It all comes down to this game: if we win this game, then we have a chance. A real chance. To make a bowl game.
If we lose? Then it's a lot harder.
As we pointed out here on S&S yesterday, this is one of those gut-check moments when we figure out whether the win over South Carolina was for real or whether we got lucky and the Cocks were
And that's the word around Commodore Country, today, too.
According to Maurice Patton, Miami's coach thinks that now is as good a time as any to play the Commodores -- even when they're coming off a spectacular once-every-seventy-years win (or especially when we're coming off a once-every-seventy-years win?).
And he's not the only one thinking about what I'm dubbing the "MTSU-effect" -- in their weekly breakdown of the game, the Kansas City Star notes that "[t]hrough the first four games of the season, Vanderbilt had scored at least 30 points on three occasions. Unfortunately, the club has not managed more than 17 points in any of the last three outings, proof that the offense has been unable to excel against better competition."
At least that leaves room for improvement. And we'll need it to avoid the MAC-provided upset.
It should also be noted that while in recognizing the weakness of our offense, they also credit our defense with the game-winning performances this season. And it's in line with that attitude that the Spartanburg, S.C. Herald-Courier recognizes D.J. Moore, who received yet another honor today.
It won't just be the Commodores coming home this Saturday against Miami: Miami receiver Jared Elliott is a Franklin-native and grew up a Vandyfan. One can only hope his taste has remained as refined.
Brett Hait still finds time, even after a spectacular once-every-seventy-years win (yes, we'll be using that phrase a lot this week, whilst there's still time), to write player interest pieces, including this one about junior tackle David Whittington in today's City Paper.
Speaking of player-interest pieces, be sure to check out Jarred Amato's Mackenzi Adams special from the Hustler.
In the Cincinnati Enquirer, Mark Schmetzer asks whether Miami is the Vanderbilt of the North. Ummm... excuse me? With all due respect to the Redhawks of Oxford, I don't believe that we need to be comparing dear ol' 19th-ranked V.U. to 67th-ranked Miami. Public ivy, indeed.
Elsewhere, in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, we get some respect from traditional pro-Yew Tee sportswriters. I guess if the Vawls aren't doin' so hot, those upstart Commodores look a little more interesting.
In the Dayton Daily News, Pete Conrad calls Vanderbilt an unusual late-season foe for the Redhawks. I guess that means that they're supposed to get their pay-games out of the way earlier.
In the Oxford Press, the SEC gets some respect as the most dominant -- and now among the most balanced -- conferences in college football.
Finally, in the Shreveport Times, Glenn Guilbeau moves Vanderbilt from 11th to 9th in his SEC power rankings. He also has some pseduo-good things to say about Vandy.
In basketball news, Derreck Byars, the 2007 SEC Basketball Player of the Year, was released from the 76ers.
In happier basketball news, CSTV has a great basketball preview of our 2007-08 Commodores. Be sure to check it out (and learn why the media's preseason 4th-place nod is not where we should be).
On to the pay-sites, and first up is VandyMania.com, with their slew of free offerings: Nik's Commodore Keys for the Miami game; J2M's Week 7 Stunners; and an update on how Vanderbilt's opponents for this year have fared so far.
Finally, on VM, there's a great article by Blake Lovell about why coaching was the key to victory against South Carolina. And folks, considering we were going against Darth Visor, that's quite an assertion (but necessarily a wrong one).
On DawgPost.com, they let us take a look at CollegeFootballNews.com's fearless SEC predictions, and they actually credit us with the likely win (unusual for them, to say the least).
GatorSports.com says that Vanderbilt's defense is hot this week.
On FoxSports, Rich Cirminiello says that Vanderbilt is "making some noise" in the SEC East. One step closer to bowl eligibility.
On to the blogs. On Vanderbilt Sports Line, Bobby O'Shea re-posts the letter that Bobby Johnson sent to members of the National Commodore Club, season ticket holders, and the VUCommodores.com email list.
On VandyTailgate, SennSM gives us five keys to victory for the Commodores against Miami.
They also have a new contributer at VT, where Commodore Darrell gives us his view from Section J.
On Who Ya With, Jesus Quintana relays to us that post that the Orlando Sentinel gave us yesterday about how Vanderbilt can win the SEC East.
There's a fan-blog on AOL by Ryan Ferguson who says that this is one of those "must-win" games for Vandy to reach a bowl, and that "unfortunately it's games precisely like this one that the Commodores always seem to find ways to lose."
We wrap things up today with a little baseball. First, Brandon Barca has an interview with Alex Fineberg. On CSTV, we get a nice pre-season preview of the 2008 baseball season.
Finally, today, Rivals.com recognizes our rivalry with Tennessee as one of the nationa's best emerging rivalries in college baseball. Pretty cool.