It was the perfect storm (almost literally): firestorms in southern California, new-found residence of Mark, and the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Examination (i.e., the "ethics" part of the Bar Exam) for Diezba.
And it all meant that Star & Stripe took a bit of a backburner to the pressing concerns of the real world (life-and-death scenarios out on the West Coast, and informed, written consent scenarios down South).
But, thanks to a refreshed staff and the sanguine outlook for the recovery of Mark's computer, the Vanderworld's favorite alumni-fan-written sports news and commentary blog is back -- and just in time.
Our most recent article opined that the football "season [hung] in the balance" against Miami of Ohio, and I still believe that we were right to say that it did. As so many have stated since that game, it was a classic opportunity, an almost textbook example, of how Vanderbilt's nascent bowl hopes should have ended.
But they didn't.
And that, in and of itself, is a declaration that should echo resoundingly throughout Commodore Country. In a situation where Vanderbilt's key players were injured, a huge victory the week before set the team up for distraction and let-down, and where our offense seemed constitutionally-incapable of putting together any sort of drive, we somehow came from behind to win a very loseable game by two touchdowns. And we did it by running the ball straight down their throats.
It was amazing to watch.
The next game, against Florida, certainly was neither amazing or fun to watch. But what was good to see was that unlike the Auburn game earlier this year, our men did not simply lie down and give up. After Bobby Johnson told them, at half-time, that they had to come back out and fight for their pride and dignity, they did just that.
And though the final score was still ugly, the Commodores continued to fight through to the bitter end. It is my hope that these sons of Vanderbilt will continue to reflect upon where this season rests on this Thursday in Week 10: a 5-4 overall record -- and all the hopeful possibility that such a record entails.
As we look forward to Kentucky this week, we still have 3 games to come up with 1 (or 2) wins. And all three games are legitimate possibilities, even Tennessee.
The football season remains very much in play, and it won't be until the very last game -- against Wake Forest -- that the Commodores will know for absolute certain what will happen (if anything) after the season is over. One thing is for certain: the fact that Bobby Johnson has this program in the position that every game still counts, even this late in the season, is something of a herald for the improvements he has wrought in his six years on West End.
Of course, football isn't all there is to talk about. Because this weekend, after something of a rough start (yeah, I'd call a one-point win over Division II Tusculum College -- only 20 minutes from my hometown in rural East Tennessee! -- something of a rough start), Memorial Magic returns to Nashville with the Austin (let's go) Peay Governors visiting The Fenway Park of College Basketball for our season opener.
We have been somewhat -- well, more than somewhat -- football-focused here on S&S, but that was because we were in football season, and let's face it, as someone who grew up in Tennessee, it's difficult for me not to worship at the altar of college football.
But Mark and I both are four-year Memorial Maniacs, and we have just as much passion for Black-and-Gold Basketball as we do for football (and I, for one, as a kid who grew up in East Tennessee, and thus exposed to the "Lady" Vawls, have something of a passion for women's basketball, too). So you can expect increased coverage of basketball here on S&S; we'll be posting our "The Schedule" for those two sports soon.
In the meantime, we've got a lot happening this Saturday: football continues to balance precariously on the edge of hope and fear, and basketball is about to get this party started.
These are exciting times on West End, and I have to echo our marketing slogan: it's good to be Gold!