Optional Musical Accompaniment
This past week is the most positive I’ve felt about Vanderbilt football for a while, and that’s saying something, considering that I’m the eternal optimist in these parts (though not the Sunshine Pumper; that’s Patrick.) 63 points?! That’s something I hadn’t even been alive for before last Saturday.
And now, we get the second game of the season: tonight’s game against the Elon Phoenix, who might be a Top 25 FCS team and might be better than Hawaii, but against whom Vanderbilt is a 19-point favorite. Of course, after the last time we played an FCS team, we’re understandably nervous, because we’re always understandably nervous, because we all follow this football program.
I don’t really have a ton of deep thoughts about this; I’m looking forward to a vacation next week. Just beat Elon. And make it look easy.
- Five for Friday at the main site
- From the Tennessean: Vanderbilt football vs. Elon: Our scouting report, score prediction
- Alamance News: Elon prepares for football opener at Vanderbilt
- The Dore Report: Elon Preview: Can The Dores Replicate Their Dominance on Saturday?
Playoff Expansion is finally happening
Yeah, that was the big college football-themed news from yesterday, a bombshell that got dropped on the first weekend of the season.
The College Football Playoff is going from 4 to 12, with automatic bids for the six highest-ranked conference champions. I have two main thoughts on this: one, this was inevitable, because as I’ve said before, four teams was both too small (because it’s still intended to be an exclusive club, not open to about 90 percent of the sport), and too big (because teams like Alabama and Ohio State can lose a game and have it not matter at all.)
Something I noticed yesterday is that from 1990 to 2005, of the sixteen teams that finished the season ranked first in the AP poll, just four took a loss during the season (Colorado in 1990, Florida State in 1993, Florida in 1996, USC in 2003.) Since 2006, over a sixteen-year period, ten teams have won a national title with a loss, and 2007 LSU lost twice. Urban Meyer has won three titles at two different schools and went undefeated in none of those three years; Nick Saban has won seven titles (counting the 2003 LSU title), and has only gone undefeated twice. What exactly are we trying to preserve here? College football hasn’t had the 11-game playoff in the regular season for a while now. These days, Alabama gets to take a dumb loss to Ole Miss or Texas A&M and still play for the title. Georgia won the national title last season after not winning the SEC championship. The days when you either had to go undefeated or have everybody take a regular season loss to have a shot at the title were already long gone.
My other thought is that college football absolutely needed to do something, because the product was getting stale. You can’t insist that the Playoff matters above all else and then also shut off 90 percent of the sport from it. (Somehow expanding the playoff reduces the meaningfulness of the regular season, as though the regular season was previously meaningful for everyone with no shot at the Playoff. But I’m probably the wrong person to talk to if you want to insist that your sports games have some deeper meaning, because I watch Vanderbilt football.)
Well, the recap of women’s golf’s day is just headline “Season Underway.” As parlagi pointed out in the comments yesterday, that’s probably the nicest thing we can say about it.
Cross country, on the other hand, did well at the Belmont Opener yesterday, with the women taking the gold and the men taking silver at Percy Warner Park.
And, Vanderbilt soccer remained undefeated and unscored upon with a 6-0 win over ETSU on Friday night.
Sports on TV (non-college football edition)
All times Central.
- 6:20 AM: EuroBasket: Belgium v. Montenegro (ESPN+)
- 6:50 AM: EuroBasket: Poland v. Finland (ESPN+)
- 7:05 AM: EuroBasket: Croatia v. Great Britain (ESPN+)
- 7:20 AM: EuroBasket: Bosnia-Herzegovina v. Germany (ESPN+)
- 9:05 AM: EuroBasket: Turkey v. Bulgaria (ESPN+)
- 9:10 AM: FIBA AmeriCup: Dominican Republic v. Puerto Rico (ESPN+)
- 9:50 AM: EuroBasket: Ukraine v. Estonia (ESPN+)
- 10:20 AM: EuroBasket: Serbia v. Czech Republic (ESPN+)
- 10:35 AM: EuroBasket: France v. Lithuania (ESPN+)
- 11:40 AM: FIBA AmeriCup: Argentina v. Virgin Islands (ESPN+)
- 11:50 AM: EuroBasket: Spain v. Georgia (ESPN+)
- 1:20 PM: EuroBasket: Slovenia v. Hungary (ESPN+)
- 1:50 PM: EuroBasket: Israel v. Netherlands (ESPN+)
- 1:50 PM: EuroBasket: Italy v. Greece (ESPN+)
- 3:00 PM: MLB: Phillies at Giants or Rangers at Red Sox (MLB Network)
- 3:10 PM: MLB: Rangers at Red Sox (ESPN+)
- 3:40 PM: FIBA AmeriCup: Uruguay v. Canada (ESPN+)
- 6:10 PM: FIBA AmeriCup: Brazil v. Colombia (ESPN+)
- 6:15 PM: MLB: Twins at White Sox or Mariners at Guardians (FOX)
- 9:00 PM: MLB: Padres at Dodgers (MLB Network)
MLB: Blue Jays 4, Pirates 0 ... Reds 3, Rockies 2 ... Orioles 5, A’s 2 ... Mariners 6, Guardians 1 ... Tigers 5, Royals 4 ... Rays 9, Yankees 0 ... Red Sox 9, Rangers 1 ... Mets 7, Nationals 3 ... Braves 8, Marlins 1 ... White Sox 4, Twins 3 ... Cardinals 8, Cubs 0 ... Astros 4, Angels 2 ... Diamondbacks 2, Brewers 1 ... Padres 7, Dodgers 1 ... Giants 13, Phillies 1.
SEC Soccer: LSU 3, Grambling 1.