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.