This morning, in between dealing with clients and winning tickets to next Saturday’s Oklahoma-Houston game on a radio call-in show (no, this really happened), I got the chance to talk to Paul Finebaum and the topic of conversation was Vanderbilt football. Finebaum’s radio show will be carried on 102.5 The Game in Nashville starting on Monday, and Paul shared some of his thoughts on the Commodores’ football team this year.
The South Carolina game is important. Like, the biggest game of the year, maybe.
Paul thinks this for a lot of reasons, but in particular the way that the first game of the season can set the tone for the rest of the year. The Temple game in 2014 set the tone for that season, and when I say it set the tone I mean that it led to tons of jokes about “wet hets” in the comments section. The Western Kentucky game last year set a different kind of tone, though Vanderbilt did turn things around after that.
Paul doesn’t think much of South Carolina this year and thinks that Vanderbilt should win this game, and that’s important because Vanderbilt needs to get wins wherever it can find them.
Speaking of which...
What the hell is the deal with Vanderbilt’s non-conference schedule?
Look, I get the economic reasons behind it, but about 90 percent of my frustration with the 2015 season is the fact that two wins in the Southeastern Conference ought to lead to six wins overall and a trip to, I guess, Shreveport. Only it didn’t, because we’re knuckleheads who schedule teams like Western Kentucky and Houston.
Paul’s in agreement with me on this one. He has a lot of respect for David Williams but just doesn’t understand the thought process behind giving the football team even more of an uphill fight to get to six wins. Yes, now there’s the requirement to play one Power 5 school a year, but why not Kansas?
Kyle Shurmur has the tools.
If we’re being real, this isn’t something that Anchor of Gold readers didn’t already know. We all went to Vanderbilt, after all, but while Shurmur isn’t a sure thing, the physical tools are there. That means, at least, that the problems are fixable, which is better than having a quarterback who can’t make the throws.
Paul is fairly optimistic about us getting six wins.
He didn’t come out and say it, exactly, that we would get to six wins, but he thinks we should beat South Carolina and thinks we can “take advantage” of Mizzou. (PHRASING) He thinks Kentucky is getting better under Mark Stoops but is still beatable, and he likes the timing of the Florida game — on Florida’s schedule, it’s sandwiched between Tennessee and LSU. And he thinks weird stuff can happen in November as other teams wear down and some will more or less quit on the season — not to put words in his mouth, but I took it to mean Gus Malzahn may or may not be Auburn’s head coach when we play them and Ole Miss may or may not have been hammered with a bowl ban by the time we face them.
Good talk. No audio, because I’m not smart enough to know how to record that and also because if I’m being honest, you probably wouldn’t actually be able to understand a word of the conversation. There’s a lot of Memphis in that conversation.