The Vanderbilt Vendidad

Kentucky football

Gut Feelings: Kentucky at Vanderbilt

I’m bound and determined to hold out hope for this team until the last possible moment. I really don’t think this team will end the year with only two wins. Surely they’ll find another.

Maybe it will be against Kentucky. That game’s set to start in a couple hours.

Unless you’re new to this site, or my writing in general, you’ve probably realized that I’m not much of a “statistics buff.” I typically formulate my opinions based on the winds that I’ve come to recognize about the Vanderbilt football program.

It’s a complicated series of hexes, demons, and bewitchings, and it’s the reason I started this blog (or, at least, the reason I named it the way I did). So. I’ve scattered the bones, I’ve rolled the dice, I’ve fired up my soothsaying machine, I’ve used the Ouija board, I’ve chanted, and HERE’S WHAT I’VE COME UP WITH:

We have a decent chance against Kentucky. Maybe 50-50.

Will it be a close game? Not necessarily.

Will our offense be any good? Probably not.

Will our defense be in top form? Maybe.

All pretty vague stuff. No real idea of how to call this game, the last game in which we are not staggering underdogs. So what good am I?

Okay, okay, okay. I’ll meditate a little harder. Here’s what I see:

  • Warren Norman will have one kickoff return of over fifty yards, but he will not take it to the house. Our offense will not take advantage of the field position.
  • Either Chris Marve or Myron Lewis will have a defensive touchdown.
  • Either Zac Stacy or Warren Norman will rush for over 100 yards.
  • Mackenzi Adams will be the second leading rusher.
  • Kentucky will block one field goal. Or maybe an extra point.

That’s what my gut says. Here’s a more in depth explanation of why I’m having trouble committing to any kind of prediction:

Vanderbilt football operates according to a unique set of governing principles, chief among them being irony.

When did we beat Tennessee? When we had nothing to lose and they everything. Edge: Vanderbilt.

What must change in order for Vanderbilt to improve? Offensive coaching staff. Therefore, the offense could put on a clinic tomorrow, just to piss me off. Edge: Vanderbilt.

I hate Kentucky fans, and I know that if we beat them tomorrow, they’ll just grin and say something stupid about basketball even though we’ve beaten them six of the last eight times we’ve played them. But frankly, Vanderbilt fans don’t care much about football right now, either. Edge: push.

I am pretty sure we’ll win one more game, and this one is certainly more winnable than next weekend’s. That’s a recipe for heartbreak. Edge: Kentucky, Tennessee.

We beat Kentucky last year. By Kentucky logic, they are thus invincible for a period of one (1) season, like when Mario loses a life. Unfortunately, Kentucky backwards, can’t-read-too-good logic actually works out pretty similarly to my Vanderbilt this-team-lives-to-spite-me logic, and thus there’s no way we’d beat them twice in a row. Edge: Kentucky.

Then again, that was in the pre-“Vandy’s our daddy” VU-SC series mindset. These things do happen under Bobby Johnson. Occasionally. Edge: Vandy.

In conclusion: I’m hopeful. But I just don’t know. I have a better feeling about this game than I did Army, though, so that counts for something. All together now: “Mehhhhh.”

14 November 2009 Vanderbilt Football Kentucky Football

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Other People’s hard work - 11.12.09

Metaphor for Vanderbilt Football

Metaphor for Commodore football from here on out.

Today is a lovely day. It’s basketball season, the sun is shining, Vols are getting arrested, I have been selected from a field of literally a couple of people to be a Featured Columnist on Bleacher Report, and Hot Chip released a new jam. Let’s get started.

Baseball:

  • I typically don’t post on baseball because it’s a sport I enjoy, but don’t follow closely enough to comment on. But Mike Minor and I shared a crush on our hot French teacher, so he gets all the nods he can. That said, he pitched poorly in the Rising Stars game, but should do well in the future.
  • I include this piece from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, simply because it has the worst opening sentence I’ve seen in a non-Biddle newspaper piece in a while. Man, Biddle is bad.

Football:

Basketball:

  • Vanderbilt won its exhibition. I provided only spirit animals, but here is my more detailed breakdown:
  • John Jenkins is good, and the crowd loves him. Jeff Taylor is great. Festus is better than expected. Walker is better than expected. Tinsley is better than expected. Tchiengang is better than expected. Ogilvy was not as good as expected, but should get better.

That’s all for now. Buenos dias.

12 November 2009 Vanderbilt Football Vanderbilt Basketball Tennessee football Kentucky football John Cole Greg Billinger Mike Minor Warren Norman Mackenzi Adams Randall Cobb Losing season Bobby Johnson Andre Walker Joe Biddle sux

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Vanderbilt Stuns Gators With Non-mortifying Margin of Defeat; Caring About Football Getting Difficult

Originally published Bleacher Report.

If you watched Saturday’s gridiron matchup, you heard the crickets in Benny Hill Griffin Stadium as the nation’s top team ended the first half, only defeating Vanderbilt, or in AnybodyElseInTheSEC-speak, “the rocket-scientists’ intramural squad,” by a score of 13-0.

And if you watched Saturday’s matchup, you saw one of the nation’s better defenses (seriously) give up 27 points to one of the nation’s best offenses, while one of the nation’s best defenses held The Worst Offense In The History Of Football (Except For Last Week When They Weren’t That Bad [But Maybe That Was A Fluke]) to a single field goal.

And it pissed the Gator Nation off.

They were out for blood; they didn’t get so much as a single eyeball. By the way—I think that was the first game that Warren Norman has worn a face shield. If I’m not wrong, kudos on the wit, Warren.

It was another moral victory, bringing Vanderbilt’s moral-winning streak to three. Chris Low opened the last entry of his power rankings with “Give the Commodores (2-8, 0-6) some credit.” See? They’re getting credit!

And if the team gets a win against Tennessee in two weeks, this abysmal year will suddenly become one of my three favorite Vandy football seasons of all time. Because I hate the Vols so very much.

Speaking of hating so very much, how about them Wildcats?

If Vanderbilt gets a win against Kentucky, I’ll be pleased, so long as it isn’t an offense-dominant game, which may undermine efforts to “market away” offensive coordinator Ted Cain. (Note: I prefer not to ask for people to be “fired.”)

But I’m having trouble getting fired up to play football against Kentucky with the Vols on deck and basketball season beginning tonight.

First, the Vols: I was raised in Kingsport, Tennessee, the thick of Vol Country (see Google Trends for proof), as a Vanderbilt fan. That’s like growing up a Vol fan in a place where UT football is insignificant, disrespected, and laughable. Somewhere like Gainesville.

Imagine the hatred I have for the Big Orange. It’s unhealthy. I could describe it in thousands of colorful ways, but I’m trying to make a bigger point.

My bigger point is that—and I cannot stress the magnitude of this statement enough—I’m beginning to hate Kentucky basketball more than I hate Tennessee football.

Maybe UT football isn’t getting to me because their season has been so pathetic. (So maybe Jonathan Crompton had a big game against Memphis. Check the score of the Vandy-Western Carolina game, chumps.) But to that I say: Kentucky basketball has been pathetic-to-average for the last four years.

And not only average, but arguably worse than Vanderbilt basketball. Vanderbilt won six of the last eight meetings with the Wildcats.

And yet, suddenly, a big recruiting year and the firing of a coach and they’re expected to be an unstoppable force. As if “Billy Gillespie” and “Gardner-Webb” and “2007-08” never happened. While their status as “most obnoxious” may be arguable (barely), their status as “most delusional” is further cemented daily.

And that’s whom the Dores (football) play this weekend. Kentucky fans are already counting it a “win,” which is fine with me. SEC football is full of popular-opinion upsets. Have I seen enough from Vandy to think we’ll get the win? Not really. After exceeding expectations (but losing) losing weeks in a row, it would be reasonable to expect a loss—but silly to assume one.

And if Vanderbilt does happen to find that elusive W on Saturday, they’ll hear plenty moans of, “wait for basketball season” from the UK fans. If this happens, Commodore fans should follow their basketball team’s lead, and smile quietly. Commodore fans are waiting. They’re waiting patiently; they’re waiting quietly. And they think it will be worth the wait.

Because Vanderbilt fans, the loyal, hopeful, tragic bunch that they are, now temper their disappointment in a football season that seemingly will not end with hope in a basketball season yet to begin.

10 November 2009 Vanderbilt Football Vanderbilt Basketball Florida Football Kentucky Football Kentucky Basketball

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Other People’s Hard Work - 10.27.09

It’s been a few days since I’ve done a roundup of news around the ‘Dores. Since then, Vanderbilt football has lost a game, Vanderbilt basketball has picked up a recruit, Bobby Johnson has been very BoJo about the officiating this weekend and the tone in the SEC, and I have sprouted a rather comely mustache.

  • It’s hard for me to get upset about the blatantly terrible replay call in the VU/SC game, because Warren Norman singlehandedly did what a call reversal would have done: evened the score, killed their momentum. But Jeff Lockridge and Chris Low both take note of Johnson’s passive-aggressive approach to a racket against SEC officiating that he could, but probably shouldn’t, “get in line” for.
  • Chris Low knows that Warren Norman exists, and is hot.
  • It’s official: We got Rod Odom.
  • Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech have similar Johnsons.
  • Georgia Tech sources are previewing this weekend’s game, and things aren’t looking good for the ol’ ‘Dores. Despite a big effort last weekend, the Yellow Jackets will have to put all their helmets on backwards to lose this one.
  • Derrick Byars made the Bulls. Byars will always have a special place in my heart for his game, his class, and his open appreciation of my electro-pop band, Hyzer Bee.
  • Kentucky football players know about as much about their school’s colors as their school’s fans know about football.
  • And my best friends from home have entered the surrealist sports blog market. They’re surprisingly good at it, despite barely reading above a fourth grade reading level. Check it out.

27 October 2009 Bobby Johnson Derrick Byars Georgia Tech Football Hyzer Bee Kentucky Football Officiating Vanderbilt Basketball Vanderbilt Football Warren Norman aroundtheweb

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