Friday, October 5, 2007

Earning respect in the SEC: football has to win

Commodore Nation is sick and tired of the SEC attitude about VU -- but it's going to take football (yes, football) wins to change perceptions. Photo by Neil Brake, Vanderbilt University.
It's interesting to read through the coverage of the Auburn-Vanderbilt game today.

Everyone keeps saying, "Auburn had better be careful, or those pesky Commodores may try to pull an upset -- but don't worry, the Tigers will win."

It is almost as though the commentators know, with there being only a 7.5 spread on the line and the big win in Gainesville for the Plainsmen last weekend, that no one would take them (the writers, that is) seriously unless they give Vanderbilt token respect.

But to a man, no one really thinks that the Commodores can pull it off:

"I just can't imagine Vanderbilt going into Jordan-Hare and getting the win."

"It's difficult to envision a win against a team that beat Florida."

"Vandy won't be able to pull through."

"Offensive futility will doom the Commodores."

"Auburn struggles, but finds a way to win at home."

When it really comes down to it, people just cannot literally imagine a world where they could honestly pick Vanderbilt to beat Auburn at Jordan-Hare, regardless of what the stats say and regardless of what sort of platitudes they spout.

And frankly, it makes me angry.

I am so tired of the "pat-on-the-head" that the other SEC teams give to our coaches, our team, and our players.

People in conversations with me this week were seriously debating why Vanderbilt should be kicked out of the SEC. They wanted to lose their biggest baseball team, one of their best men's and women's basketball teams, their best tennis and golf teams, and their only legitimate non-degree-factory academic University in favor of people like Southern Miss or Louisville.

That's right, I said Southern Miss!

And how many SEC championships did we win last year? At least 3 that I can remember right off the top of my head (baseball regular season and tournament championships and the women's basketball tournament championship -- not to mention some of the future-revenue sports I'm probably forgetting).

And of course, we also won our first national championship (though admittedly, it was in the much-disrespected sport of women's bowling, but still).

No matter how good we are in other sports, people in this conference, which I love so dearly (but hate just as fiercely) are not going to respect Vanderbilt (athletically, at least) until we have a winning season and get to a bowl.

Until then, we have to put up with the indignity of dutifully forcing a smile when they smugly pat us on the head and say, "Nice, Van-duh-built," like we're some sort of mutual conference pet. And it irks me to no end.

But with all that said, we have a great opportunity to nip some of that crap in the bud this week in central Alabama, when we go into the heart of SEC haughtiness and see if we can't tame the Tigers of Auburn.

1 comment:

PhilipVU94 said...

I'm sorry I missed this post until now, and I'm glad you linked it from your Saturday in-game post.

You're absolutely correct about the condescension. I guess it's progress of a sort that we've matured from "Poor old Vandy" to "Vandy can beat you on any given day if you're not careful," but it's still annoying.

I'm not sure I would call VU the "only legitimate non-degree-factory academic University", although maybe you mean something different by that than I do. UF and UGa in particular have made great strides, though they're not yet in that top public tier with Michigan, Texas, Chapel Hill, Berkeley, etc. I don't think they're degree factories and frankly, I wish UTK, Bama, Auburn, LSU, etc. would emulate those two.