Posted on: April 25, 2011 6:33 am

Smashville is More than a Hockey Town

There is some real-time celebration going on in the Music City right now.  In less than 12 hours, the Nashville Predators advanced to their first ever Stanley Cup Semi-Finals.  Vanderbilt alum Brandt Snedeker won the PGA Heritage Open and I am not done.  Those Vanderbilt Commodores are all over the national sport pages.   The Vanderbilt Baseball team is tied for first in the SEC, ranked seventh nationally and the basketball team is being hyped as a pre-season Top 5 before the season even starts with the return of John Jenkins, Jeff Taylor and Festuz Ezeli.  The atmosphere is unbelievable and  I have not seen or heard as much bragging and carrying on in Nashville, well since the Titans were going to the Super Bowl.  Eleven years of waiting for something like this has produced the perfect storm.

Right now the hottest item going in the sporting outlet stores is Nashville Predator apparel.  Flags, banners, and pennants but hats and jerseys in the home blue are number 1.  However you will see more Vanderbilt University ball caps and shirts. Tennessee fans, well right now you are in the minority.

The Nashville Predator hockey team made the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.  A lot of talk at the end of last year’s near miss against eventual Stanley Cup winners Chicago Black Hawks was on how new management would address the off season.  Well, the Predators have exceeded expectations.  Nashville fans love the Preds.   They like the hustle and the success of no real household names unless of course your household is in Nashville.  However all that is going to change.  Predator goalie Pekka Rinne is about to become the league’s best goalie this season.  Smashville has other favorites as well.  Defenseman Shea Webber and Ryan Suter and Forwards: Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist, J-P Dumont all has made themselves local favorites.  A favorite of mine is the young impressionable Colin Wilson.

The come from behind win in game 5 is Predator 360 and has everyone thinking this year we are a team of destiny.  Nashville was the best team on home ice this year.  If they can win one on the road by hook or crook in my opinion this team can finish what it has started.

The Vandy baseball team (32-5) reached number one nationally before losing two out of three to SEC rival South Carolina in Columbus, S.C.  Since then they have gone undefeated and retaken a share of the SEC lead.  This team is loaded and when three of the teams in the SEC are2,3;7 a 32-5 record is even more impressive. 

The basketball team which made it to the NCAA tournament as a fifth seed lost again in the first round, but nevertheless all season long they were a strong legitimate Top 25 team.  When you recognize that every starter is returning from last season well, they are certain to be amongst the best in the country again and while a Top5 is a stretch, they no doubt deserve to be a Top 10.

Finally, everyone has been waiting for Snedeker to rebound after his Master’s melt down two years ago.  His win this week brought back childhood memories I had of watching the recently deceased Mason Rudolph who I watched at the Blue Grass Country Club in Nashville.  He has a smile, charisma, and boyhood good looks.  This win could easily lead to more, but more importantly it reminds that while Vanderbilt football is not on the map, they sure produce a lot of quality athletes, just ask the Chicago Bears.



Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:47 pm
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Posted on: July 29, 2010 11:21 pm

This is Sports Season

The All-Star game is over. Major League baseball is heading into the home stretch and although we are still a good two months away from the playoffs, I could not be happier.  The Cincinnati Reds are a half game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals and a Red's fan has to be excited about that. 

Football season is about to start on the Div I level and the Commodores of Vanderbilt and the Bearcats of Cincinnati are starting the season with new head coaches.  The Bearcats are not likely to improve upon last season's record and Vanderbilt is well, Vanderbilt so you never know. At least this season they will not be playing twelve games in a row.  However they got that draw last year probably served as the beginning of the end for coach Bobby Johnson.  Whatever the reason to hang up the coaching cleats just before the beginning of the college football season, last year's record has to play some part. Speculation is that his wife was the biggest reason.  Certainly he had to know how she felt before summer and yet he held on.  Presumably to allow coach Robbie Caldwell is first head coaching assignment, If that were the case, he was successful. Coach Caldwell the darling of SEC Media Day was given the job officially this week.

The Bearcats have known that Coach Kelly was soon to go and when the ND job opened up he fle the coop.  Now the reigns Coach Butch Jones. You have to like what he is doing with the 1200 club and the improvements that he is making.  How well will the football team perform? I am expecting a 7 win season. There is a chance that an upset along the way could make the season even better but I am also figuring that with a new coach and new QB we have to expect the unexpected. Seven wins would be a good start.  That may even prove to be better that what coach Kelly is able to do at ND.

High School football is starting soon and in Clarksville and Fort Campbell all you can say is Falcons.  The post football team Falcons have won three consecutive IIA Kentucky Footaball Championships and only 1 loss in three seasons, last year finishing undefeated.  More to come on this team because they are amazing.  They deserve far more press around the country than they have been getting.  Why you may ask?  This football team has to reload every couple of years because the service member families are transferring to new duty stations.  As a result even scouts seldom learn about the talent becuase it was off the radar.  

Next week I will comment on the Titans and the Bengals, I have not forgotten NFL Footaball.

Posted on: March 16, 2010 6:48 pm

March Madness Is Madness

First of all to all my friends, fellow bloggers  and to those who have given me a great deal of credibility, I must say that Tiger's return for the Master's is a crushing defeat since I said he would not play. I will drop the source that gave me that terrible piece of information and offer you all an apology. The only thing I can hope for is that Erin will be at his side. When I said he would not return for the Master's I did so with the caveat that Erin would be by his side. I am waiting to see if that will happen.  Still, I was certain that his road to recovery would receive validation that it mattered more than golf, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.

I will come back to this post later, but March Madness is madness for a Vandy fan that goes into this tournament on the heals of seeing us lose to South Carolina and Miss State prior to our arrival out West.  This is one of those tickled by a surpirsingly high seed (Stallings actually does well out West, remember Sacramento 2007.  Anyway I digress, we have to play our partners up the street in Murray, KY.  There is a sad story here regaring to Freshman players, one from Murray and one from Vandy.  That we have to go our West to play this game is well, somewhat deflating.  You would think these two teams could have met a little closer to where the fan base could travel to see it. Well, I have to run, but will pick up where I left off later.  Things to do and Preds game.  They did well on West Coast and our three game homestand, my birthday month (people at the office we have three with birthdays on my birthday) that is sheer madness, you can't even get your own cake. Later.
Posted on: February 15, 2010 6:46 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2010 6:47 pm

SEC Big Dance Assessment

RBISPORTS - Last year the SEC got three teams into the Big Dance.  It was one of the biggest disappointing SEC seasons in my lifetime.  Consequently, as a result of last year’s dismal showing, the question a SEC fan has to ask them self is, “how many teams will the SEC send to the Dance this year?”

The SEC is making a better showing thus far if only based on poll comparison to last season. The only top 25 team at this point last season was LSU but this year the SEC has three.  The Kentucky Wildcats are currently ranked #2 in the nation and joining them in the top 25 are Vanderbilt (17) and Tennessee (20).  Interestingly enough they are all from the SEC East.

Tennessee has been ranked all season long but their stock has fallen like the economy and Vanderbilt has been a team that garners little respect outside of the SEC because of their strange losses to the likes of Western Kentucky, Georgia, and Cincinnati.  Kentucky is the only team that has lived up to the hype and yet most pollsters see them climbing up to the top on the heels of losses by Big East Teams.  It seems if some of the pollsters had their way every team in the Big East would be rated in the top 25.  I know the Big East is good but perhaps the Big East as a whole is the basketball media’s version of the Obama crush.

What makes figuring how many teams the SEC will get in the Big Dance is the absolute failure of the SEC West to have some standout team.  In fact outside the State of Mississippi, the SEC has no one to boast from the SEC West.  Mississippi (17-7) and Mississippi State (18-7) are the two best teams and Mississippi is (6-4) in the conference is tied for the West with Arkansas (13-12) which to make matters worse is barely a .500 team so how are the teams from Mississippi and for that matter the SEC? The only other team with a shot right now is Florida (17-8).  Aside from those mentioned no other team has an RPI in the top 65.

I would suspect that most SEC fans feel they deserve at a minimum six teams from the SEC to be represented in the field of 64.  In all likelihood I suspect they will get six but no more.  The SEC also needs to hope there are no surprises in the conference tournament championship. Of course one has to think that has a good chance of happening. South Carolina is one of those SEC teams that can come out of nowhere.  Right now I see Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and assured of a spot.  Mississippi is almost certain to get an invite but they need to win the West.  Mississippi State will need to finish above Arkansas. Florida is the bubble team. The loss to Xavier really did not serve them well.  Gators, you need a strong finish,

Posted on: January 27, 2010 9:52 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2010 7:12 pm

Vanderbilt Improves to 5-0.


Vanderbilt Improves to 5-0. Best Start since 1964-65.

Vanderbilt's men's basketball team looks like a team capable of an SEC Championship.  This is the 40th anniversary of Commodore squad that captured the South Eastern Conference Championship and right now they look like a team on a mission.

Tonight the #21 team in the nation, the Commodores handled 14th ranked Tennessee in Thompson Boling Arena in a game televised on ESPNU 76 – 68 and the game marked the best start for a Vanderbilt team since the 1964-65 season.  Coach Stallings certainly was well pleased and his post game comments about the team’s effort tonight certainly reflected his pleasure.  Stallings, “Well played game by the entire team…might be the only team that can come in here and win.”  With the win and Kentucky’s loss to South Carolina, Vanderbilt leads in the SEC East, 5-0.

Vanderbilt came in here having lost three previous times, twice last year by more than double digits and showed that this time they were physically ready.  In a game that was rough, Vandy played with poise and determination.  Every time Tennessee tried to get something started Vandy had an answer.  Vandy shot over 50 percent for the game and Tennessee previously had been holding opponents to around 38 percent.

Vandy leaves the victor in a very impressive road victory in a very difficult place to win and now goes to play a Kentucky Wildcat team on the road.  No doubt Kentucky will want to show that they are still the Top Cats in the SEC.  Meanwhile Vandy is way out in front of where anyone thought they would be at this point of the season.  Vandy improves to 16-3.

Vanderbilt’s Jermaine Beal led all Commodores with 25 points. Vandy had five players in double figures.  Olgilvy had 12, Taylor, Tinsley and Jenkins had 10 each.

Tennessee was led by Prince with 22, Hopson with 14 and Maze with 12.  The big surprise was how the Dores were able to hold Chism to 8 points.

Vanderbilt will now play Kentucky in a nationally televised game with a 3pm start time on Saturday and now has won 10 straight. 
Posted on: October 24, 2009 11:10 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2009 11:18 pm

Is It Time For Bobby Johnson To Go?


Gamecocks Defeat Commodores   14-10

The Vanderbilt Commodores are the biggest disappointment amongst teams competing in the South Eastern Conference East. Tonight they failed to improve on their dismal 2-5 record falling to 2-6 with a very unconvincing 14-10 loss to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.  A win by the visiting Dores would have gone a long way in quieting discontented Vandy fans even if they had remained firmly entrenched in last place in league standings.

The huge home crowd advantage for South Carolina did little to intimidate Vandy with the game scoreless after the first quarter.  The Dores missed on their first scoring opportunity early in the second quarter when Ryan Fowler missed on a 26 yard field goal.  South Carolina would score first on a controversial catch in the end zone.  Garcia hit D.L. Moore in the end zone on a 35 yard pass play that was ruled a catch. The replay clearly showed he never had possession until he was out of bounds nevertheless S.C. got the score, the ruling on the field stood. The Commodores came right back to tie the game 7-7 on the ensuing kickoff on the strength of a Warren Norman 99 yard return for a touchdown.

The Dores took the lead in the third quarter on the strength of a drive that included 36 yards on the ground Norman. When the drive stalled, Coach Johnson elected to go with Fowler for the field goal. Fowler connected on the 21 yarder this time and Vandy led 10-7.  Despite the impressive performance by Norman and the success Vandy was beginning to show on the ground that would be the last we would see Norman really used from that point forward.  Norman finished with 83 yards on the ground and the kickoff return for 99 yards. Norman had quite an impressive performance against a very stingy Gamecock defense.

The Dores came into the game third in the Nation against the pass.  Garcia however had a field day passing for two touchdowns and 312 yards.  The backbreaker was Alshon Jeffery’s 43 Yd pass reception from Garcia with 12:51 left to play. The five play drive that covered 89 yds in only 2 minutes and 10 seconds to provide the final margin.

Vandy had one more chance with over four minutes left despite having no timeouts.  Spurrier had elected to go for a 4<sup>th</sup> and two rather than kick a sure field goal that would have required Vandy to score a touchdown just to tie. The attempt failed and even lost 6 yards giving Vandy the ball on their 36 yard line.

Vandy moved the ball down the field on the arm of Larry Smith. However once again the drive failed when Smith trying to get out of trouble lost 15 yards and then threw the ball costing an intentional grounding. The total loss was 30 yards and brought up 4<sup>th</sup> down.  Since this game was anticipated as a loss, many Vandy fans might be happy.  But I am not. Vandy went away from the ground game and ultimately paid the price. In a close game where the team plays over their head, I look to how did the coaches perform?  Steve Spurrier made a real bad mistake in going for a 4<sup>th</sup> and two.  Coach Johnson made a bigger mistake taking the ball out of Warren’s hands and staying with Larry Smith.

Vandy also returned to their penalty plagued ways. I blame this loss on coaching and wonder is Coach Johnson trying to get fired?


Posted on: October 10, 2009 8:12 pm

You Could See This Coming

Vandy did not deserve to win. This was a pathetic performance in which I would be hard pressed to who should get the blame.  The special teams was lousy. Penalties have not been addressed and once again the performance in the Red Zone was an embarrassment. Larry Smith can run but he can't pass and his inability to be consistant results in receivers never knowing when the good pass is coming.  You can say that Army's TD should have never happened and I agree but we scored on the kickoff return so that should be okay now play ball.  Instead we throw an interception.  Instead of ,moving the ball ont the ground we keep trying to go for the long pass down field and then forget about it.  Sure we made a few but it really is only a tease.  Where is Adams,  Did he do something we as fans don't know about.  I saw this game and I can't see straight. This was a classless performance. Our coaches refuse to see what we saw a long time ago, this teams lacks discipline.  The penalties have cost a chance at three games this season.  The play calling is even worse.  Vandy will be lucky if they win one more game this season.
Category: NCAAF
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