Last year the Commodores beat Boston College in the Music City Bowl. The win was something Vandy fans savored. It was a year of highs and lows. We started the season with 5 wins and followed with 5 losses. The bottom fell but like our ski trip we raised the bow, pulled the plug in that back of the boat and let the water drain out. We put the plug in and the boat was once again worthy. The Commodores did the same thing and finished the regular season 6-6. The Bowl win let the Dores 7-6 and all of a sudden the question was asked, "Can a Bowl Tradition Be a Reality at Vanderbilt?"
Right now continuing a bowl tradition is looking bleak. In fact you would have to say Commodore Bowl chances are narrowing. Even before the season began there was the stark reality that we were going to have to play 12 straight weeks. That might be alright for teams with depth but Vandy? The goal of six wins would be a tough hill to climb.
Here were my thoughts before the season:
Getting back to a bowl will in my opinion will require another major upset, kind of like we had against Auburn last season (Auburn at the time was a major upset). An upset most certainly won’t come against Georgia. The Dogs have perhaps its best core of offensive lineman since 2002. What about our in state rivals? Tennessee has a new coach, a new offense, but by the time we play they neither will be new anymore. I don’t think it happens against Tennessee. How about Alabama? No. How about Florida? No WAY!! So let’s look at our schedule and see what we think.
The schedule is tough, no OPEN DATES.
Western Carolina Win
Mississippi State University Win
Ole Miss Loss
University of Georgia Loss
South Carolina Loss
Georgia Tech Loss
University of Florida Loss
I am thinking that it really looks like a lean year at 5-7 with no bowl repeat. We could beat Georgia Tech and South Carolina to be 7-5 and perhaps a wild shot at beating Tennessee but I just don't think so. If everything broke right our best possible record is 8-4. In reality a hopeful 6-6 and likely something less is what this year will bring. One thing that will really hurt Vandy this year is the lack of off dates. Vandy had two off dates last season. Now they will not get a change to have nagging injuries heal. Vandy could win 3 of the first four and then go into another tailspin like last season. Army won't be a push over, especially on the road. Rice and Army are on the road so what we look at as wins are games the opponent also figures as wins.
Okay, so in review of what I said at the first of the season, Vandy has only lost one more game than I anticipated. Miss State is a good team. They showed that in almost upsetting LSU last week. When I say a good team let me caveat that by saying, a mid pack good team that just doesn't roll over. Mid pack teams can win if another team makes uncharacteristic bad plays, turnovers, bad weather neutralizes talent or a fast back, etc. Vandy is a good team. They however have to have a number of events roll their way in order to make it to a bowl this season. Injuries are already starting to take their toll.
Ole Miss could have come in here to Nashville #4 or #5 in the country. It could have been the best possible scenario for Vandy to pull off the upset of the century. Now Ole Miss is smoking hot after losing to Steve Spurrier and USC last Thurs night on National TV. Had they won that game at USC a Ole Miss would have come here in somewhat respectable in the eyes of National Pollsters. Now they have very little credibility. Therefore even a Vandy win won't be all that impressive outside of us Commodore Fans and other coaches in the SEC who know better.
Vandy with a great crowd on Saturday could catch Ole Miss in a funk and perhaps prevail again this year however somehow I don't think so. So where does Vandy make up a game to make it to a bowl. Army is still winnable so that puts you at 3-3.
You have to think maybe we will pick up wins against KY and TN but my gosh we thought so about Tennessee last year and they wiped up clean. So a lot depends on injuries to other teams. Georgia has already had the flu so we won't catch them down. USC is much better that last year so I think while a win is possible this is a stretch. Georgia Tech is really a very good team in the ACC so I don't see that one going our way. We will have to win the last two and beat somebody I originally expected to lose to along the way. Right now I will say USC again but wouldn't it be great to pull this biggest upset of all time and beat Florida. I will never forget the penalty called on Vandy that kept us from going for two in the big game in the swamp that we lost in OT. No doubt Florida will be overlooking Vandy.