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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: July 5, 2010 9:24 am
Edited on: July 5, 2010 9:39 pm

How Do You Determine A True Fan?

I have been listening lately to a lot of discussion on how to really determine a true fan? Some of the discussion centered around can you like another team and still be a true fan? There have been a lot of good answers, "A true fan is never wavering. They root for the same team win or lose. " Here is another, "A true fan never roots for another team even if it is the same conference against a team from another conference." Both of these answers would have me saying to myself I am not a true fan. However I believe I am a true fan and a true fan like the majority of sports fans. What I would like to find out is am I right or am I wrong?

First of all I must give you some background on my “Fanmanship”. I decided while looking at my profile this was something deserving of hearing so you would know how I have listed those favorite teams, etc. It also would give you fodder for expressing more opinions allowing you to comment on my “fanmanship” and yours.

So first let me begin by commenting on my “fanmanship”. I grew up in Tennessee and watched the NY Yankees on TV. I simply loved Mickey Mantle. He was the best. On radio I listened to Waite Hoyt and the broadcasts of the Cincinnati Reds. In the process I became a fan of Frank Robinson and dad took me to my first baseball game at Crosley Field. My allegiance shifted from the NY Yankees to the Reds and the 1961 World Series sealed the deal when I could root for Mickey and still be a solid Red‘s baseball team. Thus the beginning of double allegiances.

Football was Cleveland and the best running back in the game, Jim Brown. Then Cincinnati got a football team. My allegiance shifted again. On the college front Mom taught at Vanderbilt and got her secondary degree from there so we were Vanderbilt fans. Basketball was great but football left a lot to be desired. When the decision came to where I would go, I chose Cincinnati because Dad and my sister went there and because Vandy did not recruit me. I had a bad Achilles tendon my senior year so I guess honorable mention was not enough. Thus I became a fan of everything Cincinnati, the Royals in pro basketball, the Cincinnati Swords in hockey. I previously had rooted in hockey for the Nashville Dixie Flyers.

Football would end for me after my freshman year and I did some color for the radio station at UC before joining the Navy. That is when I began rooting for the Vols since no one hardly ever heard of Vandy. I was still a Cincy fan in pro football but we lost our hockey and our basketball. I was rooting for our state and the SEC. Cincy had been an Independent and we were not very good under coach Callahan.

As fate would have it Houston moved to Tennessee. I did not root for the Titans initially. I offered a prayer that Cincy go to Tennessee but my hated rival the Houston Oilers went instead. I only began rooting for Tennessee when they were put in different divisions. This meant unless they met in the playoffs I could have double allegiance. So I root for Vandy and I root fort he Bearcats. I root for the Titans and the Bengals. I root for teams my children went to and even schools where I also did my graduate work. So there you have it, am I a true fan?

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: 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
Posted on: September 30, 2009 12:02 am
Edited on: September 30, 2009 12:06 am

Commodore Bowl Chances are Narrowing

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
LSU                                          Loss
Mississippi State University     Win
Rice                                          Win
Ole Miss                                   Loss
Army                                         Win
University of Georgia               Loss
South Carolina                         Loss
Georgia Tech                           Loss
University of Florida                 Loss
Kentucky                                  Win
Tennessee                               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.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com