There's an old axiom among coaches that teams improve the most between their fist and second games of a season. If that's true, then this could be a good night for the 0-1 Vanderbilt Commodores. Simultaneously, the 0-1 LSU Tigers should also be better than they were one week ago when they dropped their season opener at home.
There is little doubt that the Tigers are the more physically talented team and on paper. In La Vegas, the Bayou Bengals are the presumptive favorite entering Saturday night's matchup at Vanderbilt Stadium.
Exactly how much of a favorite are the Tigers in this one?
If you follow point spreads, then the Tigers are a 20.5 point favorite, but the COmmodores were a 30.5 point underdog last week at Texas A&M and managed to hang close, having a chance to win in the end before ultimately falling 17-12.
So what will happen this week? Here are three predictions for tonight's game.
1) Trench Warfare: The Vanderbilt defensive line is the strength of this team, as evidenced by their performance a week ago in which Pro Football Focus ranked them the top d0line in the nation for last week. They will need that same effort and more this week against an LSU squad still licking their wounds and likely looking to run the football more impactfully.
It's not easy to watch the line play, but it might be worthy of some extra attention in this one because this will be where this one is determined.
If the Commodores can hold point and limited the Tigers on the ground, we could see them close late in the game. If not, then thins one might be over early.
2) It's on Seals: THe Tigers defense will be aggressive up front against the run and want to force the game onto the shoulders of Vanderbilt's true freshman quarterback Ken Seals. While Seals is poised and mature beyond his years, how he handles the pressure that will come from the Tigers front seven will be essential.
Look for Seals to play well; the most important question his how will those around him fare in this one?
3) Tigers Take Advantage Through The Air: LSU quarterback Myles Brennan threw for over 350 yards and three scores last week, so it's an easy step to think he can do something similar this week against the Commodores secondary.
The Tigers will get theirs in the air, but can the Vanderbilt secondary make some plays and force Brennan to make mistakes like a week ago when he served up two interceptions. If they can do that and their front seven can handle the running game of LSU, the Commodores could hang around and make this one interesting again this week.