In which a 40-year-old Commodore supporter who would rather have no booze at all than Bud Light tries to unpack the results of the most recent Vanderbilt football game.
* First and most, best wishes and thoughts and prayers for Zac Stacy. Mr. Vanderbilt Football is not looking too too healthy these days, and it was crushing to see him on the sideline in pain and unable to play. Hopefully this is not the end of the road in black and gold for #2, but if it is...you'd be hard-pressed to find a better back in this history of this program all the way back to 1890.
* CJF's two biggest wins at Vanderbilt have both been over Ole Miss. The first one, last season, took the Dores to 3-0 and established that they would not squeak through every win any longer - it was just a good solid thrashing that nearly became the "NOT SINCE THE DEAD SEA WAS SICK" shutout in the SEC that we got from Kentucky this year. But this one - coming back 17 points in the second half, on the road, with the #1 offensive weapon on the sideline - was our game of distinction. This is a game that Same Old Vandy doesn't win. Same Old Vandy folds its tent at 23-6.
* I have been as guilty as anyone of wondering if Jordan Rodgers was ever going to happen. Well, he happened, and his second-half performance was sterling. Hell, even the designed runs looked justifiable to me, although I would have liked to have someone roll back across on the naked bootleg to give him a plausible way to throw it away without grounding in case the defense got to the corner too quickly.
* Yes, Bo Wallace lit us up for 400 yards passing...and one touchdown. Has there ever been a more utterly bend-but-don't-break performance by a Commodore defense? So many red zone trips converted into field goals, holding the flood back until the offense came around. Just remarkable. The Wild Dogs and Redtails are barking and swarming and it is fun as hell to see. More importantly, Bo Wallace is a serious dual-threat, and he didn't gash us senseless the way South Carolina or Florida or Northwestern did with the QB zone-read. Or at least nothing much came of it.
* I don't hate Ole Miss. I just can't bring myself to do it. I suppose if we hadn't won five of the last six, including three straight in Oxford, I might not be able to be magnanimous - but look: they're the second-smallest school in the league, they have a similarly tortured history in football, they're trying to turn it around under an extremely promising young coach, they're struggling to change the culture around the program (albeit in very different ways), and we have things in common like literary tradition, the tragedy of Chucky Mullins, and the fact that if anyone in the conference other than us were to break out the Brooks Brothers Pro Combat uniform...well, there you go. Rivalry without rancor. I hope they win out, as tall an order as that is, not least because it wouldn't hurt if we could catch up to CLANGA for a higher bowl spot...
* It's time to look at that wound. We're only laying 2 points at home to a team without a single SEC win all year, because despite the dumpster fire in Knoxville under Dooley, despite the complete absence of anything resembling defense in orange, despite the knucklehead under center who could throw for five touchdowns or throw the ball into the parking lot on any given play - despite everything, the rest of the world looks at Vanderbilt vs Tennessee and automatically, reflexively, without thinking or hesitation, marks us down an L.
So what are we prepared to do about that?