Category Archives: vanderbilt

Vanderbilt Names Overflow the Pool of Unknowns

Vanderbilt players have inundated the list of the best players you’ve never seen on Yahoo! Sports. Commodore stars Earl Bennett (WR), Chris Williams (OL), and Jonathan Goff (LB) all received write-ups, as well as an honorable mention for Brian Stamper (OL).  The writer even finished up his blurb on Goff with the following statement:

The inclusion of three Vanderbilt players on this team indicates that perhaps the Commodores’ hopes of earning their first bowl bid since 1982 aren’t so far-fetched.

This is the sort of press that has me very excited about the upcoming season.  As opposed to the last 3 years, where the articles were always asking if one player could lead us to the promised land of a December/January game, we are now receiving coverage of many of our players.  It takes a full team to win in the SEC, and this year we truly have one.

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#24 Vanderbilt at #1 Florida – 6pm CST

Vanderbilt faces their toughest test of the season tonight when they make the trip to the land of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty, and several million retired people. They face a top-ranked Florida Gators team that has not lost a game since early December.

However, Florida has recently shown some weaknesses, including a near loss to a struggling Ole Miss team. Normally, this would be a glimmer of hope for the Commodores, who are rarely ever given a chance against the top of the league. However, the Gators are definitely aware of the status of Vanderbilt this season. The ‘Dores have just cracked the top 25 for the first time in several years, and are being called the “hottest team in the SEC’ by many sports analysts. So, the “bomb squad” can be assured that the Gainesville crowd and team will be as prepared as if they were playing Kentucky tonight….. well, almost.

Can Vanderbilt win tonight? Yes, they have shown the ability to win games as the underdog for the past 3 weeks. Will they? I doubt it. The ‘Dores always tend to struggle when they visit Florida. Last year, they were blown out in Gainesville, then almost knocked off the Gators on the return trip to Nashville. I feel that Vanderbilt’s chance to knock off Florida will come not tonight, but on Feb. 17th. However, a solid performance, win or lose, will keep the supporters around and keep the team’s spirits high as they work towards an NCAA tournament berth.

Do basketball Gator fans still wear jean shorts?

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Season Recap: Week 1 – MICHIGAN

To help start off this blog, I am going to do a quick recap of each game from this season, up to the present week 8. The first installment features the ‘Dores opening the year at the Big House.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend this game along with several friends, and spent a nice long weekend in Ann Arbor. I have a good friend who is a dental student there, so we crashed at his place and had the opportunity to tailgate with the dental school.

The Town: Ann Arbor is your quintessential college town, seemingly snatched out of the South and deposited in the middle of the Big 10. It is dominated by the university, with a nearby downtown area that still has the old town square feel to it. The area of course is full of bars and restaurants, which provided me a veritable smorgasbord to feast on the entire weekend. There are many small companies in the area, which I presume were mostly spinoffs from university projects, or collaborations by alumni of the school.

The Atmosphere: Seeing as students were just getting back onto campus, the general atmosphere was not as large as a normal home game weekend in Ann Arbor. It did, however, provide the opportunity for me to participate in a few of the activities of the UM freshman orientation! I’m sure I looked a little bit old to be a recent high school graduate, but I am still young enough to not get explicitly questioned. I was able to procure several pens and pencils, some free food, and checked in on some kids playing pool. My friend was wearing a Vanderbilt shirt the whole time, and only got one comment about it. Apparently the freshmen didn’t know who they were playing that weekend.

Gameday at Michigan is an exciting experience. We spent the morning at the dental school tailgate, playing cornhole and enjoying the weather. Two kids tried to kick us out of the tailgate till the realized we were guests and “paying customers.” The main area for tailgating at UM is on the school’s golf course. Although I was quite shocked when I found out that they let people drive onto their golf course, it did actually provide for a very nice experience. I believe true tailgating should always be done on grass. Cars were only allowed on the “rough,” leaving the fairways open for kids to play football, frisbee, etc.

The Game: Vanderbilt and Michigan both showed some serious rust in this game. Had Vanderbilt played more like they are currently playing, this game would have been a close affair. However, early signs of Michigan’s current dominance were evident, and Vanderbilt’s only score came off of a wide receiver pass. Final score: 27-7.

Our tickets were crammed up in the top rows of the corner along with the rest of the Vanderbilt faithful. However, we decided after the first quarter to make our way to the Michigan student section. We were greeted with cheers of “Asshole, asshole…” when we arrived, but managed to make it through the game without being pummeled with empty bourbon bottles or other projectiles. Perhaps they don’t drink as much bourbon up there…. My two favorite things about the experience were the students’ “You suck” chant for every fourth down, and the highly choreographed Wave. Apparently the high academic standards there resulted in many hours of studying to create a full performance routine of synchronized arm-lifting among 107,000 people.


Michigan student prepares weekly Wave routine.

Final Review: Great experience as a fan, and a good learning experience for the ‘Dores to face a top-class opponent in the first week.

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Homecoming Weekend

This weekend is Vanderbilt’s Homecoming.  The Commodores (3-4) will face the South Carolina Gamecocks (4-2) at 2pm on Saturday, in what should be another nail-biter.  In SEC games this season, Vanderbilt is 1-3 with the largest margin being a 7 point loss to Ole Miss.  Statistically, the Dores and Gamecocks match up very evenly, with a possible slight advantage to USC.  Hopefully the home crowd will be loud and rowdy, to tilt the scales in VU’s favor. 

The Homecoming parade will be held on Saturday morning this year, as opposed to Friday afternoon in years past.  This will provide a larger crowd on hand to watch, but will cause more problems for people coming to the game.  Various streets will be closed around 10:30 to 11:30 for the floats to pass by.  So get there early, or you might be stuck in quite a traffic jam!

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Welcome

Welcome to the Valiant Underdog, presenting you with relevant and not-so-relevant sports information, centered on the Vanderbilt University Commodores. I will try to update this blog with a summary after each sporting event that I attend or watch, along with other interesting clips that I find around the web. Some personal opinion may be thrown in also, so be prepared!

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