NCAA Football Odds: Vanderbilt visit No 2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Friday, October 07, 2011
by Frank Martin
The only thing No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide has to worry about at this point is complacency. Destined for a showdown with No. 1 LSU on the first weekend of November, the Crimson Tide need to make sure they keep their foot on the gas when they open up a three-game string of matchups with unranked teams leading up to that date with the Tigers.
First up is resurgent Vanderbilt Commodores, which may avoid the Southeastern Conference basement this season but will struggle to put points on the board against the most dominant defense in the nation.
Vanderbilt Commodores (3-1): The Commodores have had two weeks to prepare for the Crimson Tide after suffering their first loss of the season at No. 12 South Carolina on Sept. 24. That 21-3 setback included 77 yards of total offense. The big problem has been a passing game that has been held to 124.3 yards per game. Vanderbilt's offense probably won't be able to penetrate Alabama's defense. Its hope lies in a stingy, attacking defense that leads the nation with 14 interceptions.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-0): The Crimson Tide have faced three ranked teams this season and have beaten them by an average of 22.7 points. Two of the more potent teams in the SEC, Arkansas and Florida, were the latest to run into the wall that is Alabama's No. 1 defense, which allows 8.4 points per game. The unit backs up the ground-and-pound style on offense with Heisman hopeful running back Trent Richardson, who went for 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 29 carries in last week's 38-10 victory in Gainesville. Alabama doesn't hurt itself either, averaging only three penalties per game.
1. The Crimson Tide are 15-1 all-time against Vanderbilt at Bryant-Denny Stadium and will be celebrating homecoming Saturday. They are 76-13-1 in homecoming games.
2. Alabama knows how to finish, outscoring opponents 45-8 and outgaining them on the ground 639-59 in the fourth quarter this season.
3. Commodores quarterback Larry Smith was named all-classification Player of the Year as a high school senior in Alabama.
NCAA PREDICTION: Alabama 38, Vanderbilt 7 - The Commodores are on the way up under first-year coach James Franklin but the Crimson Tide are riding a straight path to the national championship game and will not be detoured by a perennial doormat.
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