Qualifying for a bowl game isn't a very big deal at most Power 5 schools. But it would be at Vanderbilt and the Commodores can inch closer to that with a home upset of Texas A&M on Saturday. The Aggies are -6.5 on YouWager with a total of 40.5.
A&M Still Has Shot At 10-Win Season
Texas A&M (7-3, 3-3) was essentially on a bye last week as the Aggies played their home finale and handled Western Carolina 41-17. The Catamounts were tied 14-all midway through the second quarter before the Aggies pulled away.
Aggies true freshman QB Kyler Murray threw for 191 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 50 yards, but he was picked off twice. Former starter Kyle Allen got some action and was 6-for-6 for 88 yards with a TD. You hear rumors that the sophomore Allen, a very highly touted recruit like Murray, could transfer this offseason after losing the starting gig. Receiver Christian Kirk caught nine passes for 122 yards and two TDs. He is the first true freshman to break the 60-catch barrier and the 800-yard barrier in program history and has tied the true freshman receiving TDs record of six originally set by Uzoma Nwachukwu in 2009. Kirk is a future Heisman Trophy candidate. Tra Carson rushed for 109 yards, his third straight 100-yard game.
It was Texas A&M's 20th straight win over a non-conference opponent, which is the longest streak in the FBS. The Aggies are 11-5 in true road games in the Kevin Sumlin Era. They are 4-6 against the spread on college football odds this season and 4-6 'over/under.'
Commodores Can Defend, But Scoring A Problem
Vanderbilt (4-6, 2-4) was 3-9 under Derek Mason last year and winless in the SEC and some thought Mason's seat might be a bit hot entering this season But the Commodores are certainly more competitive as they look for their first bowl game since 2013, which was former coach James Franklin's final season. And Vandy might not even need six wins to play postseason football for only the fifth time this century. That's because there are now so many bowl games, 80 teams needed to fill all the slots, that it's quite possible the NCAA will have to allow some five-win teams to play in bowl games. And do you know what the tiebreaker is for the NCAA to pick between 5-7 teams? It's based on the Academic Progress Rating. Vandy is easily the best academic school in the SEC and its 983 APR is among the nation's best.
The Commodores ended a two-game losing streak last Saturday with a 21-17 home win over Kentucky. Freshman QB Kyle Shurmur played for the first time since suffering a concussion against Houston on Oct. 31. In his third career start, Shurmur completed 10-for-16 for 129 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.
All of Vandy's points came before intermission and a very good defense made it stand up. Safety Oren Burks intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown and stopping a Kentucky drive in the end zone with the other. He was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week. The Vanderbilt defense leads the SEC in third-down conversions and red zone defense.
Ralph Webb led Vanderbilt with 113 rushing yards on 33 carries and is averaging 107.3 yards in the last four games. Shurmur has started in both of Vanderbilt’s SEC wins this season (also vs. Missouri). It was just the second time this season that the Commodores had multiple passing touchdowns in a game. The 21 points were the most Vanderbilt has scored against an FBS foe in 2015. It hadn't had a TD pass since a 19-10 loss at South Carolina on Oct. 17.
Vandy is 7-3 against the spread on college football picks and an astounding 0-9-1 'over/under.'
Vandy visited College Station on Oct. 26, 2013, when the Aggies were No. 16 in the nation and A&M rolled 56-24 -- the Commodores would actually win their final five games after that. Some guy named Johnny Manziel was A&M's quarterback that game and threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns in less than three quarters. He was actually questionable with a shoulder injury. Freshman Patton Robinette started at QB for Vandy and threw two interceptions -- one was returned for a score -- and was sacked five times. There were eight turnovers in the game, five by A&M. That was the only time these two schools have ever played.
College Football Picks: Give the points, go 'under' the total at YouWager. The Aggies are 8-3 ATS in their past 11 vs. teams with a losing record. Vandy is 0-5 ATS in its past five at home vs. teams with a winning road record. The 'under' is 5-2 in A&M's past seven. The under is 5-0-1 in Vandy's past six at home.