Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:47 pm
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Posted on: December 29, 2010 6:50 pm

Vandy vs Marquette is a Must Win

Alright how can this be a must win and confernce play has yet to open? Vandy has lost two crucial games which by my recollection they should have won.  The problem is they didn't.  Now they are playing another team fromt he Big East and that league is loaded. The problem is Marquette nor West Virginia is going to win that conference. That means losses to both of those teams will hurt if at the end of conference play you are not the league champion, division champion or have a great tournament.  Let's face it, Kentucky and Tennessee are adorable and so is Florida.  That means that Vanderbilt must win games like the one tonight. We are playing at home so a loss will be more devastating than a win but as my dad says, "A win is a win and that ain't ever bad." 

If you look at this game from a Top 25 perspective, it was hard for us to get to the Top 25 and it really took Tennessee losing 3 times and Florida having some problems.  So a loss here will really hurt any chance of staying in the Top 25 for more than one week.  We have a tough streatch as we enter the SEC and therefore in case that doesn't go like planned, we need this win.
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: June 1, 2009 9:47 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2009 9:49 pm

Tim Corbin Needs To Take Credit For Vandy's Loss

They don't pay me to be a yes man for the Commodores and I don't plan to now.  The loss tonight was devastating.  A large number of people across the country along with me felt certain that Vanderbilt would be on their way to the Super Regional against California Fullerton.  Instead, Vanderbilt is going home following an embarrassing loss in which everything that could go wrong went wrong. Perhaps the worst part of it is that it should have never happened.  Instead, Vanderbilt goes home losing 5-3 to Lousiville and Minor is tagged with his second loss of the tournament when he should have been sitting on the bus a hero.  Once again Gray comes in to keep Vandy close at the end, but again, that proved to be a great effort at the wrong time. If we could have seen him in the fourth then I think Vandy wins this one, because the spirit of Louisville was crushed and the crowd was out of it.

The Commodores had everything working for them. Louisville was coming into the game as the visitor following an 8-4 loss to Vanderbilt the night before.  Vandy had the most rested bullpen and a tremendous pitching advantage.  They would choose to start lefthander an Ace of the staff, Mike Minor to get Vandy started on a pitch by committee approach. The game would be more like an all-star game in which the Cardinals would not be able to go through the lineup twice on any pitcher.  This was a tremendous strategy that seemed to come on the basis of what they learned in losing to LSU in the SEC tournament championship.

The strategy was picture perfect.  Aaron Westlake had provided the early fire power with a homerun that gave Vandy a 1-0 lead through three innings of flawless pitching by Mike Minor. He was done. He had thrown 45 pitches and was scheduled to only throw 40 for the night.  However, a coach is supposed to coach not with emotion but with his head.  Minor wanted to continue and Coach Corbin agreed.  The one thing I know from watching Minor is when he goes, he goes quickly.  So in the fourth he gives up a hit, and then Vandy commits the error on a routine play to first.  Then there is the walk and 66 pitches, Minor is still left in gives up the three run homerun on pitch 67.  Oops 22 pitches too late; Coach Corbin goes to the bullpen.   

Vandy tried to come back but the key 7<sup>th</sup> inning Vandy had the tying runs on 2n and third with 1 out and failed to get them across.  Vandy had a great season, they are young, they will make errors but tonight, I feel that Coach Corbin needs to take credit for the loss.

Louisville had 5 runs on 8 hits and no erros.
Vandy 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 errors. 

Posted on: May 31, 2009 10:33 pm

Vanderbilt Proves They Belong

Nick Christiani pitched Vandy into the championship game.  The Commodores will meet the Louisville Cardinals in the “what if” game Monday night 7 p.m. for the championship of the Louisville Regional after defeating the Cardinals 8-4 last night.  Coming out of the loser bracket, the Dores did what we had hoped for, proved they belonged.  Now Vandy will have a chance to make their way to the Super Regional with just one more win.

The Commodores losers in game one of the Louisville Regional against Middle Tennessee State roared back in the loser’s bracket with two impressive shutout victories.  Faced with lose and go home, Vandy chose to win and picked up their first ever NCAA Tournament shutout victory with a 10-0 win over #4 seed Indiana.  Then they threw their second shutout in as many days with  a 6-0 win over MTSU Sunday afternoon. The game against Middle Tennessee was a rematch of their game one encounter in which they lost 5-4.

Starting pitching was the key to Vandy’s remarkable turnaround.  Freshman right-hander Sonny Gray struck out 10 in eight innings against Indiana and Junior Caleb Cotham threw a complete-game four-hit shutout Sunday afternoon at Patterson Stadium.

Posted on: May 29, 2009 8:20 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2009 8:22 pm


MTSU defeated Vandy 5-4 in the opening game of the Louisville Region of the NCAA Baseball Championship.  They had to hang on for dear life, but they did and they proved they not only belong but also the #2 seed.  Vandy however got in the SEC Tournament through the back door and by doing well in the SEC tournament got an at large bid, but they have yet to prove they belong.

Vandy threw their ace of the staff, Mike Minor, against the ace of the Blue Raiders , Kenneth Roberts.  Minor  was rudely welcomed with a grand slam homerun by Stuart Meinhart in the first inning.  Vandy battled back with two runs in the top of the fourth.  The game remained that way with Vandy often threatening but unable to get anything across the plate.  MTSU got there next run on a solo shot by Taylor Dennis in the top of the 7th.

Vandy scored two more runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth and threatened again in the 9th with bases loaded and two outs but reliever Codie Woods got Jason Esposito to ground into a game ending fielder's choice.

Roberts was the outstanding player in the conference championship for the Blue Raiders and he showed why today.  He is now 11-1.

Vandy showed moments of brilliance and to their credit down 4-0 in the first inning they did not quit.  Still, the failure to produce the big runs with runners in scoring position proved once again their achilles heel.  Vandy left 12 runners in scoring position. That my friends is the reason they lost.  Give it to the Blue Raiders they played with confidence and guts and did not flinch.

Vanderbilt will play the loser of tonight's game (No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 4 Indiana) on Saturday at at 2 p.m. CT.

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