Frank: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.
Kramer: What happened to the doll?
Frank: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born. A Festivus for the rest of us.
Kramer: That must have been some kind of doll.
Frank: She was.
Few things fully exemplify the spirit of Festivus like Vanderbilt sports fandom. In a conference full of gaudily decorated Rockefeller Square-esque Christmas trees, we often find ourselves to be the Spartan, utilitarian pole. We’re made from aluminum. Very high strength to weight ratio. We find tinsel distracting.
In honor of the 21st anniversary of its appearance in the national zeitgeist, and on Festivus Day itself, a donation has been made in your name to The Human Fund. Get the pole out of the crawlspace, think of all the ways your loved ones have disappointed you in the past year, and let The Airing of Grievances begin. Vanderbilt football fans, Festivus is your heritage. It’s part of who you are. It’s not over until you pin me.
First Up: Andy Ludwig
Ludwig, my son tells me your play-calling stinks. You had the greatest collection of offensive talent assembled on West End since... ever?... and still, you couldn’t smooth a silk sheet if you had a hot date with a babe... I lost my train of thought.
Mason gave you at least four skill position players who will play on Sundays, and you parlay that into (checks notes) the 9th best offense in the SEC?! A league known more for stopping points than getting them?! Behind such offensive plodders as The Jorts and Clanga?!?!?!
Biggest Grievance: Not seeing what you had in Ke’Shawn Vaughn until midseason.
By now, we all agree that the offense needed to go through the nimble feet of Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Well, all but Tom, who thinks he needs to work on his pass-blocking (no, I’m not going to let that go... here at AoG, everything is evergreen forever, Jeff Green travelled, Walsh sucks, hets are wet, and all wrong takes are instantly immortalized).
Here’s a quick rundown of Vaughn’s criminal misuse by the guy who is tasked with knowing who his offensive playmakers are and designing plays to maximize their success:
Game 1 v. MTSU: 9 carries for 37 yards; 1 catch for 12 yards.
Game 2 v. Nevada: 11 carries for 93 yards and 2 TDs; 2 catches for 6 yards.
Game 3 v. Notre Dame: 10 carries for 52 yards and a TD; 1 catch for 2 yards; ZERO TOUCHES ON THE LAST DRIVE, WHICH DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTED TO THE CLOSE LOSS AND I AM STILL SO ANGRY I COULD SMASH THIS KEYBOARD RIGHT NOW!!!
Game 4 v. The South Cackalacky Game Penises: 9 carries for 30 yards and a TD; 2 catches for 36 yards.
Game 5 v. Tennessee State: 17 carries for 146 yards and a TD; 0 catches. *This was the first game in which Vaughn had even half of the team’s total carries.
Game 6 v. Georgia: 9 carries for 79 yards (team carried 29 total times); 0 catches.
Game 7 v. The Jorts: 7 carries for 56 yards; 1 catch for 75 yards and a TD. *Injured in 2nd quarter.
Game 8 v. Kentucky: DNP (injury).
Game 9 v. Arkansas: 26 carries for 162 yards and 3 TDs; 0 catches.
Game 10 v. I’ll Be Deep in the Cold, Cold Ground Before I Recognize Missourah (spits): 15 carries for 182 yards and a TD; 2 catches for 14 yards and a TD.
Game 11 v. Ole Piss: 25 carries for 127 yards and a TD; 2 catches for -8 yards.
Game 12 v. THOSE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED: 6 carries for 25 yards; 2 catches for 33 yards; continually headhunted by Chugger defenders (with nary a flag).
Vaughn was the breakout star of this offense—an Alvin Kamara type talent who can put the entire offense on his back, and force defenses to stack the box, opening up routes for Pinkney and Lipscomb, and making everything easier for our boy, Shurms McKenzie.
Ludwig saw it... eventually. He should have noticed it much sooner.
Next Up: Derek Mason
Mason has taken our team to 2 bowls in 5 years, has maintained cromulence in ‘crootin, has run a near immaculately clean program, and has continually made The Chuggers his little brother (a Festivus miracle!). He has earned whatever contract extension new AD Malcolm “G Spot” Turner offers. I truly mean that.
...and yet I can’t shake the notion that Mason is just the slightest bit out of his depth.
The defense, finally featuring nothing but players Mason has brought in to fit his vision, took a clear step back this year. Other than grad transfer Louis “Old Man” Vecchio, Joejuan Island, and the Odeyingbros, the best I can say for the defensive unit under “Defensive Genius” Derek Mason and Hand-Picked Protege Jason Tarver is “Stop crying and fight your father.”
Though he has an opportunity to dry his het against Matt Rhule this weekend, and get his first winning season as a Commodore coach, I think most of us know with Shurms, Pinkney, Williams (and hopefully not) Vaughn exiting stage left, next year will be rough. 3-9 rough. Switching to bourbon before the first quarter is over in the season opener against Georgia rough. Asking “is it basketball season yet?” before September ends rough. Openly questioning whatever contract extension he is sure to get shortly rough.
Finally, The People Who Put Together This Year and Next Year’s Football Schedule
And now as Festivus rolls on, we come to the feats of strength.
Sure, let’s just schedule a road game in South Bend for no reason. Then, let’s outdo ourselves in 2019, and open with BCS Playoff favorite University of Georgia, head to Purdue to play the mercurial team with the exciting young coach that beat An Ohio State University this year, then welcome a bloodletting from LSU, followed by having to host perennial MAC contender Northern Illinois down what I can only imagine will be at least 5 critical players.
ALL BEFORE SEPTEMBER ENDS!!!
Just bludgeon me with the damned pole already.