For me, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: for the first time since I was born (in 1983), the Vanderbilt Commodores are bowl eligibile. The question on the minds of Commodore fans is no longer "if," but "where." There's also the issue of a certain "University" to the East with whom we have an athletic contest scheduled this weekend in Nashville.
And that's what's making news in Commodore Country:
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes has a great piece analyzing our bowl chances with reference to each specific SEC bowl tie-in from BCS on down (he says Chick-Fil-A if we win out and Liberty if we don't).
Dimon also has a handy analysis of all the bowl eligible SEC teams' possibile post-season destinations (including their current rank, several pundits' bowl predictions, and Dimon's own bowl predictions -- great stuff).
Dimon sees BoJo 'playing to win' by putting D.J. Moore on offense, arguing that you should always find a way to get the ball to your best athlete.
PhilipVU94 is back (hooray), and he takes a look at reaction outside Commodore Country (and there's some particularly inspiring ink being spilled on the topic of the Commodores comeback).
One of the blogs Philip cites is an Auburn gentleman who sends congratulations our way.
There's also this post which, despite its profanity, did give rise to a chuckle with it's take on BoJo holding his hand up at Commonwealth Stadium (not to mention a great B.O. (Barack Obama, not Body Odor) reference: "Can we go to a bowl," he asks; "yes, we can," he responds).
Finally, Philip points us to a particularly poignant piece by Matt Zemek, who got my tear ducts acting up again.
Philip's buddy Jake has more in-depth speculation about where the 'Dores will be headed after Christmas -- to play football! (That's right, we're still celebrating it here at S&S).
Philip has a run-down of punditry's collective (conventional) wisdom about where we'll end up for our bowl (best: Chick-Fil-A, CBS; worst: Music City, CFN).
Philip takes us down a memory lane of sorts looking at our expectations for the Commodores at the beginning of each season (and boy, is he right: we win when we don't expect it -- or, as HeyJennySlater put it last year after we beat South Carolina, Nobody expects the Vanderbilt Commodores!).
Philip looks at the various scenarios necessary for us to go to our highest bowl possible (with some self-deprecation involving an issue with the Cotton Bowl).
Cocknfire has a great piece about our game, noting that "Making history is never easy" (and Amen to that).
David Rutz tells VU to 'live it up' because they deserve it (and yes, they do).
Stanimal has a nice, feel-good piece about bowl eligibility that you should read (though I disagree that Kentucky tried to hand the game to us).
Probably one of the best Joe Biddle pieces I've ever read is currently up at the (U)Tennessean (and, just for the record, your humble author was among those who went to Jess Neely Drive in the 24-degree weather to welcome home our conquering heroes at 2:45 a.m. Sunday morning).
Maurice Patton notes that our current seniors have enjoyed more wins than any VU team since the 1972-75 squads (they had 22 wins during those 4 years; we have 20 from 2005-08, with two regular season (and one post-season!) games remaining).
Scott Ferrell chronicles the Independence Bowl executives' fretting about the fate of their game if the SEC doesn't have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill out its contractual agreements (they mention VU several times, but the bowl exec is doubtful we'll end up in Shreveport).
David Brandt, down in Mississippi, gives lots of love to D.J. Moore after his "show-stealing" performance against UK (he also congratulates us on bowling).
Rob Shaw has some love for his alma mater, giving a shout-out to the 'Dores.
David Boclair has what will probably end up being my favorite BoJo quote of the season (so good, it's worth quoting): "'I've answered about – in my estimation – 1,362,000 questions about it,' [Johonson] said. 'We've got six wins now, and we're going to try to go to seven.'" (Don't worry, coach, nobody's going to be asking number 1,362,001 -- also, there's a great line about Brett Upson being a piñata at the UK game).
Mitch Light says VU is his team of the week, despite his sarcastic aside about our offense (and yes, Mitch, we know it's not been pretty).
I agree with Jean Neuberger: Vanderbilt's spent enough Decembers in Nashville -- just say "no" to the Music City Bowl (it's not that I don't have great memories of playing at the Coliseum -- oh wait, no I don't).
Orlando sportswriter Tim Stephens declares the SEC's best coach is neither Nick Saban nor Urban Meyer -- it's BoJo (great quote: "Translation: YOU might win 10 games at Alabama.").
Darren Epps made me cry with his Whit Taylor-passing-the-torch story (it's so amazing to be a living part of Vanderbilt lore).
Matt Zemek compares life after bowl eligibility with marriage (really? somebody with access is going to have to email me the analogy so I can understand it).
Speaking of the Vawls, the AP chronicles their quarterback controversy that's bubbling up nicely, and just in time for Senior Day in Nashville (random Yew Tee joke: "Why do Yew Tee grads put their diplomas in their windshields? (beat) So they can park in handicap spaces. (rimshot)).
Ron Higgins apparently liked the Bowl Bandwagon website shennanigns the (Student-)Athletics Department put up after the UK win (it was humorous that they had it on both the VUcommodores.com and Vanderbilt.edu homepages within 5 minutes of the win).
Chris Low ranks the SEC, and we're no. 5 on his list (ahead of South Carolina and Ole Miss).
T. Kyle King ranks us no. 6, behind Ole Miss but ahead of South Carolina (I'd flip-flop that if I were him).
Gamecock Man puts us at no. 6, behind South Carolina and ahead of Ole Miss (like I suggested).
The Editorial Board of the Hustler demands that students do their part to support our newly-bowl eligible Commodores, going so far as to require that students postpone their Nashville departure so as to avoid Vanderbilt Stadium's being "overwhelmed with the hideous orange of Nashville's numerous Volunteer fans" (I agree -- an also attended both VU home games (though one was at the Coliseum -- blah) as an undergraduate).
David Rutz chronicles Chris Nickson's roller coaster season and notes that it mirrors the team as a whole (I guess he is the leader, after all).
PhilipVU94 has some thoughts on men's and women's hoops now that both teams have had their season openers (and wins!).
Stanimal has a thoughtful piece on why certain teams get such recognition despite their poor performance recently (if this piece were about football, it could easily be entitled, "Why Notre Dame has a TV contract").
Stanimal also has a good recap of the men's game against Morehead State (I agree with Stanimal that it was probably our youth that kept us close 'til the end -- also, for anyone that was there, what was the attendance like?).
Michael Compton recaps the women's first road-win at Western Kentucky (why are we playing a road game this early against such a weaker opponent?).
Maurice Patton credits the men's defense for their win over Morehead State (there's also a great picture of A.J. Ogilvy looking like a beast with this article, too).
Jimmy Boyd picks the VU men to finish no. 4 or 5 in the SEC East because of our youth (guess he missed the memo about the awesome-ness of the said youth).