Let me be clear: I do not care for the University of South Carolina. Not in the least. I’ve been there. You find yourself wondering, how are the “cock” jokes still funny? I mean, it’s written on every single article of clothing they own. Honestly.
And the good ol’ Carolina racism—it’s just a bit more… uncomfortably consistent there. They don’t say the word “boy” with hate, they breathe it with a smile and a whiff of nostalgia, like the sweetness whiskey in the breath of a sweaty guy in an oxford shirt, palmetto-patterned pants, and a visor. As in, “You run the ball, boy, like you were born and bred to do!” a direct quote from the student section of the 2005 Vandy game, at which I was present. I was dating a student there at the time. She called that “tradition.”
I don’t much care for Columbia, either. In fact, I might consider it the second worst university town in the SEC. Who’s first? Here’s a hint: Knoxville. Also, for the record, I don’t include cities in Mississippi on any “worst of” lists. It’s just unfair.
That’s who the ‘Dores have on their plate tomorrow. The Ol’ “There are no Vanderbilts in the NFL” Ball Coach and his army of cocks (okay, it’s a little funny).
Here are my conditional predictions:
If Vandy scores first, we win 12-10.
If SC scores the first 14 points of the game in the first half, they win 35-2.
This is why I think we might surprise the Gamecocks yet again: I strongly believe we will win one more game this year. We’re too good defensively not to run in a couple interceptions for scores and end up with more than 13 points on the board in one of these games, a scoreboard situation that our defense knows how to take care of.
So I think we’ll win again. Why not another game? Here’s my reasoning:
- It won’t be Georgia Tech, because they’re like Army if Army was good at football.
- It won’t be Florida, because, I mean, come on.
- I don’t think it will be the Kentucky game, because every season in recent memory that we’ve looked forward and seen the UK game as our only hope for victory, we’ve managed to lose in different depressing ways. (see: VU/UK series, 2004-2007).
- It could be Tennessee, depending on if they continue to improve, or if they’re bitter and angry and hoarse from booing their own quarterback.
- Even though Spurrier is trying his darnedest not to look past this week, Vanderbilt’s offense is too awful, Carolina’s schedule too intense (past this week), and Spurrier’s head to darned big for them to take this game seriously. Yes, even after losing to us for the past two years. Spurrier is just that arrogant.
So Spurrier may look over us again. That doesn’t address our own struggles. What is it about the Commodores that makes our chances of winning highest tomorrow?
Because it would be our least satisfying upset possible. We have nothing to prove about matching up against South Carolina. If they hold us to 0 points tomorrow, whatever. Good for you, Steve, way to get it out of your system.
A win tomorrow would be a very nice dish, yes, but it’s not what we ordered. Nobody expects us to beat Carolina three times in a row. But even if we do, the emotional returns are quickly diminishing. I’m tired of beating South Carolina. I want to beat UT again. Vanderbilt is my well-meaning aunt, whom I love; beating South Carolina is the special toffee candy she’s been convinced I love for three years now, when really I’m ambivalent about toffee, but love taffy. But hey, these days, I’m just glad to get some candy once in a while.
We may expect to lose to teams we’re heavily favored over (I called the Army loss), but these days, we also expect to win at least one game as major underdogs. Last year it was Auburn. Before that, South Carolina. Before that, Georgia. Before that, Tennessee.
So I think we win one more time this year, and of our remaining games, I would say we’re most likely to win against SC. Then UT, then UK, then UF, then GT. Yes, I think we’re more likely to beat Florida than Georgia Tech. I also think I’m more likely to marry Natalie Portman than Scarlett Johansson, but you don’t see me ring shopping.
If we get an upset, let’s have it be a crazy upset, like against Florida, or the happiest upset possible: beating the Vols again.
This is where the crazy neurosis of Vanderbilt fandom really shines. I don’t make my predictions based on statistics, player performance, or any of the like. Using only my gut, I am fully convinced of the following facts:
- We will have a major upset this year.
- It will not be against Kentucky, Georgia Tech, or Florida.
- If we win tomorrow, we will certainly lose to Tennessee.
- If we lose tomorrow, we have a pretty good shot at beating Tennessee.
- Therefore, I would not be all that excited about beating South Carolina, because if we do, I will already be lamenting a loss to the Vols.
- As a Vanderbilt fan, I have fully accepted the fact that the team rarely gives me what I want (a win over UT), even if they give me nice things (a possible win over SC).
So there you go. I kind of think we have a bigger-than-expected chance tomorrow. I think we’ll either come out and quickly show we came to win, or come out like the team we’ve been all year and get smoked.
This makes complete sense to me. If it doesn’t make sense to you, you haven’t been following Vanderbilt football closely enough.