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Vanderbilt and Tennessee: The Past, The Present and The Future

There once was a team that dominated an in-state college football rivalry. After winning only twice over a 20 year span, the opponent decided to hire a new coach to change the course of the program. They were tired of losing.

That coach was Robert Neyland. The University of Tennessee named their football stadium after him.

The past at that time was that Vanderbilt OWNED Tennessee. Over the first 20 seasons, Vanderbilt was 16-2-2 against the Vols, outscoring them 505-79, or 6.39 VU points to every 1 Vol point. (

It didn't take place over night. Vanderbilt won the first matchup with Neyland at the helm, 20 to 3. The next season, the teams tied 7-7. From that point forward the Vols controlled the rivalry. Though the Vols would own the W-L column better than the Commodores did the first 20 years, they haven't come close to dominating the individual matchups quite like the Commodores did over that stretch. The largest point per opponent point ratio for the Vols (over a 20 year period) is 3.28 to 1.

No doubt there will be countless Vols that point out how absurdly laughable it is to point to the past. I completely agree. And yet that's exactly what your fans are doing right now.

The past does not control our future. A great poet once carved into a wooden picnic table: "there's no fate but what we make for ourselves." We can change the direction.

Judgment Day arrives.