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Anchor Drop, August 28, 2019: 3 Days to Kickoff

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Three. Days.

NCAA Football: Nevada at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning.

We’re down to 3 days until Vanderbilt football’s season opener against Georgia. 3 is the number of junior safety Tae Daley, listed as the starter on the first depth chart of the season after he started eight games and notched 45 tackles last season. Redshirt freshman RB Ja’Veon Marlow got into four games last season and carried the ball five times for 46 yards, showing some promise (though he’s not listed on the depth chart at the present time.)

And yesterday, we got our first press conference of the regular season. We recapped Mason’s first presser yesterday, but in case you want to see it for yourself, here it is (courtesy of VandySports):

And here was the question time for DL Drew Birchmeier and TE Jared Pinkney:

Here’s the official release from vucommodores.com for the Georgia game.

SEC Nation is coming to the Ingram Commons on Saturday.

The Tennessean has a new podcast with Adam Sparks, as does VandySports with Willy Daunic.

ICYMI: Shawn previewed Georgia’s offense yesterday.

Off the West End

First, here’s the official SEC Twitter account, uh, bragging about the 1939 SEC champions losing to an SWC team in the Sugar Bowl.

And with the AAC announcing that it’s doing away with divisions with UConn leaving... oh, God, here comes Bill C. with the pods crap again:

(For some reason, not having 14-team conferences is never presented as an idea.)

You’ll notice this morning’s Anchor Drop is tagged with the new tag “Tom’s Rants,” since these are becoming a standard feature, because a couple of Missouri fans (of course it’s Missouri fans, they don’t have any teams in the SEC they actually care about playing) put me in a foul mood about this. But the pods idea is stupid, and Banner Society (and now an ESPN employee!) pushing this crap is entirely wrong.

The beauty of college football is not in having random teams on the other side of the conference that you’re guaranteed to play every other year; the beauty is having a whole bunch of teams that you play year after year and grow to hate. And no, playing every other year isn’t the same thing. For instance, if we played South Carolina every two years instead of every year, does anybody here even care about that game? (Do we care about Missouri now? No, but give it ten years and we’ll probably at least be completely annoyed at having to play them every year.)

But here’s the thing about the divisions. What was lost in conference expansion — playing your conference mates every year (okay, the SEC actually didn’t have this, but Vanderbilt had some teams in the old days who were on the schedule every year — and some teams that were on it basically never) — was at least preserved in somewhat different form by dividing the conference into divisions and playing half the conference every year. That’s come at the cost of playing the non-permanent rival from the other division every six years, but (a) that’s about as often as we were playing them before and (b) uh, do we actually care if we only see the West teams once in a blue moon?

Because remember: Vanderbilt has played five teams in the SEC West less often than they’ve played Sewanee and Tulane. And they’ve played four teams in the SEC West less often than they’ve played Georgia Tech. (Granted, both of these facts are also true of two teams in the East. Thanks, South Carolina and Missouri.)

The point is, though, that college football is simply better with more annual matchups — even if those aren’t ZOMG RIVALRY GAMES (because, let’s face it, maybe one team in the SEC even considers us a rival.) College football is better because Vanderbilt plays Tennessee, Georgia, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, and yes, even you, Missouri, every year. College football that says Vanderbilt’s only three annual opponents are Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ole Miss because we have to play Mississippi State more because reasons is NFL creep in action. I get that the traditions of college football are being shredded every year (witness, again, Missouri being here) but this idea sucks out loud. Plus — the problems it purports to solve (not playing the teams in the other division enough for the liking of the weirdo Florida fans at Banner Society) would also be solved by going to a nine-game conference schedule and scrapping the permanent cross-divisional rivalry. That this is a non-starter with SEC brass suggests that athletic directors don’t see this as a problem like the internet weirdos from schools located at the periphery of the conference.

Scoreboard

MLB: Orioles 2, Nationals 0 ... Pirates 5, Phillies 4 ... Blue Jays 3, Braves 1 ... Cubs 5, Mets 2 ... Indians 10, Tigers 1 ... Reds 8, Marlins 5 ... Cardinals 6, Brewers 3 ... Twins 3, White Sox 1 ... Astros 15, Rays 1 ... A’s 2, Royals 1 ... Red Sox 10, Rockies 6 ... Diamondbacks 3, Giants 2 ... Angels 5, Rangers 2 ... Dodgers 9, Padres 0 ... Yankees 7, Mariners 0.