By Tony Carter
The (3-1, 1-1) Vanderbilt Commodores visit the (5-0, 1-0) #2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide this weekend following a bye week for Vanderbilt and a major win over Florida for Alabama. Alabama has only lost one time to Vanderbilt in 35 previous meetings. The overall series record is heavily in Alabama’s favor at 58-19-4. It is the first meeting between the schools since 2007.
Following a 30-7 rout of Ole Miss two games ago, Vanderbilt traveled to Columbia and was simply outmatched by South Carolina. Vandy managed only 77 total yards and a staggering four yards of that coming by means of the “ground attack.”
Don’t expect their next defensive opponent that they play this weekend to be any more lenient in terms of productivity. Alabama comes in as the number one team in FBS vs. the rush at just under 40 yards per contest and 1.49 yards/attempt. Alabama is allowing only 8.4 points per game, also first in all of FBS. Conversely, Alabama is averaging over 6 yards per carry and 230 per contest.
Watch for Alabama to reduce the playbook, keep it simple and get lots of players playing time.
Probably the biggest challenge this weekend (and the season as a whole) for the Tide is not to lose focus and “remember” last year’s loss to South Carolina, the Iron Bowl, and not finishing. Not that I’m alluding to the UA losing this weekend. I’m simply identifying the notion that the only thing that can slow down this team is itself, period.
Other facts about Alabama and Vanderbilt:
According to UA records, Alabama is 76-13-1 in homecoming games. The Alabama Crimson Tide is 14-1 against Vanderbilt in Tuscaloosa. Alabama’s last loss and only loss to Vanderbilt when playing in Tuscaloosa came in 1984.
Prediction: Alabama 41 Vanderbilt 6