Sunday, September 21, 2008


The Commodores are in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1984 (not to be confused with the magical Hall of Fame Bowl season of 1982).

In the Associated Press poll, just released, the Commodores are ranked No. 21. They come in at No. 25 in the USA Today poll.

In 1984, the Commodores reached No. 19 after defeating Alabama 30-21 on the road. Earlier that season, they had gone on the road and defeated Maryland 23-14; it was the same Terrapin team that would erase a 31-0 deficit to defeat the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes, led by Bernie Kosar. Vanderbilt had also won home games against two bad teams that would later turn their fortunes around — Kansas State (26-14) and Kansas (41-6).

The 1984 ranking lasted one week. The Commodores lost at home to lowly Tulane, then lost a close one to LSU in Baton Rouge and a blowout to Georgia in Athens. Their only victory the rest of the season was at home against Ole Miss, and they finished the season 5-6. Sound familiar?

I don't bring all this up to ruin the celebration. What were the odds that this team — returning only two offensive starters, none on the offensive line — would make the Top 25 at any point this season? Not good. This is a monumental achievement for Coach Bobby Johnson. But it certainly doesn't mean the Commodores are a lock to have a winning season and go to a bowl.

"Our guys are pretty smart," Johnson told the AP today when notified of his team's ranking. "They realize it won't help you win games."

We've been here before. We were 4-0 during Jay Cutler's senior season and we finished 5-6. Do I think we can do it? Absolutely. But we're in unchartered waters, and with Auburn, Georgia and Florida looming on the schedule, the potential for moral victories remains.

Right now, though, we've got zero moral victories... and four real ones.

No comments: