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Introducing: WTF Vandy?

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The baffling moments that make us question our fandom.

If you follow us on Twitter, you’ve probably seen us post, from time to time (okay, okay, all the time) the “This Is Fine” dog. Because sometimes, it completely sums up the experience of being a Vanderbilt fan.

In the COVID-19 enforced offseason, we had the idea to do a ranking of the moments that really do sum up being a Vanderbilt fan. And then we got around to a better idea: how about a bracket, and leave it up to the readers to decide which moments sum things up the best?

WTF Vandy? isn’t necessarily all about Vandy. Some of these things, after all, were outside of anyone’s control, or at least anyone associated with Vanderbilt. But all the same, they made all of us question why we subject ourselves to this, year after year, and yet we keep coming back for more.

We initially had the idea to do a bracket of 32 moments, and then we found ourselves unable to narrow it down that much. So instead, we’ve got a four-game play-in round starting on Monday. The bracket is divided into four “regions,” as follows:

  • Baffling Decisions: The coaches of our teams are getting paid millions of dollars, and yet sometimes, they make decisions that make us fans think that we could do the job better than them. Baffling Decisions is exactly what it sounds like: the coaching calls that seemed highly questionable at the time and ridiculous in hindsight. (Note, of course, that this region also includes a couple of baffling decisions made by players. But since players typically don’t have much time to think about their decisions in the fog of war, player decisions are limited to only the most egregious errors.)
  • Miserable Losses: There are heartbreaking losses, and then there are these, the true embarrassments. These are the games where if it’s a home game, the stands are cleared out by the third quarter; or, if a road game, fans watching at home probably turned off the TV at halftime. The few hardy souls who stuck it out to the bitter end will tell their grandkids about it, and we can only hope that we’re telling them about it in the context of “you’re spoiled that we’re this good every year, but let me tell you about Woodyball.” (NOTE: we will not be telling our grandkids about it in this context.)
  • Administrative Failures: Because, let’s face it, the problems at Vanderbilt often start at the top. Hanging on to a coach for too long? Hiring a coach who has no business coaching at this level? Both have been done by Vanderbilt. And that’s not even considering the things they’ve thought about doing. This is the bracket for the things that get hammered on the VandySports.com podcast. Because, frankly, Vanderbilt’s administration deserves its own bracket.
  • Bad Luck: And then, sometimes things go wrong outside of our control. The final bracket is the grab bag of bad officiating, heartbreaking losses, and injuries that contribute to the miserable experience of being a Vanderbilt fan. These might be the most “WTF” moments, because in the other three brackets, Vanderbilt hates us. In this bracket, God hates us, or at least SEC refs.