Start time: Saturday, September 2nd at 7:00 pm Central
Location: Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN
TV: CBS Sports Network
Stream: CBS Sports
Series History: Vandy leads the all-time series 14-3, but is 2-3 since MTSU made the jump to FBS. Vanderbilt won last years meeting 47-24 in Nashville.
Betting line: MTSU +3.5, O/U 59
After a long offseason full of questions and recovery, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will make their season debut against a team they know all too well, the Vanderbilt Commodores. Scheduled to kickoff at 7 pm Central on CBS Sports Network, this game proves to be a great barometer for the success of these two teams this season.
Middle Tennessee will be led on offense once again by a healthy Brent Stockstill with plenty of weapons around him. On defense, the Raiders also return a lot of talent and leadership that should help with the implementation of new Defensive Coordinator Scott Shafer's system. The biggest question this season for the Raiders will be the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. If they can find the right combination of newcomers there, this team will be very dangerous.
Vanderbilt returns one of the best running backs in the SEC in Ralph Webb along with quarterback Kyle Shurmur, who we can expect to get the ball in Webb's hands as much as possible. On defense, Vandy obviously lost star Zach Cunningham to the NFL, but return a lot of talent otherwise. It will definitely be a very tough test right out of the game for the MTSU offensive line to protect Brent Stockstill.
I stick firmly to the idea that this game will be a shootout, similar to Mizzou vs MTSU last season. I'm not sure either team has a true answer to the offenses in this game. In the end, I think this game comes down to which offense hurts itself the most via penalties and turnovers.
I really like MTSU's odds at home but it will be very close the whole time.
45-38 Blue Raiders in a thriller.