The School: Tennessee State University
Record: 2-0 (1-0 in the Ohio Valley). TSU had its Week 2 and Week 3 games against Jackson State and Hampton canceled due to weather. This would have been an amazing strategy for Vanderbilt’s game against South Carolina last Saturday.
Ranking: Unranked in the FCS Top 25. Probably because they’ve only played two games so far. But they beat Eastern Illinois, which is typically a good thing. At least as good as beating Nevada.
Mascot: Aristocat the Tiger. THERE’S A MASCOT IN NASHVILLE FANCIER THAN MR. C? HOW IS THIS NOT THE NUMBER ONE CONCERN FACING VANDERBILT ATHLETICS?
Location: Nashville, Tennessee. 90% of you reading this have been to Nashville before. 5% have been here for a bachelorette party. The other 5% is dating or married to someone who has been to a bachelorette party here. The city’s homeless population survives entirely on discarded gummi penises. If you started up a tiara business on Broadway in 1990, you and Jeff Bezos would have a running, wink-wink/nudge-nudge inside joke about how you’re hunting “the most dangerous game” out at your lodge in Montana by now.
Coach: Still good ol’ Suge Knight-lookin’ Rod Reed.
Conference: The Ohio Valley Conference. In a league with nicknames like the Governors, Skyhawks, Racers, Gamecocks, Colonels, and Golden Eagles, Tennessee State landed on Tigers. Boooooooooo.
All-time vs. Vanderbilt: 0-2. KINGS OF NASHVILLE (please don’t get a football program, Belmont)
In the Last 10 Years vs. Vanderbilt: 0-1
The Last Time We Saw These Guys: Vandy made a strong attempt to Vandy the hell out of this one, falling behind 17-14 with four minutes to go in the second quarter. Then Khari Blasingame scored his second and third touchdowns of the game, and while that didn’t stop the advancing army of stress liquors coursing though our veins, it at least made those homecoming spins a bit more pleasant when we collectively returned to Vandyville to pass out in warm patches of grass beside the belching exhaust pipes of a thousand idling cars.
Is Vandy Favored?: Yes, because the perfect eraser for an epic, in-conference bed-wetting is to play an FCS team somehow unlucky enough to have half its games canceled by God himself to start the season.
Most Potent Offensive Threat: The dance team. Any member. If you were at homecoming 2016, you remember the halftime show from that game. A meteor could have destroyed the city that night and my takeaway from Saturday would have still been “holy shit, did you see those dancers?”
That whole band/dance combo moves like somehow dumped a bunch of cocaine into a barrel of snakes. I cannot remember a single song the Spirit of Gold has ever played that isn’t Dynamite or the alma mater. I had to look up the final score of that 2016 game. But I distinctly remember locking eyes with a front-row TSU dance team member for one fleeting moment and feeling as though a dagger made of flaming ice had been plunged into my heart.
Conversely, if you are/were a Tennessee State dance team member capable of firing paradox daggers from your eyes, please contact me.
Most Potent Defensive Threat: Defensive backs Vincent Sellers and Dajour Nesbeth were both preseason All-OVC selections, so expect one of them to capitalize on Kyle Shurmur’s weekly Rex Grossman moment from the pocket.
Matchup to Watch: Ke’Shawn Vaughn vs. the Vanderbilt rushing rotation. Derek Mason made a comment at his weekly press conference suggesting Vaughn isn’t at the top of the team’s depth chart because he isn’t the team’s most efficient runner. A statement that was extremely correct last week. Anyway, Vaughn quote-tweeted that with a bunch of crying faces, got the expected amount of feedback in the replies, and promptly deleted the comment.
Interesting Fact: James K. Polk, the president you may have thought was so fat he got stuck in a White House bathtub (but was, in fact, a totally different president with a four-letter name), is buried in Nashville. Just like thousands and thousands of my complaints about hipsters ruining East Nashville. Why don’t more people care about that? THEY RUINED THE EDGEFIELD!
Bonus Fact!: Vanderbilt University is also located in Nashville, Tennessee.
If Tennessee State wins, we: allow Nick Zeppos to shut down the football program entirely. The stadium will be exclusively for Jason Mraz concerts from now on. We deserve this.