likely will happen. I would make my prediction as to who will win this weekend, but I have no clue. I don't know what to expect from either of these teams. If I picked Georgia to win easily, Vanderbilt would probably win it 38-3. If I picked Vanderbilt in a squeaker, Georgia might win it by 30. For some fans, the unexpected isn't good. For some, it can be a pleasant surprise.
But like it or not, we should all learn to expect the unexpected.