The hangover, week 12: Our Heroes

In which a 41-year old Commodore supporter makes an ass of himself on Instagram in the parking lot of Bloomingdales and realized he is too old to be on the Internet jumping up and down screaming VANDY AINT WORRIED BOUT NOTHIN.

Because it's a hell of a lie, of course. Looking at 4th and 12 with a minute left, too far to kick, down by one point, and Jordan Matthews had just had another highly uncharacteristic drop. And all I could think was "not like this. Please not like this." Because the story of 2013 Vanderbilt football is the story of JMatt - who turned down NFL money to take one more swing at the SEC in black and gold. With a new QB, a new running mate at WR2, a massive change of scenery at RB, and a virtual guarantee that he would be doubled if not tripled almost every time down the field.

Oh me of little faith. Once they threw it at JMatt again, THEN I stopped worrying, because what has 87 done all year besides grab the ball in the clutch. Forced ball into double coverage on fourth down? No worries, that kid from Madison AL will do some of that Jedi stuff one more time. And then, I knew we had it, because In addition to the greatest receiver in Vandy history we were sporting the greatest place kicker in Vandy history. (Trust me, if Auburn had tried that nonsense against Vanderbilt, we'd be talking about the overtime and whether Chris Davis could see straight.)

We find a way. We found a way. Same Old Vandy doesn't convert that play. SOV doesn't hold after getting a pick and fumbling it back to Wake. SOV doesn't come back against Tennessee in Knoxville. SOV doesn't come back on Georgia with a backup QB. SOV doesn't take advantage of a Florida team on the ropes. SOV doesn't battle all 60 minutes in a losing cause against Ole Miss or South Carolina.

But Same Old Vandy has been dead for a while, and the rest of the world is finally starting to notice.

Lets face it, this team is not as good as last year's. The running game finally jelled around Jerron Seymour...but then he got hurt too. Jonathan Krause developed into the WR2 we desperately needed - and he got hurt. Austyn Carta-Samuels became our first 300-yard passer since Jay Cutler, and he got hurt. 2013 was the Year of the Injury in college football, and we took our licks - at Florida, our depth chart at QB was a redshirt fresh making his second start, a true freshman we were trying to redshirt, and a permanent wildcat set.

Most of the world had us coming back to earth this season - 5 wins, maybe 6. Many of us thought we could do 8 again, if we took advantage of the breaks and maximized our potential. You can argue we didn't, for whatever reason, and yet Vanderbilt stands on the cusp of righteous indignation at our bowl bid for a second consecutive year.

Read that sentence again. Then read this and take especial notice of these sentences: "And yet, they were down 21-17 at the end of the third quarter and 21-20 with less than a minute to go. But anybody who's watched a Vanderbilt game knows what happened next."

Jordan Matthews - and all of our seniors who pledged themselves to a 2-10 team - believed that we could be that team. And then they went out and made it happen. A 4-8 team in black and gold snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at Vanderbilt Stadium yesterday, all right, but it wasn't us. That's not who we are anymore.

Thank you, Jordan. Thank you, seniors. Thank you, players. Thank you, coaches. Thank you, VCDW. Thank you, every loyal Vanderbilt fan who's waited years or decades for the privilege of complaining about wins and bowl bids. The victory flag is at 23 days...and counting.

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