...also available in Brandy Snifter.
I had waited my entire life to see Vanderbilt go to a bowl game. No literally, I was born 10 days before the Commies lost to Air Force in 1982 and since then Vandy has been...well...Vandy. The Athletic Department was dissolved and the Commodores have become the conference game of choice for SEC Homecoming. Each year they tend to upset one team or another, but it stands to reason that Vandy has been fighting Miss State for #1 doormat contention in SEC football.
This was not the case last year.
Vandy got off to a hot start pulling off what some would consider upset wins against South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Auburn. Then we found out South Carolina was having their typical season and Auburn was uncharacteristically awful...however they beat a surprisingly good Ole Miss team.
But that 5 game hot streak came to a screeching hault with losses to Miss State and Duke. What the hell, Vandy?!? Are you legit or not?!? Fortunately they got Kentucky to roll over for a bellyrub and ended the regular season 6-6, and that's bowl eligible.
Their match-up with ACC Atlantic Division Champions Boston College was one of the most watchable mid-grade bowl games I'd seen in a while. I wanted Vanderbilt to win that game slightly less than I wanted Georgia to win their bowl game. You know I'm a sucker for conference supremacy, especially over the ACC and we got just that in a game winning fieldgoal for the Commies.
With a bowl win under his belt, the pleated khakis now make sense.
This season has all the ingredients to send Vandy back to Bowlsville, but it's gonna take some luck on Bobby Johnson's behalf. Returning Senior QB Mackenzi Adams might have the experience to lead Vandy to 6+ wins, but he's tailed by 2 back-ups (the talented Larry Smith and pass-master Jared Funk) who might take the job if Adams starts to play inconsistently.
Vandy's not much of a threat with their offense, especially in passing. Last year they ranked 112th in the nation in passing and 110th in efficiency...that's awful. So if nothing else, expect it to get better because it couldn't possibly get worse (sound familiar, UGA defense?). Where Vandy will shine is their Defense:
The pass rush should be fantastic. With Broderick Stewart returning after getting hurt late last year, to go along with Steven Stone, Tim Fugger and Teriall Brannon on the outside, the Commodore ends will get to the quarterback early and often. The tackles are great at generating pressure from the inside while the speedy linebackers can fly into the backfield. And then there’s corner Myron Lewis, who tied for the team lead with five sacks. The Commodores will bring the noise from all angles.
So that means when push comes to shove, our offense will have to...
#1. TAKE THIS GAME SERIOUSLY!!!
#2. Have our playmakers step up and make it happen. I'm hoping our O-Line can give AJ Green the time to get open, but from what I'm hearing Vandy's Pass Rush will be a thorn in our red-headed QB's side.
#3. Hopefully by the seventh game of the season we won't still be looking at our roster of running backs like the toppings menu at Five Guys. "Whom do we want to play this down?" might not cut it against a solid defense of veterans.
#4. TAKE THIS GAME SERIOUSLY!!!
#5. TAKE THIS GAME SERIOUSLY!!!1 (the #1 is added for extra emphasis)
It is so frustrating to see Georgia walk into the Vandy game assuming a win. They'll 'pants us once in a blue moon, and I don't want to know if #14's carpet matches the drapes. This should be a blow-out considering the talent we pull in, but sometime it's a little too close for comfort and as a Dawgs fan it pisses me off.
There was a quote made by a South Carolina player last year (or maybe the previous year) regarding how teams shouldn't lose to Vanderbilt because they're the worst team in the SEC. If you can find the quote please post it in the comments section and I'll give you mad-credit. But as stupid of a thing that was to say after you JUST lost to Vandy, it doesn't make it any less true.
Blogging Pantsless predicts we leave Nashvegas 6-1 after we hang 24 on the board and limit the Vandy offense to 14 or less. We then proceed to pull those stupid looking ascots off their necks, use it to pick up UGA VII's droppings, and toss them through the windows of the Vanderbilt School of Dentistry. We would have gladly left quietly had the Commie faithful not broken out the "You will work for us one day" chant.