There simply could not be a worse possible start to the season than this. You can pull a Milli Vanilli and blame it on the rain if you like, and I’m sure a 2 hour delay on a weeknight was no help, but that’s not enough to excuse a loss of this caliber. We lost our opener, at home, to a football team that once got thrown out of the Big East for being uncompetitive.
Turnovers aplenty. A defense that gave up tons of underneath catches. A quarterbacking situation that is going to be a nightmare already. If you have two quarterbacks you don’t have any - what if you have three? Most of all, a complete inability to dictate the pace and style of the game on our own field to a non-conference opponent. And above everything else - most terrifying of all - a gameplan and a coaching staff that looked absolutely lost.
This is the nightmare scenario. A college football world pointing and chortling and saying "SAME OLD VANDY" and "NORMAL SERVICE IS RESTORED" and "THAT’S WHY YOUR [sic] VANDY", while we get destroyed at home by one of our most winnable opponents behind a coaching staff whose actions summon memories of Rod Dowhower and Woody Widenhofer. There were times tonight when Derek Mason looked positively bewildered. The halftime interview was quintessential deer-in-the-headlights. The body language is ghastly, which is a charitable description of the experience.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this any more. Back in 2011, the thing that stood out about the first-year coach was that we were blowing out teams we should beat and keeping it damned close against teams we expected to blow us out. It would be one thing if we'd lost by a touchdown on a dicey call to, say, South Carolina. Or gave up a miracle TD after a heavyweight prizefight of a match. Or failed to cover against a game and feisty opponent despite a narrow win. But that’s not what happened. Instead, in his debut, Derek Mason (and OC Karl Dorrell, who got shown the door at UCLA for a reason) got his pants pulled over his head by a team that opened as a 17-point underdog. All those people out there shouting that everything was going to go to hell, that we were going to be terrible again, that everything would be just like it used to be - we went out there and rolled right over for them and proved them right. What are you supposed to say to that?
This is unacceptable.
Not much we can do now but ride it out. Going forward, though, there is no reason whatsoever we should be playing a Thursday night opener ever again. We get killed for not showing up for 8 PM starts on a weeknight even before the rain delay does for us, why give people any more ammunition? As for the rest…what can you do? We gave the ball back, what, SEVEN times? Our only score was on a fumbled punt in the end zone; the offense produced zero points behind any of the three quarterbacks. All we can do is get drunk and hurl invective and sit here in our badness. You want my advice for this season as of right now? Drink more and care less.
But I will say this straight out: that is unquestionably the worst loss of my life as a Vanderbilt fan in twenty years of supporting this team. Period, paragraph, full stop. You don’t want to hear "Same Old Vandy"? Give me a reason. Start next Saturday against Ole Miss.