As the leaves begin to turn in Nashville, the temperature starts to drop (better bring a jacket to Vanderbilt Stadium for that 45-degree low tomorrow), midterms loom for weary Vandykids, and Cinqs and Quinqs roam the leave-strewn sidewalks of Music City's 330-acre national arboretum in the heart of Midtown, it can mean only one thing: it's Homecoming at Vanderbilt.
As the alumni descend upon their beloved alma mater, ready to renew friendships and old ties, what used to be a side-show is now the main event: Vanderbilt Football.
And as the Commodores stand at mid-season, looking both forward and backward, there's still plenty of room for hope that this could be "The Year."
Part of the reason that the 'Dores have a chance is due to the topsy-turvy world of college football, as Brett Hait explains in the City Paper.
Of course, the Black-and-Gold may not get to take advantage of the opportunity that the SEC chaos provides, unless they can find a consistent quarterback.
The problem may be, though, that both quarterbacks seem to be about equally consistent. And that is not necessarily a compliment.
We may have caught a break or two as the Bulldogs travel to Nashville to try and wreck Homecoming: the Hustler reports that Georgia's loss of their leading rusher to injury may help; further, Bobby Johnson said that part of our defensive trouble against Auburn was because some players "started freelancing and doing things that weren’t within the [defensive] scheme."
In other words, they made mental errors, and it showed, big time.
Speaking of mental errors, the Sporting News talks Chris Nickson and Georgia Bulldog SEC title dreams (huh?) in their preview of the game.
No offense to Georgia folks, but even if y'all beat us this week, and thus keeping your Dawgs, as the piece says "in contention," I don't think y'all are going to be able to win the East. You may be better than us, but are you better than South Carolina or Florida?
In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia coach Mark Richt solemnly intones, "Vanderbilt's stout," and you know he hates saying that and having to act like he means it.
Note, too, the "shortages" that the AJC points out in the UGA scheme. I sure hope someone at McGugin saw these injury reports.
Elsewhere in the South's New York Times, AJC columnist Tony Barnhart (who didn't give VU much respect last week) says that Georgia should be on upset alert as they come into Nashville this week.
On to the pay-sites. First up, VM has their weekly slew of free content, including Blake Lovell's piece about these unpredictable Commodores.
Nik Rodewald has his weekly VM article on Commodore Keys for the Georgia game. Hint: we should try to stop their running game.
Pete Fox has his Pigskin Prognostications up on VM, and good Lord, let's hope he's wrong: he takes Georgia by 20.
Finally, on VM, they have posted a breakdown of the game with statistics, etc. One of the depressing stats? Series record: 18-48-2. Ugh.
Over on the Georgia pay-site, DawgPost.com, Josh Kendall has posted his Kendall's Keys for Georgia. Kendall also does a story on Earl Bennett, and it's interesting to get an outsider's perspective on (as he says in his website's video) "Urrrrl... Bennett."
On to the blogs.
Some cogent thoughts from Brett Hait on his NashvilleBallerz blog: "Here’s the truth: Vanderbilt is good enough to play in a bowl game this season but not good enough to overcome shoddy quarterback play. Whether it’s Nickson or Adams at the controls Saturday, one needs to get the VU offense moving again and keep this season on track while there’s still time."
Let's hope that whoever is under center can get the job done.
On VUCommodores.com, Brandon Barca takes a break from football (one imagines it must have been particularly stinging for the McGugin people to witness that Auburn loss) and has some cool pictures and a great piece on Shan Foster on his BarcaBlog.
Definitely helps some feel-good get flowin' as think about tomorrow.
On Vanderbilt Sports Line, the new VSLer "Correspondent Chris" gives us some insight into the quarterback controversy. He actually has a little new intel, so check it out.
At the Vanderbilt Tailgate, Senn SM is celebrating his tenth year as a season ticket holder by choosing the best player for each position from his ten years as a season ticket holder.
On Who Ya With, Marva reminds us that tomorrow is the day that all the washed-up frat dudes like him (don't worry, he self-identified) get to glory in legitimate tailgating with a 5 o'clock kick-off.
Let's just hope our people make it into the stadium a bit earlier than normal so we don't look quite so bad on TV.
Lastly, on the Georgia blog DawgPosts.com, MaconDawg has some bad news for Georgia that might be good news for us.