Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday 17 November 2012 | 7:00pm EST
Vanderbilt Stadium (40,550) | Nashville, TN | ESPN2
Absolutely everything has been discussed this week within the VolNation. Everything except the upcoming football game.
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.
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.
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.
Tennessee 24 Vanderbilt 10
20 Nov 2010 | Vanderbilt Stadium | 37,017Recap | Boxscore | Play-by-play | Drive 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.
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.”
” 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”
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…
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.
But 1951 finally proved different. Read More…