David Paschall: Vanderbilt could get on a roll

David Paschall: Vanderbilt could get on a roll

October 25th, 2012 by David Paschall in Sports - Columns

Vanderbilt Commodores head coach James Franklin

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

OTHER PICKS

Clemson 34, Wake Forest 17

Louisville 31, Cincinnati 24

N.C. State 23, N. Carolina 22

Maryland 19, Boston Coll. 16

Georgia Tech 35, BYU 28

Florida State 42, Duke 9

North Texas 28, MTSU 20

Oregon 66, Colorado 15

Kansas St. 30, Texas Tech 21

Penn State 17, Ohio State 13

Oklahoma 33, Notre Dame 14

Oregon St. 21, Washington 20

Southern Cal 32, Arizona 21

Rutgers 45, Kent State 18

Michigan 27, Nebraska 22

Boise State 38, Wyoming 19

Stanford 49, Wash. State 14

This doesn't get typed every October, but Vanderbilt has a chance to win out.

The Commodores faced South Carolina, Georgia and Florida within the first six games and could close a regular season with six straight victories for the first time since 1948. Vanderbilt began the second half of its schedule with last Saturday's 17-13 win over Auburn, improving to 3-4 after a 1-3 start, and hosts winless Massachusetts this week at Homecoming.

"We're really excited to go out there and play together and improve on what we did last week and what we've been doing all year long," second-year coach James Franklin said Wednesday. "Offensively, I see us growing, and our quarterback play has been really improved. Defensively, we have really been playing well after a few games where we gave up some big plays."

Franklin is not big on looking ahead, but Vanderbilt's November slate contains Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Wake Forest. The Commodores went 3-1 against that quartet a year ago, but facing the Rebels in Oxford will be difficult.

Vandy beat Auburn last week despite three turnovers and two unsuccessful fourth-down gambles.

"I don't know if Vanderbilt has ever had a minus-three turnover ratio and won an SEC game," Franklin said. "I don't know if that's ever happened, but we found a way to do it."

Pasquali's Pix:

Tennessee at South Carolina: There is nothing quite like a chess match between Steve Spurrier and Sal Sunseri. Gamecocks 37, Volunteers 20.

Kentucky at Missouri: Methinks this might be a matchup more suitable for hoops. Tigers 26, Wildcats 17.

Ole Miss at Arkansas: For the first time since 1997, this game will not have Houston Nutt walking a sideline. Razorbacks 30, Rebels 27.

Florida vs. Georgia: Gators coach Will Muschamp, who had assistant stints with LSU and Auburn, has lost his last four meetings against his alma mater. Gators 23, Bulldogs 13.

Georgia Southern at UTC: No matter who wins, there will always be more to see and do in Chattanooga than Statesboro. Eagles 20, Mocs 17.

Texas A&M at Auburn: Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel is averaging 103 yards more per game than Auburn's entire offense. Aggies 17, Tigers 10.

UMass at Vanderbilt: This could be the seventh game Vandy has won by 20 or more points under Franklin. Commodores 45, Minutemen 6.

Mississippi State at Alabama: The Crimson Tide have won the past four series meetings by a combined 117-27. Crimson Tide 31, Bullies 13.

Last week:

Winners.......................21

Media-ducking Brays....4

Pasquali is now 154-46 (77.0 percent) overall this season.