Monday, November 28, 2005

Beating the Bad Guys

I have not yet publicly commented on Vandy’s thrilling 28-24 victory over Tennessee, but suffice it to say that these are good times on the black and gold reservation. Imagine your hated rival beating you so often on the gridiron that he doesn’t even consider you a rival anymore. Throw in all the close calls over the years that get your hopes up before dashing them at the end. Finally, sprinkle in the intellectual debris you have to endure from Vol fans because you dare root against Big Arrnge in a football-crazy state like Tennessee. It’s nauseating.

Now imagine going into their house and punking them in front of 105,000 of their redneck fans and the eyes of the entire nation. It feels pretty good. It won’t ever get old.

Some of you out there will argue that beating Tennessee in a down year doesn’t make Vandy special, seeing as how nearly everyone was able to do the same. I don’t buy that. Up and down Tennessee’s roster, you will find a who’s who of high school football talent that vaulted the Vols into the stratosphere of the recruiting rankings the last five years. They may not be coached very well, but there’s more talent on one side of the ball in Knoxville than there is in all of Nashville. It’s a fact. UT ought to be able to line up and blow the Dores to hell based solely on natural ability.

Next, ask Tennessee fans (slowly) how they feel about losing to Vandy. You’ll find that they aren’t very keen on losing to them pencil-necked geeks on West End, no matter how bad things get. You’re supposed to beat Vandy when you’re the flagship university in the state, oozing winning tradition, and sitting on a mountain of booster cash. That’s just the way things work. Losing to South Carolina and Florida and Notre Dame…those are the potholes in the road when you’re a football factory. Losing to Vanderbilt is confirmation that the wheels have come off altogether.

This is fun to watch.

Contrary to popular belief, Vandy isn’t a total laughingstock athletically and doesn’t have to worry about losing its membership in the SEC. Men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and the non-revenue sports are in excellent shape. Its only laggard is football, which is showing signs of life and progress under Bobby Johnson.

Of course, the only sport that matters around Knoxville is football. Football drives the gravy train and pays the freight. That’s why Phil Fulmer is willing to look the other way when his players are brawling, raping, stealing and carrying on. It’s also why he’ll take players from diploma mills and suspect JUCOs. Winning puts butts in seats. The fan base will tolerate the brawlers, rapists, and thieves as long as the Vols keep winning. They will tolerate academic fraud regardless, because most of Tennessee’s fans did not attend the school and do not value education.

Which makes it all the more special when the good guys get it done on the field. Congratulations to the Dores for beating Tennessee!

Other Notes
QB Jay Cutler again proved who the man is this season in the SEC, effectively validating the opinions of the conference coaches who named him first team all-SEC in the preseason. He led the conference with 279 passing yards per game, SIXTY YARDS PER GAME BETTER THAN THE NEXT CLOSEST QB. The media would be licking his nuts if he played for a better squad, much like they’re currently doing with Reggie Bush. NFL personnel execs are paying attention too, and he’s likely going to be the second passer picked in this year’s draft. Not bad for a signal caller with no other QB offers out of high school…

Final Thought
Doreblogger favorite Ed Orgeron, the Ole Miss coach who never recruited anyone he couldn’t whip, has been outed by Tulane as having initiated contact with Green Wave coaches in an attempt to poach their players after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Orgy is headed down the road to become one of the SEC’s worst football hires EVER based solely on his lack of professionalism and results. We all know about his first player meeting in Oxford, during which he challenged every player in the locker room to a fight while ripping off his shirt.

This, however, is pretty low. Tulane hasn’t even disbanded its football program and he’s on the prowl. Yikes. Throw in the criminal history and you’ve got a massive headache on your hands. Ole Miss faithful would rather lose with a gentleman coach than win with a boar like Orgeron. He’s not exactly burning down the win column, either.

If I’m Middle Tennessee, I would make this guy an offer tomorrow. Underperforming tough guys who butcher the English language are always welcome in Slappyville.


Blogger Tennvolchamp said...


Couple of comments (thanks for visiting my blog by the way):

1) Losing to Vandy equates to hell freezing over. Losing to South Carolina is not a pothole but rather is more like one of those Florida sinkholes where houses fall into over filled septic tanks. Not as bad as Vandy but close.

2) Knoxville does care about other sports. Lady Vol basketball has a pretty passionate following. Agreed that other men's sports are distant 3rds.

3) Insult the fan base all you want but you have to admit that having 107,000 fans to come watch a losing team play Vandy says something about tradition, commitment, etc. You'll probaby make some comment about "hunting season wasn't open" or similar but still.

4) Finally, one of my daughter's best friends mom is a Vandy grad (and lawyer). After Vandy won she called to offer to take me/wife to dinner. She wanted to start a new tradition - Vandy wins, she buys, UT wins I buy. She laughed saying she'd get the best end of that deal. I told her sounded like something an attorney from Vandy would come up with.

In the end, I thought you guys got ripped at UF on that penalty.

Good luck in bball except against good old UT.

11:57 AM  

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