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VANDERBILT FOOTBALL 2014 FAN PREVIEW (Part I)

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You wrote in, now revel in internet glory. The first ever Anchor of Gold fan preview is here!

I can hardly think of a better argument to join the Maniacs.
I can hardly think of a better argument to join the Maniacs.
Grant Halverson

I lied.  I said I was going to take the best submissions to the preview, but in reality I'm posting them all.  I feel like if you made the effort to email me, you deserve to have your voice heard. Think you could have done a better write-up? Think you have a better more cogent point to make about a game? Well, there's always fanposts!  If I missed someone, I assure you, it is not personal, just lemme know and I'll edit it in.

Without further ado, the first ever AoG conference game preview (plus UMASS).  All responses are literally copy and pasted from the email, complete with typos and grammatical errors.

UMASS

Probably the second best non-conference opponent, losing out only to Missouri. This is one of those infuriating games from the last few years where the starters had to stay in way too long. I'll use this a measuring stick for Mason. If he truly is an improvement over OBP, he'll grind his heels into the Minutemen like they were Charlie Murphy's couch. Prediction: Sober if I'm working, couple beers if not.

- Dinard'oh

Our biggest OOC rival is taken care of handily, Jerron Seymour has a great game. Win, 34-10.

- Ned in Engineering

This game will be more rewarding to watch simply due to the fact that it won't be played in before a post-apoclyptic crowd in the skeleton of Gillette Stadium.
- Pope V

MISSISSIPPI

We return the favor for the heartbreaking loss last year! (But I’ll sit there the whole game pissed because they have brought 5x as many fans to Nashville than we did) After it’s over and victory has been obtained, I will gladly tell ALL ole miss fans that I hope that they (and their chubby shorts, polo’s, and spurries) all have a good trip back home

- Jacob in Woodbury

This game will make or break Vanderbilt's season.  Come out ahead and a 10 win season is possible.  Lose it and Vanderbilt will be lucky to make it to a bowl game.

Wait...seriously?  How is that STILL the conventional wisdom?  Did the prognosticators not even watch last season?
- lsmsrbls
Taking a page from the baseball team, Vandy will be playing on the road at home. Or is it at home on the road? Whatever it is, this boondoggle of a game should be the first real test for Vandy's new defense. The bad news: Ole Miss should have the talent to exploit any hiccups in the new 3-4. The good news: there won't be much film for them to study to find those hiccups. Prediction: Drunk at halftime.
- Dinard'oh
Exciting game with lots of lead changes. Starting QB Stephen Rivers passes a lot, but Brian Kimbrow is a hero when he busts out a 53 yard run and doesn't fumble it on the goal line. Win, 31-29.
- Ned in Engineering

USC (the real one, not the one in California)

VTPhD Note: AoG commenter "Your Uncle Mike" submitted a fantastic review on this, but it's so thorough that it deserves his own fanpost.  I am currently encouraging him to post it as a separate article.  As a reminder, we all encourage y'all to make as many fanposts as you want.  Don't feel intimidated!
South Carolina should be good this season, at least by SEC East standards.  This game is also early enough in the season that Vanderbilt's growing pains are unlikely to have leveled out.  An upset here (while possible) is rather unlikely.
- lsmsrbls
I used to dislike Spurrier. I was younger and didn't really grasp his humor, and his Florida teams were spanking the living hell out of Vandy. He stunk it up in the NFL, I grew up a little, and now I appreciate him for the way he brings everyone down a peg. I'll miss his acerbic wit when he retires, but I'll be glad for the return to mediocrity his successor brings. Prediction: 12 banquet beers
- Dinard'oh
Robbed for the 3rd year in a row, Mike Evans rushes a lot and the refs go against us. Lose, 28-24.
- Ned in Engineering

KENTUCKY

VTPhD Note: First prize to ask_thedoctor, who we should all pressure into writing a "get psyched" review on Kentucky in a month or so the week we play 'em.

My preview of the most important game of the year:

School: The University of Kentucky (the only UK, since it seems they worked something out with the University of Kansas where Kentucky gets UK and Kansas gets KU)
Colors: Blue and White (shared by Duke, amongst others)
Mascot: Wildcat (shared by Arizona and Davidson, amongst others)
Conference: SEC (Schools Everyone else's Conference {except in academics})
Division: East (which, despite rhyming, is not 'beast' according to David Climer of the Tennessean)
School Nickname: Kensucky (of the Blueass State)
Series Nickname: Barrel Bottom Brawl

This is our most important game. Some of you think that it's Tennessee. Some of you think it's Ole Miss. You're wrong. It's Kentucky. Why? Because the series is 41-41-4. Sure we hate those two schools with an unbridled passion (I hate Ole Miss more than Tennessee, because they've snatched a few too many from us recently in every sport). Beating Tennessee and Ole Miss indicates that we're moving up in the pecking order—which is nice—but beating Kensucky ensures that we haven't slipped back into our old ways. Plus, beating Kensucky will mean that Vandy will have a winning series record over two of our league brethren: Kensucky and Auburn (I know, right‽ If it helps you feel better, we're one game away from tying up the series records with Mizzou and A&M).

Kensucky and Vandy both can't be good at the same time; one has to beat the other in order to get to a bowl game, generally. How many times have both schools gone bowling in the same year? I don't know, but probably not much more than zero. On 5 separate occasions since ’72, a win against Kentucky would have gotten us into a bowl: 1973, 1984, 1999, 2005, and 2007. We've done the same to them in 2001, 1987, and 1985. Tennessee will be back at some point; the allure and history of their program (badly colored though it may be) will mean that sooner rather than later, they will at least become mediocre instead of the steaming pile of freshly baked garbage that they currently are. Like, 8-9 wins per year on average. Kensucky has no such history to fall back on. We need to keep Kensucky Football's best years behind them.

The other reason this game will be critical is because the game is critical for Kensucky. They haven't won a league game since topping Tennessee(!) (wait, the Vols suck, never mind) in 2011. That's long time to go winless in the league, and their bound to get a league win at some point. Both Kensucky and Vanderbilt have routinely used each other to stop conference losing streaks (another reason to love the rivalry), and Kentucky will be hoping that Vandy will reprise its old role for that once again this year.

At best, we will be 3-1 when we face Kensucky, and 2-2 at worst. Either way, a win would either continue our winning ways or put us on the path of success. We need that W if we want to be bowl eligible; I don't see bowl eligibility happening if we don't get it, because who else could we beat if we can't beat Kensucky? The game isn't far from Nashville. Get out there, Vanderbilt faithful. The band will be there in full force. Join them (and learn the words to Dynamite, damn it). Let's extent this winning streak, and slay the Wildcats once again.

tl;dr:

Pros: We've beat them 100-14 the last three years, including 40-0 the last time we visited. The team and Mason will have jelled by then.

Cons: VU & UK are good at wrecking bowl eligibility for the other. Kentucky really, really, really wants a W, and we may be just inconsistent enough to give it to them.

Guess: 31-24 Vandy
- ask_thedoctor

VTPhD Note: Second prize to JmlongVU98.

A look from the opposite perspective:

It is a noon game on a cool Saturday at the end of September, and the student section for Kentucky is fairly full.  Keeneland does not open for racing until the following weekend, so they dodged a bullet on the noon start.  The fan base of the home team is actually a bit energized, after all, this is one of the games they are actually "picked" to win.  There is tailgating outside Commonwealth Stadium, there is cheering inside and optimism rears its head.  The stands are almost full and all the blue clad fans are thinking  "Sure, we lost to Florida the previous weekend, but that was on the road and the kids showed heart.  This Vandy team got "lucky" beating Ole Miss in their first game, and that South Carolina loss was not as close as the scored indicated ..."  Then the games starts.   With every Seymour run, 4 to 5 yards are gained.  Firstdown, firstdown. "Dammit" echoes in and out of Kentucky fans head.  Then a change of pace and a break away touchdown by someone named Kimbrow.  "Uh oh, Okay, big blue, answer back."  They get stuffed at the line, on second they get only a yard out wide on a qb option sweep.  On third down Herron crushes a middle screen and its a punt...

At this point, I hope to see the look of despair on my UK friend's faces.  It's that look that remembers that Vandy has outscored them the last three games something like 120 to 17, the look that realizes, "it's not the same old Vandy, dammit!"  That's when I will smile and say, "Anchor Down!"  Ahhhhh brand new Vandy, good times.

- JmlongVU98


This game will be closer than most people expect and will start rumors that Mason's team is in serious danger of being absolutely terrible this year.  It's perilously sandwiched between games against USC and UGA -- likely to be the two best teams in the division -- and is at Lexington.  Vanderbilt will win, but this game will raise our collective blood pressures enough that we should probably all lay off the salt for the week before.
- lsmsrbls
I hate UK. I'm guessing they'll be talking about basketball already by the time this game comes around, which is a big part of the reason I hate UK. I expect Azubike to be on a first name basis with the quarterback by the end of this one, Prediction: Half bottle of bourbon (because I hate UK, but I am still a Kentuckian at heart)
- Dinard'oh
Actually deserving of the title "worst in the SEC East", UK is overmatched and limps to another 2-10 season. Win, 24-7.
- Ned in Engineering

That's already one hell of a response...and that's only the first half of what we've got. If you're interested in having your voice heard for our matchups against Georgia, Missouri, Florida, Mississippi State, and THEM, send an email to VandyTigerPhD at GMail.com and let us know what you think of Joshua Dobbs, or the ongoing viking funeral that is Will Muschamp's career. We'll have Part II (and depending on your responses, maybe even a Part III) later on in the week.