Ah Vanderbilt, where football fan dreams go to die.
Who are they? The Vanderbilt Commodores (no relation to the group Lionel Richie previously fronted)
Head Coach: Derek Mason, 6th season 27-47 0.365
When & Where? Time TBD, December 5th, Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA.
Famous Alumni: President of Hulu – Kelly Campbell. J. Reagor Motlow, former President of Jack Daniels. Current president of American Airlines, Doug Parker. Former Presidential Candidate and billionaire H. Ross Perot, Jr. Country Music’s Dierks Bentley and Roseann Cash, and of course, Al Gore. Frankly, it’s a long list, I just picked out a few that amused me in some way.
What conference are they affiliated with? They are SEC football technically. They haven’t had a winning season since James Franklin’s last in 2013 when they went 9-4 for the second year in a row. Last year they were 3 – 9 missing out on a bowl game. The year before they lost the Texas Bowl.
Fun Fact: Wikipedia has an article on the Georgia-Vanderbilt football rivalry as if it were an actual thing. I thought that was cute.
I’m sorry y’all, I just can’t muster a bunch of hate for Vanderbilt football. We’ve played them a total of 70 times since 1893, won 58 of those meetings, tied 2 and lost 20. We beat them 30 -6 last year. Admittedly we lost to them 4 years ago, but I’m just not super concerned. Of course, in the Year of Covid I guess anything could happen, even if we are 8-2 in the last 10 games. The bad news for us is they are our last regular season opponent, so we may be pretty beat up by the time December 5th comes around. That also means they come to Athens for the last regular season game any of us could possibly see at home & in person until the 2021 season. I expect a loud, proud, masked & socially distanced Georgia fan base to show up.
Vanderbilt has lost 9 players since spring practice and they were already quite thin due to opt-outs related to that virus running amuck. Just this week they lost the starting & backup safeties to the NCAA transfer portal. They’ve previously lost starting wide receiver DJ Bolar to the portal and reserve RB JR Tran-Reno. 5 other players have opted out. On top of that, all four of last year’s quarterbacks have graduated or transferred. That would be deeply concerning to any team. Maybe it’s a good thing for them. Last year’s team wasn’t so hot, perhaps losing all this talent gives them a clean slate and players that play with a chip on their shoulder and step up?
They do have a new Offensive Coordinator in Todd Fitch who arrived from Louisiana Tech where he helped Skip Holtz lead the team to a 10-3 season last year and several winning season in a row including the Independence & Hawaii bowls the last two years.
They’ve also added Ted Roof (Georgia Tech alumni) as defensive coordinator. Most recently he was at Appalachian State as they went 13-1 last year. We last saw him as Defensive Coordinator for his Alma Mater over in Atlanta from 2013 to 2017. His tenure included the two most recent wins for Tech over Georgia. Any way you slice it, the new coordinators have accomplished more at their respective prior jobs than Vanderbilt’s accomplished with out them.
In any remotely normal circumstances, the Dawgs should be favored to win this one by a good bit. Over at Anchor of Gold, they said, “this team faces the very real possibility of going through the 2020 season without a win.” And, “Georgia – in spite of projected starting quarter back and Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman reportedly opting out of the season – probably has too much talent for Vanderbilt to overcome.” The only games they feel worse about than us is LSU and Texas A&M.
Podunkdawg’s prediction: Georgia Bulldogs 30, Vanderbilt Commodores 6 after CKS takes his foot off the gas midway through the second quarter*
Until next time…
*I never make any public predictions that involve anything less than a Georgia Bulldog victory.