Carolina and Ole Miss Win on Opening Night

As you’ve heard by now, South Carolina beat North Carolina 27-10 and Ole Miss surged late to beat Vandy 39-35.  I called both of these shots, but it’s a little early to start bragging.

There are two big stories worth following that come out of these games.  The first is how Jadeveon Clowney laid an egg and the second is the pressure put on Vandy because of the loss.

Clowney didn’t play well and there were two reasons for that.  The first is, obviously, his conditioning.  And, obviously, it wasn’t where it needs to be.  The second is that North Carolina obviously schemed to account for Clowney.  No surprise there, and guess what?  Every other team on the schedule will do the same, too.  Clowney is a great talent and I have no doubt he will wind up having a great season.  But the lesson learned last night is one so many before have also had to learn.  It really is hard to stay focused and motivated when everyone tells you all off season how great you are.

Vandy, meanwhile, has to dig out of an early hole.  The Dores have an easy one next week against Austin Peay and a likely loss in two weeks against South Carolina.  Wins against UMass and UAB should follow and the game against Missouri on October 5th should determine whether they head into their bye week 3-3 or 4-2.  Things get much tougher after that with games against Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida and Vandy could head into the final quarter of the season 3-6 or 4-5.  I think you see where I’m heading.  The final three games – Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest – will determine whether they anchor down for a bowl or set sail for the post season.