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Tennessee Volunteers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores: statsy preview

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If the Vols can score enough points, they should find themselves in good shape Saturday.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Stop drives early. Vanderbilt's offense is very good in the red zone, so the best chance for a battered Vols' defense is to stop drives early before they get too close. Tennessee's red zone defense has not been very good at all, so if Vandy sniffs the end zone, it's probably going to end up as seven on the scoreboard. But if the Tennessee defense can somehow keep them off schedule early in drives in the right part of the field, then they'll have a chance to force a punt.

Score early in drives on big plays. Vandy is also extremely good in the red zone on defense. Tennessee's red zone offense has been much better lately, but it looks like it might be best for the Vols to just bust out as many explosive plays as possible and make it a moot point. Bottom line, the Commodores appear to be formidable in tight spaces and short fields, so Tennessee needs to make the most of its playmakers in space.

Score. There's a lot of talk about Vandy's rushing offense with Ralph Webb, and he is good there is no doubt. But the main concern is that Tennessee's rushing defense has been atrocious, and there doesn't appear to be any reason to believe that it's going to get fixed this week. So it's once again on the shoulders of the offense to outscore the defense and to do it quickly.

If the Vols can do those things, they will have done their part to keep their hopes for a trip to the Sugar Bowl alive and well.

Tennessee 33, Vanderbilt 21.

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The tables for this week are below. But as always, a quick note on strength of schedule first. The Vols still hold the nation's most-difficult schedule, while Vanderbilt's is ranked 29th. Here's a handy look at the relative strength of schedules. Wins are in green, losses are in yellow.

Vols Commodores
1 (Alabama: L; 49-10)
9 (Auburn: L; 23-16)
15 (Western Kentucky: W; 31-30)
17 (Florida: W; 38-28) 17 (Florida: L; 13-6)
18 (Texas A&M: L; 45-38)
27 (Virginia Tech: W; 45-24)
28 (Appalachian State: W; 20-13)
32 (Ole Miss: W; 38-17)
57 (Georgia Tech: L; 38-7)
62 (Georgia: W; 34-31) 62 (Georgia: W; 17-16)
64 (Missouri: L; 26-17)
67 Middle Tennessee: W; 47-24)
74 (Kentucky: W; 49-36) 74 (Kentucky: L; 20-13)
83 (Ohio: W; 28-19)
88 (South Carolina: L; 24-21) 88 (South Carolina: L; 13-10)
FCS (Tennessee Tech: W; 55-0) FCS (Tennessee State: W; 35-17)

Processing Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt.

Tennessee Vanderbilt Comps Result against Comps Guess
Next Worst Next Best Next Worst Next Best
Team Team Team Team
Value Value
Tennessee rushing offense vs. Vanderbilt rushing defense 205.6 164.5 Tennessee Tech Virginia Tech Tennessee Tech Virginia Tech 250
177.0 149.2 177 239
Tennessee passing offense vs. Vanderbilt passing defense 224.5 236.8 Missouri Appalachian State Missouri Appalachian State 220
237.6 210.0 223 192
Tennessee rushing defense vs. Vanderbilt rushing offense 235.3 162.5 Florida Georgia Florida Georgia 160
150.0 179.5 106 181
Tennessee passing defense vs. Vanderbilt passing offense 210.9 173.8 Kentucky Appalachian State Kentucky Appalachian State 170
172.0 180.7 192 108
Tennessee scoring offense vs. Vanderbilt scoring defense 36.5 21.5 South Carolina Texas A&M South Carolina Texas A&M 34
22.0 21.1 21 38
Tennessee scoring defense vs. Vanderbilt scoring offense 27.8 21.5 Tennessee Tech Georgia Tennessee Tech Georgia 24
0.0 23.7 0 31

Processing Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee.

Vanderbilt Tennessee Comps Result against Comps Guess
Next Worst Next Best Next Worst Next Best
Team Team Team Team
Value Value
Vanderbilt rushing offense vs. Tennessee rushing defense 162.5 235.3 Missouri Mississippi Missouri Mississippi 200
239.9 227.2 159 208
Vanderbilt passing offense vs. Tennessee passing defense 173.8 210.9 Auburn Kentucky Auburn Kentucky 180
216.8 208.5 221 141
Vanderbilt rushing defense vs. Tennessee rushing offense 164.5 205.6 Georgia Missouri Georgia Missouri 180
179.5 211.8 75 187
Vanderbilt passing defense vs. Tennessee passing offense 236.8 224.5 Florida Tennessee State Florida Tennessee State 220
217.3 285.0 144 285
Vanderbilt scoring offense vs. Tennessee scoring defense 21.5 27.8 Kentucky Georgia Tech Kentucky Georgia Tech 21
30.5 24.8 13 7
Vanderbilt scoring defense vs. Tennessee scoring offense 21.5 36.5 Tennessee State Middle Tennessee Tennessee State Middle Tennessee 31
17.0 36.7 17 24

So . . .

Tennessee rushing yards 215, passing yards 220, points 32.

Vanderbilt rushing yards 180, passing yards 175, points 22.