Friday, May 15, 2009

Vanderbilt football picked for the cellar again — and Commodore fans should stop whining about it

Chris Low came out with his post-spring SEC power ratings today, and Vanderbilt is No. 11.

He writes: "It's hard to say with conviction that Vanderbilt's passing game will be appreciably better in 2009 than it was a year ago, and the Commodores were pretty woeful throwing the football last season. Losing receiver Justin Wheeler to a serious knee injury in the spring was a big blow, making it more critical than ever that Terence Jeffers is eligible in the fall."

Read the comments below Low's post and you'll notice the unusually vocal Vanderbilt fan base. OK, three guys. They're angry at Low. How dare he pick Vandy below Auburn and Tennessee? Didn't he notice that Vanderbilt finished tied for fifth in the conference last season?

I'm not complaining. Look, we're supposed to be picked last in the preseason SEC polls. Last season, we barely become bowl eligible and it's our greatest season since the first Reagan administration. Auburn and Tennessee miss bowl eligibility by one game and have their worst seasons perhaps ever. Those teams are loaded, and they will be back very, very soon. As for Vandy, well, we're kind of new at this.

I guarantee you Bobby Johnson's pleased as punch to start the season in the cellar, or a single rung ahead of where we were this time last year. And he's even helped us stay in the pre-season cellar by doing the following:

• Not naming a starting quarterback after spring practice, and especially not naming Larry Smith the starter.
• Not talking about the new no-huddle offense or the fact that it's tailor-made for Larry and our lean, athletic offensive line.
• Keeping everybody in the dark about Terance Jeffers' academic status.
• Not talking about the fact that more than half of the 30 fastest guys on our team haven't even played a snap yet.
• Keeping up the "Aw, shucks, we know we're in a fight just to stay where we are" routine.

And he's right. He's still got the least amount of talent of anyone in the SEC. I dare you to dispute that. Even Miss State, Low's No. 12 team, is loaded with athletes. For example, with all our talk about our great freshman running backs, if we had Anthony Dixon instead of Jared Hawkins, we wouldn't be talking about them. And if we had the recruiting class that State did this year, we'd be talking about winning a national championship.

But without a doubt, we're getting better talent than ever before, and most importantly, we're doing more with it. Johnson and his staff spot kids that fall under the recruiting radar, make sure they can handle Vanderbilt's academics, then sign them, slap on a redshirt and send them straight to the training table and the weight room. Then they coach them up and a year later they're ready for the big time. You know, guys like Chris Williams and Jay Cutler and now guys like Thomas Welch and Chris Marve.

So don't fight it. Let Low lament the loss of a wide receiver (Wheeler) who had less than 200 receiving yards last season. Let him and the rest of the media think our quarterback situation is up in the air. Let them think we can never replace D.J. Moore. And most of all, let the other teams in the SEC circle Alabama and Florida and even Ole Miss on their calendars.

You're dang right we're in the cellar. And I'm glad. When teams come down there to play us, they won't know what hit them.


even more anonymous said...

Under the radar is the best place for us to be right now. Of course, that'll all change after the first major upset. Which will come on September 12 at LSU.


It could happen, which of course would be sweet and would bring to two the number of SEC teams Bobby hasn't beaten yet (Florida and Alabama). And if it does happen, everybody will go crazy about us like they did after the Auburn game last year and then the real work will begin.