Sunday, September 25, 2005

Week 4 in review...other developments

A few things we can take from week 4 in college football:

Army: Outmanned, but never outplayed. They play with a discipline that every other team in 1-A football could learn from. They got after Iowa State and nearly beat them. Something else...Army players don't seem to celebrate after big hits and quarterback sacks. Just another day at the office. I like that. I wish that attitude were more prevalent.

USC: They seemed disinterested that first half against Oregon on the road, but when they turn it on, there's no stopping them. You almost wish that they would show up at kickoff. Perhaps all that success breeds laziness?

Georgia Tech: Speaking of not showing up...yikes.

Kentucky: If you're a Big Blue fan, you hope AD Mitch Barnhart has his short list ready to go. What I wonder is, who wants this job? Toughest single division in the country in the SEC East. For those three people who don't know, that includes Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and yes, undefeated Vanderbilt. Kentucky's fanbase deserves better from their football squad, which ought to tell you something. Kentucky fans are notoriously obnoxious and delusional, and yet I feel for them in this case.

Ohio State: Their 31-6 thrashing of Iowa will again have the Buckeye faithful dreaming of another national title. Not happening, but why let little old me rain on their parade? Michigan State will take care of that on its own on October 15.

Louisville: Thanks for trying, guys. See you next year. FYI, if you wanted tickets to upcoming Card games, follow the massive crowd of people jumping off their bandwagon. Seriously. They're available and getting cheaper daily.

Minnesota: Congrats to Glen Mason for beating Purdue in double-OT. That thing on your back? It's a bullseye. Good luck running the gauntlet. Great smile, though.

Michigan: I called this one accurately. My buddy Jason called me from Nashville and told me that he was looking forward to seeing Michigan against Vandy in the Music City Bowl this year. My response? The way they're playing, they'd be lucky to get there and even then Vandy might whip them. He agreed. Poor Wolverines...they won't get any sympathy from anyone in the Big Ten, where folks openly wish for "Three-Loss Lloyd" to stay on permanently.

Alabama: I'm not ready to anoint them just yet. They could not put Arkansas away until late in the game, and Brodie Croyle looked average at best. They're going to have their hands full with Florida this week.

Vanderbilt: All three of you who read this blog know that this is my team, and this is our year. Yes, we're 4-0 for the first time since 1984. Yes, our quarterback Jay Cutler is all-world and drawing more accolades by the day. Yes, I'm excited as can be about our season, for it looks to be "our year".

That said, I'm convinced that we may be the worst undefeated team in the country right now. Our wins are over Wake Forest, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and 1-AA Richmond. If you're curious, go and look up their records. They're awful. Now, in the past Vandy couldn't even beat the patsies on their schedule, so in that way we have turned the corner. We're beating the teams we should beat.

Still, we gave up something like 350 yards of offense to Richmond. They moved the ball at will down the field in the first half, coming away with only 6 points on their first 4 possessions due largely to their own incompetence (penalties, red zone inefficiency). Between the 20s, we did not stop them effectively. Forgive me for wanting better defensive performance against a 1-AA opponent.

We also drew over 50 yards worth of penalties, which is nothing in the grand scheme but over twice as many as our per-game average to that point. Vandy is consistently the least-penalized team in the SEC, which I attribute to superior coaching during the week. There's no good reason to get lazy against the patsies. Against the cream teams still left on our schedule (Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU), we cannot afford any mistakes if we're going to pull out an upset.

Offensively, Jay Cutler threw the ball downfield at will, and only two of his incompletions were his fault. The rest were dropped balls by receivers, including 3 or 4 by Erik Davis. It's also nice to see Cassen Jackson-Garrison and Jeff Jennings shoring up the ground game and giving us a decent running attack for the first time in a long time.

Now, I couldn't be in Nashville for this one, but I did rig up my wife's laptop on the coffee table for the radio broadcast while we watched other games on mute. The crowd for the Vandy-Richmond games was over 38,400! If you've followed Vandy football for any period of time, you know that this is remarkable. The stadium only holds 40,000, and by now we're used to the opposing team putting more butts in the seats than the Black and Gold. Last night, that was not the case. The crowd was LOUD on the radio, and I hear that they were into the game all night long. That's so awesome. I never thought that I would see the day that we would get that close to a sellout against a 1-AA opponent. Hats off to Vandy's marketing people, the Nashville public, and the boys on the field for packing them in.

This week, we are playing Middle Tennessee State University, a joke of a program whose only contribution to 1-A football has been two victories over Vandy back in 2001 and 2002. That is ALL these clowns have to hang their hat on. They can't draw flies, so their athletic department had to petition the NCAA to ease off attendance minimums so they could stay 1-A. When that wouldn't work, they set up a game in Nashville against Louisville that would count in their attendance figures. Can they sell out a 68,000 seat facility in Nashville better than their own 30,000 seat stadium in Murfreesboro? No, but they know that folks in Louisville will drive three hours and park their butts there. It'll be like another Louisville home game, while Middle gets to stave off demotion to 1-AA for another year.

If you can't tell, I can't stand Middle. Their football players were DEAD LAST in the NCAA's first survey of academic performance and graduation rates. Their fans are obnoxious for having never tasted any kind of success, but they beat Vandy several years ago and that made them world-beaters. Come on. I remember back when Temple came to Murfreesboro in 2003, fresh off the Big East's decision to kick them out for their sorry showing year in year out. Temple. They beat Middle. Hell, everyone's beat Middle. Vandy's all-time record against Middle is something crazy like 14-2. Those two wins came recently, and so Middle fans hold onto them like crazy because let's face it, the outlook for Middle athletics is pretty bleak.

I thought Ohio State fans had an inferiority complex. Buckeyes, meet the Blue Raiders. At least you've got degrees that people respect. Nobody outside of Tennessee's ever heard of Middle or even cared. And their fans know that, which is why they put on the brave face and talk so much smack.

Yes, I'm openly rooting for Vandy to pound Middle prison-style and destroy the last shred of credibility there is in Murfreesboro.

Whether you realize it or not, I have a more genteel side to me than just writing about football and openly scorning a glorified middle school in Murfreesboro, TN. My wife's birthday is coming up soon and I'm taking her out for her birthday tonight. We're going to one of those old-money steakhouses where everything is expensive, a la carte, and oh so tasty. My plans to get her to the Golden Corral were thwarted. Oh night a year, I can put on a better front for her sake.

Marriage is a good thing. My single buddies wouldn't admit it, but they would trade with me if they could.

One last thing...I'm not going to go to great lengths to beg people to come and read my blog. It is what it is...a guy writing about college football and whatever else comes to mind. Still, it would be cool for this to be interactive. If you read something that you like, or that pisses you off, drop me a line. Let me know what you think. If you were educated at Middle Tennessee, find someone who can write and let me have it. Thanks in advance.


Anonymous doreman97 said...

Well, add me to the list of people who've checked out your website.

As for the dinner- Golden Corral? That's too rich for my blood. Try Krystal- the grease keeps you full longer!

I didn't hear that about the middle-Louisville game. That's just sad.

2:02 PM  

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