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Saturday Tailgate: South Carolina

Another one of THESE games...

AoG Week in Review

Well, that game went a lot better than I (or anyone else) expected. The feeling around here is very positive, but not what ATVS would call “delusional optimism”. I think that for the most part that’s where Vanderbilt fans need to be. This team at least “proved” itself capable of hanging with a real football team. That’s something to be positive about. At the very minimum we know that the first two games weren’t just us beating up on nobodies.

Tom, however, provides a good outline of where my tempered positivity is at the moment. Vanderbilt beat ND as far as the traditional stats go, but ultimately it’s hard to gauge what happened in South Bend. Walking out of the stadium, my old roommate and I agreed that Vanderbilt simply didn’t bring their “A” game. Bring their A game and we don’t leave 10-14 points on the field, and possibly win the game. Linking that Tom’s breakdown that it almost seems like ND did just enough to win, it’s hard to gauge exactly where we’re at.

I’d also like to point out that Notre Dame isn’t a top ten team. They may not even be a top-25 team. They barely beat Ball State, they barely beat us, and they beat a bad Michigan team. Notre Dame right now is playing exactly to the level of their competition and has an offense entirely dependent on their QB. They’re going to lose to Stanford in a week, and they may lose to Wake today. Point here is that eventually the Irish are going to either have to step it up or be exposed.

Don’t get me wrong here, I think Vanderbilt is a decent football team. I just don’t know how decent we are. I think we win that game against Notre Dame if we played our best but I’m not even sure how to gauge a win over Notre Dame. They’re not a bad team, but they’re probably not a great one either. I don’t want to belabor this point any more than I already have. The fact is we all agree that while we have a lot to be positive about, we have to see a little more before we know what our team ID is.

On the most important football news front that’s not directly related to our performance, Vanderbilt is asking for your opinions about the state of Vanderbilt Athletics. This is extremely important and you need to respond to it. This is going to help decide who they hire for our new AD. If you care about Vanderbilt Athletics at all, if you’ve ever complained about the state of ANY of our sports, you need to respond. If you’re like me, you’ve told them that Vanderbilt Administration needs to stop acting like sports are an afterthought and get a proactive AD who’s going to change that perception. PLEASE REGISTER YOUR OWN THOUGHTS WITH THEM. Here’s direct links to Zeppos’ letter and survey.

Finally on the major football front, our schedule for 2019 dropped, and hoo boy is it rough. We start the season with UGA, @Purdue, LSU, NIU. Assuming Purdue stays bad, we could start next year 1-3. That’s a gross as hell start to the season. The only real saving grace is what ol’ Spurdog used to say, “I sort of always liked playing (Georgia) that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.” The good news is that once we get through that, we’ve got clear sailing for the most part. Well, clear sailing as far an SEC schedule goes.

Other Notes

  • The Vanderbilt Hustler has written their yearly “hey dummies you should go to games” article. It really annoys me that Vanderbilt is the only school that the students largely think they need to be “given a reason to go”. As if free SEC football isn’t enough of a reason. Vanderbilt absolutely doesn’t do enough to encourage kids to go but our student body are pathetic nerds at times. I saw someone complaining about tailgating as a reason not to go. What the hell.
  • LB Kendall Young (3*) committed to VUFB. He is every bit the kind of player that will work in Vanderbilt’s system, but at only 6’5” 210 lbs you can see why he’s a 3*. If the VU conditioning coaches are able to load him some pounds, he’ll be a 4* quality LB no question.
  • DoreOnThePlains has pushed out to a good lead in the writer pick’em.
  • Jordan Matthews has returned to the Eagles, and VU04 couldn’t be happier.
  • Women’s soccer won their first game against UF since 1997, bringing their wins up to 8 in a row... and then beat Alabama to bring their win streak to 9.
  • Women’s golf is #1 in the country, and host a tournament this weekend.

Around the League

LSU beat Diet Bama on a last minute FG, BYU upset Wisconsin on a missed one. Arkansas and Missouri look absolutely awful and we play both of them this year. FSU is horrendous. I’ve got your highlights of last week’s results here.

There's Other Footbaw

It’s 1100 and you’re firing up the grill for lunch. Your cousin is screaming at you to put on a game he misses his fifth cornhole throw in a row. You knew you shouldn’t have let him make his “bourbon surprise” before 1300. You need a game to throw on before Vandy takes the field. I’ve got a suggested lineup of games to watch for the day.

Get Ready for VU Footbaw

We play the South Carolina Gamecocks today. Carolina comes off a canceled game because of the storms last weekend so all we have to go on is a beating of LEast Carolina and getting beat by the clear #2 team in the nation. If you ask me, this game is about deciding who’s #2 in the East. Because it’s not Florida and it’s not Tennessee. It’s almost certainly not Kentucky. As I said earlier, this is a “learn more” game for us. A strong showing (and particularly a win) will do a lot to show us what to expect for the rest of the year. Knowing Vanderbilt, we’ll get something for pessimists and optimists a like.

We’ve got a preview of the Gamecocks offense so that you can sound smart at your tailgate about what we’re going to see. In addition, Tom sat down with sister site GarnetAndBlackAttack to ask about their team. In turn, Tom answered some of their questions about the Dores. Spoiler alert - Carolina fans are their typical worried selves going into this game. It is mildly comforting that they see the games of this series as close as we do, even if the scores don’t reflect it. Finally, you should take a listen in on both Muschamp and Mason on their pressers earlier this week.

Everyone, including the oddsmakers, see this as a street fight. It’s not an unusual take for a Vanderbilt-Carolina game. The scores don’t reflect it but we always seem to matchup well. Win or lose, we all want to see the team bring a better game than the mistake-prone one that went to South Bend. Make no mistake about it though, this isn’t “same old Vandy”. Same old Vandy wouldn’t have kept with it. Same old Vandy wouldn’t have kept making stops. Same old Vandy would have rolled over. Lets hope that translates into a victory today.

Read up on our predictions, GABA’s predictions, and post some of your own. See you in the stands y’all.