After a bumpy start, Vanderbilt's Jordan Rodgers has settled into a solid senior season. But Tyler Bray is in the midst of what might be the best three-game stretch of any quarterback in the country this year. The Commodores have a respectable pass defense, but Bray should still be able to put up big numbers. Edge: Tennessee.
Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane have emerged as a nice running back tandem for the Vols. That's one positive in an otherwise bleak season: The Vols had no proven backs at the start of the season. Now they have two that they feel good about. Vandy starter Zac Stacy is likely to play despite a leg injury, but the Commodores have won without him in the past and could do so again if necessary. Edge: Tennessee.
Wide receivers/tight ends
Jordan Matthews, a 6-foot-3 junior, already has more than 1,000 receiving yards this year and could be in for more against the Vols' struggling pass defense. Tennessee's Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson have been the beneficiaries of Bray's three-game hot streak. As always, the Vols would like to get Patterson more involved. Edge: Tennessee
The gap between Vandy and the rest of its SEC brethren is usually most noticeable along the lines, where the Commodores are sometimes at a size disadvantage. Vandy has narrowed that gap, but Tennessee's offensive line is still much better. Penalties plagued the group against Missouri, something that's been a point of emphasis this week. Edge: Tennessee.
Vanderbilt's Walker May is a lanky defensive end who is undersized but very fast, helping the Commodores to track down backs on the edge. Tennessee got more push from nose guard Daniel McCullers last week and could have the freedom to chase the quarterback once again. Edge: Even
Vandy's Chase Garnham has a team-high six sacks and is one of five Commodores with at least eight tackles for loss. The Vols will be playing without Curt Maggitt, who's out for the season after tearing an ACL last week. Edge: Vanderbilt.
Vandy's pass defense had perhaps its worst game of the season a week ago, allowing Ole Miss to amass 403 yards through the air. The Vols appeared to turn a corner in the first half, but the familiar secondary breakdowns returned after halftime. Edge:Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt kicker Carey Spear has made 15 of 18 field goals and all 18 of his extra-point attempts. Tennessee had its first major breakdown in kickoff coverage last week for Missouri's only touchdown of the first half. Edge: Vanderbilt
Vandy coach James Franklin held his team together after an 0-2 start. Now the Commodores are bowl eligible and have a chance for an eight-win regular season. Tennessee's coaching staff is likely nearing the end of the line in Knoxville. Edge: Vanderbilt.
They're not saying so publicly, but it's hard to believe that Vandy players aren't motivated by last year's overtime loss and subsequent postgame celebration by Tennessee. Edge: Vanderbilt.
Tennessee 31, Vanderbilt 30
Does that score look familiar? I had an identical prediction last week for the Missouri game. Picking Tennessee seems foolhardy after so many near-misses, but if nothing else, the Vols are due.