Monday, September 29, 2008

ESPN GameDay in Nashville raises the stakes for Johnson, 'Dores

Some people said that "The Catch," Earl Bennett's go-ahead touchdown over Tennessee in 2005, marked the turning point for Vanderbilt, but VU had beaten Tennessee before. ESPN GameDay has never made an appearance in Nashville.AP Photo from VandyMania.com.
All season long, the Vanderbilt Commodores have been breaking records.

Here on S&S, we've been doing out best to keep this season in historical perspective, giving you analysis based upon how the 'Dores have done in the past and how they may do in the near future.

In all of our analysis thus far, we've yet to truly encounter something that has never happened in the 118-year history of Vanderbilt Football.

Well, throw the record books out the window, because these Commodores have managed a feat that none have ever accomplished before.

For the first time since its inception in 1987, ESPN's marquee television program College GameDay will be broadcasting live from the campus of Vanderbilt University.

Since Bobby Johnson's Commodores knocked off the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville in 2005, Vanderbilt fans have argued about what might signify the re-emergence of Vanderbilt as a truly competitive football team within the SEC.

Some said that it would be obvious that a bowl game would accomplish it.

Others argued that defeating Steve Spurrier's 6th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia might do it.

Still others said that back-to-back wins over two SEC teams should be a red flag to all.

All three of those things have now happened, but no one gave Vanderbilt credit. The "hump" was still there.

Now, with America's most-watched college football preview show shining its bright spotlight on the Vanderbilt football program, the argument seems settled: if Vanderbilt can win against Auburn this Saturday, going 5-0 for the first time since 1943, this year will be "the Year" that Commodore fans have been waiting for since 1982.

The stakes have just been raised.

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