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Tennessee-Vanderbilt Preview: The Game as a Mere Distraction

Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday 17 November 2012 | 7:00pm EST
Vanderbilt Stadium (40,550) | Nashville, TN | ESPN2

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Absolutely everything has been discussed this week within the VolNation. Everything except the upcoming football game.

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A Second Chance Not Wasted: Vols Survive Vandy

Tennessee  27  Vanderbilt 21 (OT)
17 November 2011 | Neyland Stadium | ATT: 91,367
Recap | Boxscore | Play-by-Play | Drive Chart
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Archibald Barns returned a Tyler Bray pass 100 yards for a touchdown. Eric Gordon returned a Jordan Rogers pass 90 yards for a touchdown.

That’s the kind of night it was at Neyland Stadium in one of the most memorable Tennessee-Vanderbilt games in a generation or more.

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For the Record: Week 11

For the record…

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Is Vandy Still Candy for Tennessee?

Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday 19 November 2011 | 7:00 pm EST
Neyland Stadium (102,455) | Knoxville, TN | ESPNU/ESPN3.com.

Last week against Kentucky, Vanderbilt enjoyed its biggest SEC win in 40 years, a 38-8 thumping of Kentucky. Vandy did it despite squandering three different scoring opportunities in the first half, but also in part by holding the Wildcats to an 0-11 mark on third downs. That, of course, is perhaps more of a measure of how bad Kentucky was/is.

Nonetheless, in 11 months, head coach James Franklin has done more for Vandy football than anyone in decades. Perhaps keeping Franklin from being lured for a better gig is the school’s biggest near-term goal. But, based on Franklin’s premise that he’s in Nashville to thoroughly change a culture, perhaps he will be around a lot longer than Vandy fans fear, or Vol fans would care for.

If he defeats Dooley’s Vols, I would vote for Franklin to be SEC Coach of the Year, because after going 2-10 for two consecutive seasons, a bowl appearance would be an award-winning performance at a school more known for sports like cross-country running and baseball.

Tennessee and Vanderbilt — two programs seemingly heading in opposite directions. But things can turn on a dime. A Vandy loss on Saturday could lead to another at Wake Forest, putting the renaissance on pause. A Vol win on Saturday, followed by a streak-extending victory in Lexington, would send Tennessee bowling, and a win in a bowl game would give Dooley an even .500 record as the head of the Volunteers.

People would all of a sudden breathe a lot easier, most notably Dooley himself.

But before getting ahead of ourselves, here are a few things I’ll be looking at on Saturday.

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Calling All Seniors to be Leaders

In-state enemy, the antithesis everything Tennessee, comes to town for Senior Day.

Vandy, at 5-5 this season, hasn’t won a road game.

Tennessee, at 4-6, hasn’t defeated an SEC school.

Sounds like an even game.

It doesn’t feel like it.

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Underdog to Underdogs

If you want to know the current situation of Tennessee Volunteer football, look to Vegas.

Vandy opens as a one-point favorite against the Vols this Saturday.

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It’s Back to the Slaughterhouse

Saturday’s respite from SEC warfare was a welcome one — a nice break between conference juggernauts. The word ‘between’ is the problem. It connotes a temporary state, beckoning the inevitable.

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Like Brothers

Ben and Luther took their Monday lunch like most Mondays, at the Cracker Barrel where the Cosby Highway meets I-40, just a couple of miles south of downtown Newport. The topic of conversation was pretty much what it always is, on Monday or any other day – Tennessee Vols football.

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It’s a Good Thing We Played Vandy

Tennessee 24  Vanderbilt 10

20 Nov 2010 | Vanderbilt Stadium | 37,017

RecapBoxscorePlay-by-playDrive Chart

I’m going to resist temptation and not get hopping mad. We won, even though we played a horrible second half. It wasn’t pretty, and at times it was pure infuriation. But, we won.

I suppose it is a sign of improvement when we can get upset with how we play when we win – we’ve moved on from just hoping for a win against anybody. But it was troubling nonetheless.

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Vandy is Candy

Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee | 20 Nov 2010 | Vanderbilt Stadium/Dudley Field

7:30 pm EDT | CSS / ESPN3.com

Vandy’s entertaining head coach Robbie Caldwell summed up the state of his 2-8 Commodores quite succinctly:

“We haven’t been creating turnovers defensively, we haven’t moved the ball until right here recently offensively. Unfortunately our bright spot has been our punt team. That’s the one thing you don’t want to have showing good signs.”

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And that was a d*mn good answer :)

So the TV crew is interviewing fans during pre-game festivities about their thoughts on the Tennessee / Vanderbilt rivalry.   A gentleman dressed in black and gold made the following comment:

” the Vandy UT rivalry is all about pride. And about what is best for Tennessee.. and shows the best for Tennesse”

And a gentleman dressed in Orange standing next to him replied:

“And that was a damn good answer”

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“Same Ol’ Vandy” Has a Double Meaning

The lovable Commodores bring their 2-9 record and 7-game losing streak to Neyland Stadium for the 2009 season home finale Saturday night. The Vols have won 25 out of the last 26 over Vanderbilt.

Same ol’ Vandy.

That’s how the nation sees it. Typical Vol supremacy.

Tennessee fans, especially those of us who have been around a while, know that the last quarter-century W-L record doesn’t reflect what goes on most of the time when these schools meet on the field. Read More…

My Favorite Vandy-Vol Moment

What do a Kenyan-born field-goal kicker and hand-placed scoreboard letters have to do with my favorite moment from all the Tennessee-Vanderbilt games I have attended or watched on TV?

December 2, 1978. Dudley Field, Nashville. Read More…

Watch Video of the Most Important Tennessee-Vandy Game Ever

In 1926, Robert Neyland began his stewardship as the head football coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. Professor Dougherty gave Neyland the assignment: “Even the score with Vanderbilt. Do something about the terrible series standings.” Before then, Vanderbilt held a gaudy 18-2-1 record over the Vols. Neyland’s Vols performed marvelously, compiling a record of 16-3-2 against the Commodores in 21 years. Neyland’s Vols went on to an overall record of 173-31-12, while shutting out nearly half of their opponents. That’s why there is a stadium bearing his name.

It seemed though the only thing that would escape Neyland going into the 1950s as his career was winding down was the National Championship. There had been some close calls. Especially the undefeated 1938 team that finished No. 2 in the polls. And even the 1939 Vol squad that finished the regular season not only undefeated but also unscored upon – they somehow finished second as well. Tennessee came close again in 1950, losing only to Mississippi State 7-0 and finishing No. 4 in the AP poll and 3rd in the brand-new coaches poll.

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But 1951 finally proved different. Read More…

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