Return of Swann Has Vanderbilt Dreaming of a Bowl Trip in 2023 Season
Vanderbilt was one of the surprises of the college football world as the Commodores went from winning one SEC game in the previous three seasons to picking up a pair of conference wins in 2022 and falling one win shy of becoming bowl-eligible for the first time since 2018.
The Hawaii vs Vanderbilt preview shows that 17.5 points favor Vanderbilt against visiting Hawaii, which is the most the Commodores have been favored against a fellow Football Bowl Subdivision team since being a 20-point favorite against UAB in 2013. Vanderbilt won that game 52-24 to cover.
Vanderbilt rolled to a 63-10 win over Hawaii in the 2022 season when listed by the college football betting lines as the nine-point road favorite.
The Commodores are tied with three other teams at +10000 in the SEC championship odds, with only Mississippi State having longer odds to win the SEC title. Vanderbilt is looking to move up the NCAA football standings after showing signs of improvement in 2022.
Hawaii is tied with New Mexico for the longest odds at +15000 to win the Mountain West title.
Both teams have head coaches who returned to their alma mater to try to turn things around. This is the type of game that could help both programs on the long road to respectability.
Return of the Run and Shoot
When Timmy Chang was the Hawaii quarterback, the Rainbow Warrior had one of the most prolific passing offenses in the country. Now that Chang is the head coach, he is looking to revisit that style of football.
When looking at the Hawaii vs Vanderbilt preview, keep in mind that Brayden Schrager is looking to improve his 55.3 completion percentage and the 13 touchdowns versus 10 interceptions.
Operating the Run-and-shoot offense, he will have plenty of opportunities in the upcoming season.
Running back Tylan Hines could be in for a huge year as well. He opened plenty of eyes by averaging 7.6 yards per carry as a freshman. Don’t be surprised to see him more involved as a receiver as a sophomore.
Hawaii finished last in the Mountain West in scoring defense and total defense so there is nowhere to go but up.
Swann Looks To Spread His Wings
As a freshman, AJ Swann’s 1274 passing yards and 10 touchdown passes might not sound that impressive. However, when you factor in that he missed three games and attempted less than 12 passes in two others it is easy to understand why there is so much optimism surrounding this Vanderbilt team.
Will Sheppard and Jayden McGowan return after combining for 104 catches and 12 touchdown catches in 2022. They figure to be busy, and their return certainly factors into the Hawaii vs Vanderbilt preview.
Getting transfers admitted into Vanderbilt is not the easiest of assignments. Still, the Commodores did add linebackers Prince Kollie and Aeneas DiCosmo from Notre Dame and Stanford, and they could help a defense that allowed an SEC-high 6.95 yards per play in 2022.
Vanderbilt was leading Hawaii just 21-10 at halftime before cutting loose for 35 points in the third quarter on the way to the 63-10 win.
Sheppard had two touchdown catches in the win as the game went over the 54.5-point total with 5:49 left to play in the third quarter.
What to Expect
It won’t be surprising to see the game finish closer to the spread than last season’s matchup. Still, this is a chance for Vanderbilt to take the first steps towards what they hope is a season ending in a bowl and perhaps the first winning season at Vanderbilt since 2013.
Despite the second-half meltdown against Vanderbilt, Hawaii led the Mountain West by covering in nine of its 13 games a season ago. The Rainbow Warriors were 8-4 against the spread as the underdog. Just four of Hawaii’s games finished over the total.
Six of Vanderbilt’s 12 games finished over the total a season ago the Commodores.
Vanderbilt is 14-2 in its last 15 games when listed as a double-digit favorite. However, the Commodores have covered just five of those games.
When looking at the NCAA football schedule, Hawaii has lost its last four games against SEC teams. The previous three losses came by 31 points to Georgia in 2008, by 46 points to Florida later in 2008, and last year’s 53-point loss to Vanderbilt.
It is unusual to see Vanderbilt favored by this many points, especially against FBS competition. However, with the defensive struggles of Hawaii a season ago, going with Vanderbilt to cover seems like the wise choice.Follow us on Twitter
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