(8) November 3, 2001: Florida 71, Vanderbilt 13
The 2001 Vanderbilt football season was one to forget. The team opened the season with a home loss to MTSU — always a harbinger of things to come — but sandwiched a pair of three-point losses to Alabama and Auburn around a win over Richmond. They kept things competitive in a 30-14 loss to Georgia, but then gave up 656 yards of total offense in a 46-14 loss at South Carolina. They did beat winless Duke to improve to 2-5 on the season, and then they went to the Swamp.
Woody Widenhofer’s vaunted defense had carried Vanderbilt through his first four season, but the South Carolina game made clear that things were slipping as Widenhofer’s recruiting began to take its toll. And then Steve Spurrier put the final nail in the coffin.
This game was over from the jump. Florida’s Earnest Graham scored two rushing touchdowns to dig Vanderbilt in an early hole, and then Rex Grossman threw three touchdown passes before halftime to give the Gators a 37-0 lead. And things only got uglier in the second half, with Florida building a 71-0 lead before Vanderbilt scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
The aftermath was obvious: Woody Widenhofer announced his resignation three days later, though he’d coach out the remaining three games of the season. (Importantly, this loss also ensured that Vanderbilt would notch its 19th straight losing season.)
For sheer misery, this game ranks near the top of Vanderbilt football history, but it’s an 8-seed for two reasons: one, unlike some of the other miserable losses in this bracket, this was just another loss in a 2-9 season and not, say, a game that cost Vanderbilt a bowl trip. And two, as far as we know, this game wasn’t televised. The only Vanderbilt fans who had to witness this were the ones who made the trip to Gainesville.
(9) 2002: Jay Cutler loses a fight with a blue phone
*Note: Because I’m battling Lawyer Tom again, just go ahead and mentally insert “allegedly” after every sentence here. I’ll be damned if I’m typing it.
I see your 2001 season, and I raise you a 2002 season in which a 19 year old Jay Cutler, our starting QB and only hope for any sort of success on the football field, was arrested for underaged drinking, resisting arrest, and breaking a campus security blue phone for the purposes of beating someone about the head with it.
Note that this is not an argument in favor of clutching one’s pearls over the idea of a college student drinking.
No. In fact, drunken Cutler was the best Cutler, and everyone who went to VU at the same time as the Cut loved when he would show up to your party with a 2 liter bottle of Coca Cola that was at least 1.5 liters of rum (though you were perhaps less enthused when he and the entire offensive line demanded you chug from it).
No, this is about the moment that so perfectly summed up my college football fan experience as a Vanderbilt undergrad that I must paint it. In my four years at Vandy, this was our football record:
My junior year (the first 2-10 year), we at least had hope, as we had a new coach—Steve Martin sans Banjo and Arrow through Head—and a young, athletic QB from Santa Claus, Indiana. The season started... miserably. We were run out of the building at Georgia Tech (L 45-3), beat BoJo’s former employer Furman 49-18 to get to .500, and were promptly stomped 31-6 at Auburn.
Then, like an oasis in the desert, we put up a legitimate fight where the Ox Ford the river, and just lost to Ole Piss 45-38. The next week, we hung tough with South Cackalacky and only lost 20-14.
A sign of life, we all thought! Hope for the future, we claimed, whilst hugging! If we play this way next week against Empty-S-U, we can turn the season around!
And then our damned savior went and drunkenly beat someone with a campus emergency phone designed explicitly to protect women worried about violence/sexual assault when the campus got dark, got suspended (rightfully), and we lost by a point—21-20—to those bastards from Murfreesboro.
You can’t make this stuff up, people.
Which moment advances?
This poll is closed
71-13 at Florida
Jay vs. The Blue Phone