This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
The formula by which Vanderbilt fans calculate their expectations for the upcoming football season is understandably different than that of the typical college football fan. Certainly there is a "realistic" component, an "optimistic" component and a "pessimistic" component. When calculating my expectations for 2010, I like to add in a couple extra components for good measure:
Basketball Component (15%)
How good is our basketball team going to be this coming season? If I'm excited about the prospects, that affects my optimistic component. Thankfully, this has been more of a constant over the last few years in that I've had high expectations for the hoops squad. This coming season is certainly no exception.
Tailgate-ability Component (15%)
The last few years have seen good, consistent tailgating on my part. That hasn't always been the case. It really began in 2008, when my group formally purchased an old school bus for $600 (that was previously acquired for a trade - bus for 2 handguns - I am 100% not making that up) and officially signed up for Vandyville. Of course, 2008 was a Commodore dream season. 2009 didn't turn out the way any of us wanted, but expectations were high heading into the season, and tailgate component was surely a factor in that. This season, AOG has a trick up its sleeve that is going to artificially boost our tailgate-ability component. Yes, we're juicing this season. But it's going to be worth it.
With that said, let's look at the main three components.
Optimistic Component (40%)
Vandy fans live off optimism during football season. How else could I rationalize that we're eventually going to win a national championship? This year is always "the year." Sometimes the optimistic component is stronger than others. 2008 and 2009 were good examples, as was 2005. This season, it is probably around the year to year average. A reasonable optimistic expectation is to win 3 of our non-conference games (vs Northwestern, @ Connecticut, vs Eastern Michigan, vs Wake Forest) and to maybe sneak out 2 or 3 conference games to have a chance to regain bowl eligibility. Unreasonable optimistic expectation: NCAA CHAMPIONS 2010! SHOCK THE WORLD!
Realistic Component (20%)
If this component were weighed more favorably, particularly over the last 30 years, I'm not sure how feasible it would be to continue to stay as strong of a Commodore fan as I have. This year, the schedule is particularly daunting (top 15 in the country according to most sources) and we're not exactly coming off a stellar year either. Our offensive line and receiving corps need help (please let there be freshman standouts). Labeling last season's offensive playcalling as anemic is being considerate. Defensively, we were pretty strong but would fade late in games (probably due to the time spent on the field). When going over the 2010 schedule, there doesn't appear to be too many realistic wins. By that, I mean maybe 2 non-conference games, and maybe 1 conference game. Goal: single-digit losses in 2010.
Pessimistic Component (10%)
Even the best teams have the silent fear of complete and utter failure lurking in the back of their minds. I think it's frighteningly possible that Vanderbilt could go 1-11 or (yikes) 0-12 this season. Now, I'm not going to attach a percentage to this possibility. But it's better than I would like to see so soon after the team went to and won a bowl game. Of course, I haven't really seen or heard much about the incoming freshman and how they're going to impact the season. At the same time, will the injury bug bite next year? Cause it's much more of a plague to a team like Vanderbilt than the common cold.
Expectations: Based on my formula, it would have to be some sort of not-insignificant, non-BCS bowl. Right? RIGHT?
What are your expectations for 2010?