August 29, 2006

First Look: Previewing Vanderbilt

NOTE: publisher Chris Lee, of, previews Michigan's Week One opponent. Look for Lee to return to on Thursday to answer questions for members of The Fort.

Last year, Vanderbilt was the September surprise of college football. Vandy won its first four games and seemed destined for its first bowl appearance since 1982.

Then, the Commodores faced nemesis Middle Tennessee State in Nashville in game five. As reliable kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt lined up for a game-winning field goal on the last play, a Blue Raider slipped untouched around the left side of the line, blocked the kick, and launched a six-game losing streak for the 'Dores.

VU now faces Michigan without current-Denver Bronco QB Jay Cutler and three-time All-Southeastern Conference linebacker Moses Osemwegie. Not surprisingly, the 'Dores are double-digit underdogs as kickoff approaches.

However, the Commodores return the bulk of the team that won three road games as double-digit underdogs from when betting lines were first released. That, and the fact that Vandy was in every game in the fourth quarter in 2005, give Commodore fans a reason to believe that Coach Bobby Johnson has the program on the verge of a turnaround.

Nickson leads talented offense
No player in America must fill bigger shoes than Commodore quarterback Chris Nickson, who replaces the departed SEC Player of the Year.

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