In the heat of the mid-summer pre-season, college-football-prediction magazine release, Vanderbilt withered, at least on paper, in the glaring eye of the national sports media.
The Dores, they said, would be rebuilding, and it would be back to a "typical" Vanderbilt season with maybe 2 or 3 wins.
Nobody told the Men in Black (and Gold) on West End.
They started their season with three straight wins, tying their best season start since 2005, the year when Vanderbilt all-star turned NFL Bronco Jay Cutler led the Commodores under center.
Now the air in Music City has turned a bit cooler, and it is finally starting to feel like football-playing weather. With the cooler temperatures comes a dose of reality for the Vanderbilt football team.
This week, the Vanderbilt Commodores are ranked No. 26 by the Associated Press, and the glaring spotlight of national (and even international, see below) attention is focused on the 'Dores as they prepare for the Ole Miss Rebels.
Here's what's making news in Commodore Country:
T. Kyle King picks VU to beat Ole Miss with a line so good, it deserves a full quotation: "Typically, when naval officers go on the road to tangle with Mississippians who lack respect for authority, the result is a win for the visitors after a hard-fought battle" (he also has a must-see collection of the past 9 UM-VU margins-of-victory -- average? 6.78 points).
Warner Russell wants Ole Miss fans to quit whining when they lose to teams like Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt baseball starts fall practice today, and CBS Sports is all over the McGugin press release.
T. Kyle King ranks Vanderbilt at No. 5 in the SEC, and reminds his readers that the Commodores are still tied for first in the SEC East.
David Mooney swears he won't take anything from VU in explaining his Owls' loss, but then goes right ahead and does it anyway.
The AP story about the Commodores' No. 26 ranking gets that international coverage I was talking about in the International Herald-Tribune (it's published in Paris, you know).
Chris Low tells us why the Rebels need Defensive end Greg Hardy for the game against the 'Dores this Saturday (two words: Chris Nickson).
Junior24 tries to keep people off the Broncos bandwagon by calling Jay Cutler a "smart-Ivy League-Commodore-diabetic" (some funny stuff).
The people at Athlon Sports prove, once again, that they dislike Vanderbilt by saying that we "survived" our game against Rice (meanwhile, they say that Ole Miss "took care" of Samford -- even the Rebs-people are disappointed with UM's performance).
Reno Gold informs us that Vanderbilt is the only winning-record team that's 3-0 against the spread; sadly, Temple is also 3-0 against the spread, but they've only actually won one game.
Justin Hokanson ranks the Commodores at No. 7 in the SEC behind Yew Tee (I still think we're better than the Vawls right now).
Chase Parham has both his eyes on Oxford this Saturday (and says we should, too).
Chris Low keeps VU ranked No. 6 in the SEC, and I agree.
Jack Gonzo ranks VU at No. 18 in the country, and he thinks that D.J. Moore is the first serious defensive contender for the Heisman in years (don't know how much legitimacy we should give this guy, but hey -- he scratches our backs, we can scratch his).
Jarred Amato has some aggregate Vandernews on MrSEC.com.
Parrish Alford has some Ole Miss scouting, and he should: he's the Daily Journal beat writer for the Rebs.
Soda Pop says the Dores are going bowling, making Commodores everywhere cringe.
The end is near, because VU is (1) undefeated, and (2) close to a national ranking.
Ole Miss strong safety Fon Ingram was suspended, due to being arrested for drunk driving (recall that Jay Cutler got to sit out 3 games one year for an equivalent offense).
Vanderbilt Women's Basketball released its 2008-09 schedule, and they're on national television at least four times (this is way up, isn't it?).
Jeff Frank rains on our parade when he tries to justify how Vegas got the spread so wrong in the Vanderbilt-Rice game (Rice + 8.5 was the line -- actual margin was 17 points).
Parrish Alford has details on the DUI and finds out that Coach Nutt takes the 'Dores very seriously.
Don Yates records a mutual admiration society moment between Coach Johnson and Coach Nutt (you know, Nutt's only 1-1 against Bobby -- I'd take him seriously, too).
Maurice Patton has a great look at some otherwise-overlooked statistics that help us understand how successful the Dores have been thus far.
David Brandt pines for Hardy with the rest of Ole Miss Nation.
Jim Mashek records that VU is "real football" according to comments by Coach Houston Nutt (in what must have physically hurt him and other Ole Miss people to think, let alone say).
Brett Hait has an in-depth look at the second-half surge that's been so talked about of late.
Marlon Morgan notes that Rebels QB Jevan Snead hasn't been sacked yet (let's hope that changes this Saturday).
Marlon Morgan also adds to the pining for poor Greg Hardy.