Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fearless prediction: Vanderbilt will go to a bowl this year

For decades, Vanderbilt's football team has been cannon fodder for the rest of the Southeastern Conference. The Commodores have not had a winning record or gone to a bowl since 1982. However, I predict the worm may turn this year.

Vanderbilt will go to a bowl this year. There are two reasons why I feel this way: 1. An excellent nucleus of returning players. 2. A much more favorable schedule this year.

Last year, Vanderbilt only went 4-8, but they played a lot of young players and were still quite competitive. Four of their conference losses were by a touchdown or less, plus they logged an impressive road win at Georgia. Nineteen of their starters return from last year. Not only do they return all this experience, but the program's overall talent level has considerably improved since Coach Bobby Johnson took over. He has completely rebuilt the program and will begin seeing the fruit of all his hard work this year.

Additionally, this year's schedule is much more favorable. Eight of Vanderbilt's 12 games are at home. Plus, their games in September are much more manageable than last year. Last year, they began with road games at Michigan and Alabama, then returned home to play Arkansas.

This year, they begin with four consecutive home games, playing Richmond, Alabama, Ole Miss, and Eastern Michigan. They should win three of those four games. Later in the year, they have winnable home games against Miami (OH), Kentucky, and Georgia.

They just need six wins to qualify for a bowl. All signs point to this happening if they can only overcome their program's history of losing. A losing culture is tough to overcome. If they cannot do it this year, it may be a long time before they have this chance again.


Joltin' Django said...

Titans fans don't like to admit it, but they've been on the receiving end of many a lucky break over the past seven or eight years. (Example: The Music City Miracle happened only 'cause a forward lateral wasn't called.) If the Titans had traded half of their lucky breaks to Vandy - startin' in, oh, 2001 or so, the 'Dores would have a bowl streak going, instead of tryin' to get into their first bowl in 25 freakin' years.

I'm a bigger Vanderbilt fan than I readily admit to my family (my dad, one of my uncles, and my closest cousin all went to UT). After all, Vandy is my hometown team. If'n the 'Dores go to a bowl - and I hope they do - I'll be cheering for 'em as loudly as anyone.

S Jones said...

I'll be cheering too. The Vandy animosity I naturally inherited while attending and graduating from UT has abated over the years. They appear to run a clean ship (excepting G.G.'s pot smoking soon to be ex-wife) and that means something in the current sports environment.

Their bowling, baseball & basketball programs have achieved national recognition in the past year. Now does seem to be the time for their football team to step up.

Bobby O'Shea said...

Chris, you are dead on. Vanderbilt is definitely going to a bowl this season. They return their entire offensive line, have 3 pre-season All-American candidates, a QB who has a year of experience under his belt, and 8 home games. As a Vanderbilt alum and rabid fan, it's nice to see the Commies getting some pub. To that effect (warning, shameless plug in 3,2,1...), I am a contributor to Vanderbilt Sports Line, a blog dedicated to all things Vanderbilt Sports. Check us out.

Chris said...

One of the most intriguing SEC non-conference games this year will be when Vanderbilt hosts Wake Forest on November 24. Vanderbilt aspires to accomplish what Wake did last year. Could be a really big game.

Anonymous said...

I hate to spoil the party, but I've heard Vandy hype before only to be let down on the field (anybody remember Woodyball?). I hope they do well, but I'm keeping my expectations on the ground.

Anonymous said...

Just wait and see, Vanderbilt is BCS bound. This will be proven when they handle buisness agaisnt richmond, and welcome Nick Saban back to the SEC. However talk is cheap, they know they have to prove it. Go Vandy

Anonymous said...

I think the dores will go. I know we've thought so before and were wrong, but this is a team that is solid from top to bottom. Even when Jay Cutler was here, Vandy didn't have the solid O-line (2 all-SEC OLs). Guys are mature and ready. This is a more talented team than the 05 team. I say they go to, and win, the Independence Bowl