Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Naval Intelligence: Do the VU beat reporters read S&S?

The Vanderbilt defense is currently in the Top 20 scoring defenses and Top 15 pass defenses -- good enough for 2nd in the SEC. Photo by Stan Jones, VandyMania.com.
I don't know if they do, or not, but it's funny to see stuff that we've talked a lot about on S&S showing up as articles in the Nashville (and opponents') newspapers.

Don't freak out guys, if you are reading this; if anything, since Naval Intelligence does survey your (excellent) writing on the 'Dores, it's probably just the echo chamber effect: I comment on something you write in the paper, which amplifies something else, etc., etc.

And hey, what would our daily briefing be without the hard work that y'all put together to actually get the news that I get to comment on?

So, in today's Tennessean, we learn that Vanderbilt still practices a rare media policy: in other words, Coach Johnson still keeps his practices open to the media, despite "loose lips" comments from people like Georgia Coach Mark Richt.

And interestingly, the Coaches (both Bobby J and Tubs on the Plains) talk about the impact of internet bloggers as a reason for college football's rising tide of espionage. Anyone care to comment on the wisdom of the two men, one whose practices are open and one whose practices are closed, who have the same incentives to do so (and yet one ignores them)?

Hmmm... Vanderbilt is 3-1, 1-1; Auburn is 3-2, 1-1 -- of course, they're SEC win comes against the defending national champion. I guess, when it comes down to it, I agree with (oddly enough) Coach Richt: "I think everybody is a little bit paranoid."

Both local beat writers also noticed that Vanderbilt's defense is getting national recognition: according to Maurice, the Commodores are 17th in scoring defense and 11th in pass defense -- all good enough to make us second in the SEC overall.

Maurice also notes that our last appearance on ESPN2 (which we noted yesterday) was against Florida in a 48-42 double-overtime loss that Commodores everywhere are still angry about.

In his focus on our defense, Brett Hait writes in the City Paper that Vanderbilt's five interceptions against EMU were the most in a single game since 1993 (that's the best job in fourteen years) -- and that with 10 interceptions so far, the 'Dores are ranked 10th in the country on the interceptions list.

The Defense's big performance against the Eagles meant that Commodore coaches couldn't pick a Defensive Player of the Week; instead, they gave the recognition to the whole team (so does that mean they're all going to carry the Anchor?).

The Sporting News also recognizes that great effort that the Defense has made this year, and they say that Vanderbilt faces its biggest test so far this year in the Auburn Tigers.

Honestly, I'm not sure I agree with that. Yes, the Tigers are surging after their win against Florida, and yes, we will be playing in the very unfriendly (competitively speaking, 'cause the people are really friendly) confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium. But we played Alabama when Nick Saban still had lazer-eyes in the minds of Bammers, and Vanderbilt Stadium didn't exactly have a home-field advantage back in Week 2.

Don't get me wrong; I know that Auburn is a huge test for us, we are rightly listed as underdogs as we go down to the Plains this weekend. But I don't know that qualitatively speaking Auburn is that much better than Alabama -- at least from what we've seen so far.

In the Lexington Herald-Leader, John Clay factors the SEC, and says that Vanderbilt is "the dream factor." Huh?

In the Auburn press, the Huntsville Times says that the Auburn freshmen will be called upon again to face the Commodores at home. The Times also has some Auburn game notes, including a fairly comprehensive injury report.

Before we get to VandyMania and VandySports, I want to correct something that a few of you may have gathered from my posts and that one of our patient readers pointed out in a comment from yesterday. Usually at this point in Naval Intelligence, I go over the content put up by VM and VS -- and usually, my comments about VS involve something about "premium content."

Some may have gathered that I'm trying to give VS a hard time; in fact, I think that both VS and VM are great sites, and I am neutral in the VM-VS competition. See my more in-depth response in the commentary from yesterday's Naval Intelligence.

Now, on to the news. In VM, Blake Lovell talks about Vanderbilt's recent success on the road and our challenge in facing Auburn on the Plains this weekend.

Sample of Blakes thoughts: "Auburn pretty much salvaged their season with a win in Gainesville on Saturday. Looks like Auburn thrives on big road games, just like the Commodores. But home games? The Tigers haven’t looked too ferocious at home. They also hosted their first four games before heading to Gainesville, with not-so-impressive wins over Kansas State (although [K-State is] proving to be much better) and New Mexico State. [Auburn's] losses have come against a South Florida team who is now ranked sixth in the country, and a loss against Mississippi State. Not saying it will be easy by any means, but, this isn’t Death Valley the Dores are heading to."

On VS, they've put up a recap on the EMU game along with some other (great) stuff in the premium content area.

On other professional sports websites, i.e., some betting site from Central America (I think) says that Auburn is a sure bet to beat the Black-and-Gold.

Finally, the Auburn folks have some insight on the mindset of Auburn's Gator-slaying kicker, Wes Byrum. They also note that Auburn's SEC Defensive Player of the Week, Jerraud Powers, calls Earn Bennett "a flat-out ballplayer."

Pretty good description, but it also reminds us that we need to find a playmaker other than Earl, because people recognize that he is a ballplayer, as Powers says.

On to the blogs. Brandon Barca has a great post unrelated to football, but still pretty cool.

It would be great if the Vanderbilt student body could help us avoid stadium backgrounds like this when ESPN2 comes to Dudley Field for Homecoming. Photo by Neil Brake, Vanderbilt University.
On Vanderbilt Sports Line, Bobby O'Shea exhorts the Vanderbilt student body to forgo their usual "[f]rat or die" mentality for our national television appearance against Georgia for Homecoming. I hope someone from Hustler reads this (or VSL) and passes the message on in a strongly-worded and well-argued opinion piece for West End consumption.

VSL also has their Power Ranking vote for this week up. They've placed us as tied-for-8th, along with the Vawls, Miss State, and Arky.

On Who Ya With, Marv gives us his thoughts on the EMU game, and argues that "we tried to give that game away." I have to respond that I think our win despite trying to give the game away is evidence to disprove that this program, under Coach Johnson, at this point in time, has moved beyond SOV.

WYW also let's Jesus Quintana break the news about our upcoming prime-time appearance against the "George-uh... Bull-dawgs."

A new (?) poster on WYW, the Burglar, talks about Vanderbilt basketball's new recruit, Lance Goldbourne -- giving us, as he points out, the 81st and 90th best players in the country according to Rivals.com. He also vents about BlueTooth receivers using a somewhat funny Bobby Johnson analogy.

Finally, from WYW, Marv gives S&S some love by crediting us with finding that weird Belt site that we were emailed this weekend. I still don't know where that came from.

And even though we have a huge football game this weekend, we cannot neglect a post naming our's the 24th-best college basketball program in the South. Really?! Twenty-fourth? I mean, I cannot imagine that we'd be outside the Top 20, at least. What about the Top 16?

Anyway. Start doing the upset ritual, and let's get ready to head down to the Plains.

And hey -- if you're a Vanderbilt alum, register now for the Alumni Association Tailgate that will be sponsored by the National Commodore Club and the Alumni Association -- with food, beverages, and game ticket for only $70.


PhilipVU94 said...

I like the "belt" too. Here's the world soccer version, btw, presently held by Turkey. Somehow the US won that back in 1992.

Regarding the 24th ranking in b'ball -- I tried to figure out what they consider "the South", to no avail. If that includes most of ACC country, 24th doesn't surprise me a bit. Vanderbilt fans tend to really overestimate our historical footprint in hoops, because those special years like 1974 and 1993 mean so much to us. There are few SEC schools that can't point to a couple of league championships here and there. Public perception would place us probably around 8th-9th among current SEC teams, ahead of Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Auburn (although everyone at least remembers Auburn for Barkley), maybe even with Georgia (though they've been to a Final Four). It should be noted too that Florida's "tradition" only dates back to 1987, but it still blows ours out of the water.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know if they do, or not, but it's funny to see stuff that we've talked a lot about on S&S showing up as articles in the Nashville (and opponents') newspapers."

It's not like that was original content, you linked to a newspaper article. The "Nashville newspapers" you speak of probably read the Nashville City Paper article that you originally linked.

Speaking of which, what happened to the original content on this blog? It was the strength of the operation early, but most of what you guys have posted lately has been just links.

Diezba said...

To anonymous:

If you'd continued reading, you would have seen that I point out the echo-chamber effect that you're talking about. As for original content, if you'd been reading, as you said you have been, you would have known (1) that we intersperse commentary between links; and (2) that our primary original content guy -- Mark -- just moved to California. He's already started putting up some original content-only articles (see his "2000 miles away perspective" piece), and he's gearing up to put some other stuff up as well.

Doc Hancock said...

I am the guy that came up with the list of 25 of the greatest programs in the region. I actually wanted to rank them higher, but when you have all these great programs below the Ohio River, it's tough to decide where and who should be on the list. I agree, Vanderbilt's had a great basketball history, but the fact that a school with not too many NBA stars, past or current, didn't deserve to be in the top 20 as far as greatest was concerned.