A meeting of struggling SEC schools takes place on Saturday in Nashville when the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-4) welcome the Auburn Tigers (1-5) into Vanderbilt Stadium.
Auburn dropped its third consecutive game to Ole Miss last week, 41-20, while the Commodores were stymied by the then-No. 4 team in the land, the Florida Gators, 31-17.
Where: Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.
When: Saturday, October 20 at 12:21 p.m. ET
Watch: SEC Network
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Line: Vanderbilt (-7) via Vegas Insider
Key Storyline: Can Auburn Avoid a Winless SEC Season?
With conference games remaining against No. 18 Texas A&M, No. 11 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama, this is pretty much the Tigers' last chance to avoid going without a win in SEC play.
Going winless in the SEC only two years after winning the national championship would be another major blow to the coaching tenure of Tigers' head coach Gene Chizik.
Who Might Not Play for Auburn (via USA Today)
OL Christian Westerman (Undisclosed): Questionable for Saturday
CB Chris Davis (Undisclosed): Questionable for Saturday
Who Might Not Play for Vanderbilt (via USA Today)
LB Tristan Strong (Personal): Out indefinitely
BCS/Top 25 Implications
Neither team is anywhere near sniffing the Top 25 or being relevant in the BCS. This one's all about pride,
What They're Saying
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin told reporters that he had a lot of respect for Auburn head coach Gene Chizik and implied that Vanderbilt cannot afford to take the struggling Tigers for granted: "They are a very, very talented team. For us, or anybody, to think this team is not talented, I think, would be a major mistake."
Auburn Player to Watch: RB Tre Mason
Vanderbilt's run defense simply isn't good, ranking 100th in the nation as it gives up more than 200 yards rushing each week.
Tre Mason has been one of the few bright spots for the Tigers on offense this season, and both he and senior Onterio McCalebb should find plenty of running room against the Commodores.
Being able to run the ball will not only help Auburn control the flow of the game, but it should allow either Kiehl Frazier or Clint Moesley—whoever winds up under center for the Tigers—to have some time in the pocket and find the open receiver.
Vanderbilt Player to Watch: WR Jordan Matthews
Jordan Matthews has the size (6'3", 205 lbs.) to cause matchup problems all over the field for Auburn's defense, which has allowed opponents to pickup more than 10 yards per completion and surrendered 10 touchdowns through the air so far in 2012.
If Matthews gets his hands on the ball, he has the strength to shake off would-be tacklers and the speed to get past defenders into the open field, which could lead to a very long day for Auburn's defense.
On The Hot Seat
It goes without saying that Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is on the hot seat.
While beating Vanderbilt may not be a sexy win, ensuring that the Tigers won't finish the season winless in the SEC could count for something when the powers that be make a decision on whether he is the right man to lead the program onto the field in 2013.
Another loss could be the final blow to any chance he had of remaining on the sidelines in 2013.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 21, Auburn 18
Neither team has gotten dynamic play from their quarterbacks, and they've both been shaky on both sides of the ball.
However, Vanderbilt has been tough at home, falling to South Carolina by only four points and being within seven of Florida with just under three minutes to go in last week's loss.
Auburn will keep it close, but Vanderbilt will ultimately scratch out a win on their home turf.
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