Excitement is in the air on West End.
The festive "Commodore Quake," the Homecoming pep rally and concert for undergrads and alums (plus Nashvillians who get left-over tickets), apparently went off well (and apparently without any annoying political chatter).
The annual Top Ten Outstanding Seniors have been selected, and voting for Most Outstanding Senior is closed.
Student organizations, fraternities, sororities, and others are putting the finishing touches on their Homecoming Parade floats, and the parade will start on Kensington Place at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (and then wind its way down 24th Avenue South, Vanderbilt Place, and 25th Avenue South.
But the excitement isn't just anticipation for the big reveal at halftime (when the Outstanding Senior is announced). For the first time in a long time, the Vanderbilt homecoming game matters.
As everyone who hasn't been living on the planet Mars knows, if the Commodores can get (say it with me) their sixth win, then they'll be bowl eligible for the first time in 26 years. A quarter-century. The ugliest record yet to fall in a season of falling-ugly-records.
That's what's making news in Commodore Country:
Geoff Hutchinson riffs on the theme our SEC opponents have been saying about us, this time with a verse about Duke.
Bobby O'Shea has an outstanding preview of the Homecoming Game against the Devils (with an evil commenter invoking the specter of SOV).
Stanimal explains why this game is make or break (even more so than all the other "make or break" games we've had this season -- and I agree with him, wholeheartedly).
Vandy holds steady at no. 5 in most SEC Power Poll Rankings, including PhilipVU94's (also in our rankings here at S&S).
The Burglar quotes Greg Blache to say that stats are for losers, but he can't help worrying about our 118th-ranked (out of 119 teams) offense (I'm sorry, but that's horrible).
Jesus Quintana dislikes D"ew"k, and he is not alone in Commodore Country (and no, Dookies, it's not because we got rejected; it's because we -- and by "we," I mean, "I" -- didn't want to live in a colony of the state of New Jersey).
Chris Low dares to believe, telling his ESPN audience that the 'Dores go bowling this week (and, well, he called the Miss. State upset, didn't he?).
Chris predicts a Commodore Homecoming Victory, by a score of 31-24 (so Chris is going higher than the Vegas over/under of 40-something).
Dimon Kendrick-Jones analyzes our performance in different times of day and different environments (I do think, for the first time in a long time, that we genuinely have some sort of home-field advantage at Vanderbilt Stadium this year).
Dimon also reminds us of our dismal homecoming record, which is an ugly 25-34-3 (and I have to agree with his rant about our scheduling -- I've only seen 1 homecoming win during my entire affiliation with Vanderbilt University, which is to say, since I was a freshman in fall 2001: UConn in 2002).
Greg Viverito recaps the Athens trip and gives a shout-out to S&S (and let me say for the record that if one does not have a good time in Athens, Ga., one is not trying).
The Sports Network has a break-down of the game and predicts a Commodore win, 17-9 (so Duke's either getting a safety or missing their extra point).
Jeremy Fowler says the Dores are still in contention to win the SEC East (all we have to do is beat Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Yew Tee, and Wake).
Clay Travis asks whether Duke-Vandy fans will have the highest net worth of any stadium crowd in the country this season (he thinks the only competition would be Duke-Northwestern -- you've also got to love his Vanderslogan suggestion: "Our rich girls are hot").
Stephen Dawkins predicts a Duke win, 18-23 (arguing that we've collapsed in the past four seasons, and this season will be no different).
Tony Barnhart thinks Vanderbilt will win, 24-20 (because the Commodores are undefeated at home).
Richard Pittman thinks it's an injustice that the Commodores' possible sixth win won't be on television (all the same, it'll be nice in case the unthinkable happens and the Devils go home with a win).
PICK 'EM TALLY: Vanderbilt to win, 3; Duke to win, 1.