IN WHICH a 40-year old Commodore supporter with more mouth than sense travels 4500 miles in six days with no socks to attend his first home game in sixteen years.
I knew going in that this game would be a gimme. I just couldn't take the chance that like Notre Dame in 1996, my last memory of Vanderbilt Stadium would be defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. So yeah...Cupcake Saturday in review:
* I was taken in at 8 AM by @Vanderboze and @VandyAPB, who know how to bring the Vandy Lifestyle. We had champagne, two kinds of bourbon, there were bacon biscuits and artfully-arranged muffins, and I got to wash down Krispy Kremes with PBR and some sort of Jäger-peach shot, and you don't get to do that every day. I also actually met people who knew one of my old grad school teammates. I was pleased to hear that his career is exactly what he wanted and that he is apparently the same as ever. To everyone I met or missed: thanks for everything. It may not be my house anymore, but the new residents are all superlative hosts.
* It was pointed out, and I concur, that for an 11:30 kickoff against a 1-AA opponent coming off a bad road loss and 0-2 start? The turnout (especially on Dore Alley) was better than I would have expected. I don't think we even had Star Walk in my day, but the look on those guys' faces...they weren't taking anyone lightly. They looked like they were out for blood, and my first thought was "we're gonna SLAUGHTER those Presbyterians."
* The dance team all wore #5 jerseys. I don't know why and it would be irresponsible to speculate, where by "irresponsible" I mean "fun as hell." Nevertheless, Warren Norman will hereafter be known as the Ladies' Choice. And he finally got legit playing time, and delivered the goods. WarNo is free. Let's hope it sticks.
* Silicon Valley's own Austyn Carta-Samuels got his first VU start, which must have been awkward for Aaron Rodgers (sighted at Star Walk) when Jordan didn't do anything but hold for kicks all day. The fact that a walk-on was sent out to mop up strongly suggests to me that we may have seen the last of Jordan Rodgers for a while; I would say "quarterback controversy" but right now it doesn't look like CJF thinks so. Nobody's job is safe or to be taken for granted, and if you don't perform you'll give way to somebody who can. Which is a change from the days when we limped along with incumbents for months or years at a time while never taking a chance with another player (I think the "Bring in da Funk" line goes here).
* One thing I really don't like, though, is the parade of starters back there returning kicks on special teams. I still have PTSD from watching Tyrone Prothro's famous injury against Florida years ago, and it confirmed in me that there's no reason EVER for a starter to be out there ESPECIALLY late in a blowout. I don't know what CJF is playing at, but the only name guy who should be returning kicks right now is Kimbrow. Maybe. NEVER Zac Stacy and NEVER Jordan Matthews. I mean, what the actual hell?
* The problem with a 58-0 win is that it tells you nothing about your team. ACS went out with a fish, a barrel, and a loaded gun. Is he the guy to take down Georgia? We are no closer to knowing than last week. We got a win, built a little momentum, restored morale ahead of the toughest three-game stretch on the schedule, and maybe that's enough. If we come home to face Florida at 1-4, though, the 1 may not make a lot of difference to us.
* There is a school of thought that says games like this ought not happen. From a fan standpoint, I agree. I'd much rather schedule, say, San Jose State on the road - aside from the purely selfish considerations, a road game against a very beatable but still I-A opponent is a better thing for the performance of this squad in the long run. But we aren't yet at a point where we can take any wins for granted (Duke 2008 anyone?) and as Arkansas and Kentucky learned, there's cupcakes and then there's cupcakes. It's the way of the world now, and much as I wish it wasn't, there's not a lot of percentage in making our stand for better scheduling until it no longer makes a difference to things like our prospects for bowl eligibility.
* On to Athens. I fully expect this to be the toughest road game of the CJF era, and how we come out of next Saturday will tell us a lot about this team and which way they're headed.