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Saturday Tailgate: MTSU

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FOOTBAW IS BACK!

A new season dawns, and with it, the tailgate returns. As always, the tailgate will be the thread for non-Vanderbilt games. I’ll fulfill my solemn duty to deliver poorly written hot takes, terrible advice on what games to watch, mediocre previews, and a childish taunting of teams that lost.

One new thing this year is that the tailgate will be broken up through the week. As you may have already noticed, I moved the “There’s Other Footbaw” section to Wednesday. Likewise, the schadenfreude of “Around the League” will be (hopefully) Monday. Don’t worry if miss these, I’ll include links here.

Fire up your grills, shotgun some brews, and argue with your second cousin over what play USC is going to call on a third and 6 against Coastal Carolina. The tailgate is back.

AoG Week in Review

As it’s the start of the season, we get a week’s reprieve of kvetching about the team’s play That didn’t stop us from finding other things to BS about. We (see: Tom) wrote an insane amount of content for us in the days leading up to today’s game.

Let’s start off by talking about Vanderbilt’s utter and complete disdain for their football team and the fans. Once again, I got to give credit to Adam Sparks and Joe Rexrode for their determination to stick to this. Particularly when Vanderbilt clearly was hoping that saying literally nothing would make things go away. As Tom laid out, this was a poor strategy. After about a week of hiding in their rooms like angsty teenagers, Vanderbilt released an “I’ll think about it” that was about as convincing as when your SO says it. The statement was so inspiring (and brave!) that I decided to release a statement of my own.

Vanderbilt has said basically nothing and committed to nothing. This attitude just feeds the impression that I and many fans have that Vanderbilt admin really doesn’t want a football team. They see it as a very profitable burden. There is no doubt in my mind that if we didn’t get those sweet SEC checks, VU would have axed the football program already. As it is, they continue to demonstrate my refrain that Vanderbilt administrators see football as for peasants. I see them as Frasier Crane sorts that just look down their nose at those of us that enjoy team sports. To Vanderbilt’s administators, football fans are to be pitied. If they really cared, they could answer a simple question instead of giving a platitude while running away. Maybe I’m wrong, but Vanderbilt has done nothing to amelioriate my perception.

New stadium, upgraded stadium, it doesn’t matter, because we do have a new season upon us. Spoiler alert, Vanderbilt is not ranked. While we’ve often had a wide breadth of predictions in the past, I’d say most of y’all have a fairly reasonable expectation of the season. Most fans are predicting somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-7 wins with the usual outliers that are a little optimistic or pessimistic. The AoG contributors got together and laid out some of our own season previews over here.

No matter what predictions you have, chances are it’s not as bad as the one that many sportswriters tend to have. It should come as no surprise to Vanderbilt fans that sportswriters’ “research” part of commenting on our team is somewhat lacking. The standard method is to pull up our roster, make a few quick comments about a missing player from last year, mix it with some “lol vandy”, and some obvious anger that they have to talk about us at all. The inevitable result is that virtually all sportswriters have us as “last place”. Doesn’t make for a good, honest, or particularly deep analysis. As the VandyImport pointed out, the only thing that really matters to a sportswriter is how good the team was when they were kids.

The worst take I saw was one claiming that we’ll not only go winless in the SEC, but won’t come within 10 points of one. I checked, and while we’ve certainly had our share of times where we went winless in the SEC, the last time we “didn’t come within 10” of a win in any of those games was... 1986 (Watson Brown’s first year). That’s right, even Woodyball and Dowhower was able to keep some conference games close. This is a terrible take and whomever it was on AoG twitter (not me) who made fun of that take deserves a free drink.

If you want to get into the nuts and bolts on the makeup of our team, we have AoG position previews! Frankly, Tom busted his butt on these and they haven’t gotten nearly as much love as they deserved. So read ‘em. There’s a ton of great information as to who’s gonna be playing and what we can reasonably expect of them.

Finally on the football front, DoreOnThePlains is back for another lecture, and plenty lessons for us all to learn about Vanderbilt Football.

NON-FOOTBAW NEWS

Even though FOOTBAW IS BACK, we do have some other non-football business to mention.

Around The League

No football to laugh at this week. That freak-state that has been engulfed in lava may have played (they won). But check back Monday for the weekend wrap-up / schadenfreude.

There's Other Footbaw

Any good football fan knows there’s always more footbaw. You gotta have your viewing plan in place, and here’s a list of the games I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Get Ready For Vanderbilt Footbaw

Our opponent this week is the Blue Raiders of MTSU. If you’re interested in a deeper dive into what to expect from our opponent, Tom has given us a preview of the MTSU defense, and ShawnerAllen has a look at the offense.

Derek Mason has given us his pre-game presser along with today’s depth chart. Of note, Zaire Jones (S) has been “indefinitely suspended” after being charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The student presser is up as well!

Given the “lol Vandy” effect, plenty of people are taking MTSU in an upset in this game. Enough that it moved the line four points. Please keep in mind that lines are not predictions. We have predictions though! Feel free to mock them and/or add your own!

Buckle up for another season, and see y’all in the gamethread at kickoff. Throughout the game, you may want to contemplate whether this series is an overall good or bad thing for the football program.

KICKOFF IS 730 ET (630 CT) on SECSN