Thursday, November 13, 2008

Naval Intelligence: Football still looking to bowl, women's hoops picked to win SEC

The Vanderbilt Commodores (5-4, 3-3 SEC) will take on the Kentucky Wildcats (6-4, 2-4 SEC) this Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexginton, before a national television audience on ESPN2. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. central.Photo by Vanderbilt Athletics.
As Commodore fans take a look at their team's remaining football schedule, it's hard for them not to have that sickening "we've-been-here-before" feeling. Only we haven't.

Vanderbilt has never had a collapse quite as bad as this. Remember one of those glory stats from the beginning of the year? You know, the one about the first 5-0 since 1943 and the first full-season 5-0 since 1941? Well, neither Vanderbilt team in those years finished with 7 straight losses.

In fact, it is literally impossible for any Vanderbilt team to end as disasterously as this Commodore team has the chance to do: we've only been playing 12-game schedules in this century (i.e., the twenty-first).

I do not believe that even the Vanderbilt Commodores can fail at every game. I do not believe that we will undergo such a massive collapse that it would surpass all the years of ignominity that we have experienced in our 118 years of football to finish this season, this year at 5-7. I believe that Vanderbilt can do it. I really do.

That's not what's making news in Commodore Country, but it ought to be (also, starting with this week's NI, we're going to be dividing stories by sport):

FOOTBALL

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes talks a lot about the number I refuse to say, at least until we attain it.

Looking ahead, the Yew Tee game will be on Ray-Com, making it a daytime game (where we're currently 0-3).

Why in the world can't we start Nickson (after all, if Mac Adams is hurt, and we're going to start Nickson against Tennessee, let's just do it already).

The AP is confident that Vanderbilt's defense will be well-prepared for Kentucky's breakout freshman quarterback (wish I could be, too).

Tony Barnhart digs up the following stat: 0-17 (Vanderbilt's record when playing for bowl eligibility since 1982 -- an ugly stat for sure, but hey Tony, that's one ends up with when one hasn't been bowling in 26 years).

Maurice Patton analyzes how VU will respond to UK's freshman quarterback Cobb (hint: not well, since Vanderbilt players are comparing him to the Mississippi State and Florida quarterbacks).

More ugly stats to help us weep, wail, and gnash teeth as we prepare for the trip to Lexington.

Ron Higgins says Vanderbilt is in "the desparate" stage for bowl eligibility (hard to believe we still have 3 winnable games, isn't?).

Derrek Forest helpfully points out that Chick-Fil-A Bowl reps will be at Commonwealth Stadium this Saturday (for UK, not us).

I bet Phil Fulmer is glad he has two weeks to prepare for those mighty Vanderbilt Commodores.

Maurice might have been trying to stir up trouble with his headline (after all, if they're putting the hit in the past, why make that the highlight of your story?).

Ron Higgins doesn't want Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl, because he doesn't think Commodore fans will travel (umm, excuse me, but we haven't been bowling in 26 years -- we're going to go wherever no matter what -- it's not about winning the bowl, it's about going to the bowl).

The Sports Network has a bit more of an optimistic outlook about the Kentucky game than I do.

Caleb Hannan says that Dudley Field will be the site of the Apocalypse come Saturday, November 22 (probably the funniest article he's written all year).

Maurice puts the 'Dores on the couch to figure out the psychology behind we can't get the [> 5 but < 7] win syndrome from which the Commodores are suffering (you know, we do have a Psychological Counseling Center: maybe we should send our team to see the good doctors).

More psychological analysis, this time from David Boclair (one just hopes that we keep that confidence if we lose on the Bluegrass).

Jamie Graham is still out for the Kentucky game (and so is Mac Adams, probably).

Brett Dawson liked Rich Brooks' quote about Vanderbilt being "geeked up" for their game against the Wildcats (I don't think coach meant it as an insult, but if we can use it for motivation, then by all means let's do so.

Jake makes the case for keeping Bobby Johnson over at Save the Shield, since PhilipVU94 is continuing his football boycott ('til football is bowl eligible).

PhilipVU94 ranks the SEC, keeping the 'Dores at no. 8 (where I have them, too).

Jesus Quintana may get his wish, since Mac Adams is probably too injured to start against the Wildcats (but weren't we all advocating for Mac earlier this year?).

The Burglar and the WYW team still think we're bowl-bound, and I needed their optimisim to keep from getting depressed.

Burglar also analyzes UK and VU stats from the season thus far (with a really cool spreadsheet).

Vanderbilt's defense, who faced current Heisman-winner Tim Tebow against the Florida Gators, must match up against another mobile, athletic quarterback in Kentucky's Cobb.Photo by Vanderbilt Athletics.
Marv divines our odds of getting to that number, our average chance of winning at least one: 58.34% of getting at least 1 win (that's change I can believe in).

Stanimal is apparently frustrated with football, and takes the Vanderfan's traditional solace from such woe (i.e., basketball).

BASKETBALL

Jerry Tipton previews the SEC Men, and he says the 'Dores have a shot at the Dance (though he doesn't think we'll actually make that shot minus Shan Foster).

John Zenor leads off with a great Stallings quote in his analysis of the SEC (I'm starting to think the press really like KeSt (doesn't have the same ring as "BoJo" does it?)).

Athlon says VU's men will finish 4th in the East, with only A.J. Ogilvy getting any pre-season love.

Teresa Walker reminds us that our Women are pre-season favorites to win the SEC outright, and not just the Tournament.

Charlie Creme apparently thinks he knows more than the coaches, when he says they were wrong to pick the VU women to win the SEC (he does look a little awkward in his picture, doesn't he).

Mike Organ's best headline is this? Come on, Mike. You can do better.

BASEBALL

David Boclair notes that Tim Corbin is at it again: you know, recruiting the nation's best baseballers to come to Nashville (I can't wait for baseball!).

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