Category Archives: South Carolina Gamecocks
Dude’s Note: Jason graciously stepped in for this comprehensive Vanderbilt Preview in the stead of me. His proximity to Vanderbilt football by educational affiliation made him an obvious choice.
If you haven’t seen the film Stranger than Fiction you should do yourself a favor and get through it. It’s Will Ferrell doing one of his non-Will Ferrell roles. Plus, it has Dustin Hoffman in it, which should be enough to sell you on it.
Anyways, the basics of the film is that a man wakes up one day suddenly to hear someone narrating his life. After determining that he isn’t actually crazy, he goes to an English professor because that’s the only person who will believe him. There is a great moment when Hoffman and Ferrell try to narrow down the type of story the narrator is telling.
Basically the question it all comes down to is this: is your story a comedy or a tragedy?
You could sum up Vanderbilt’s 2013 season as a grand comedy, an absolutely absurd and dream-like myth where in spite of every prognostication the hero somehow survives the gauntlet of demonic foes and gets the girl. You beat UGA by scoring 17 unanswered points in the 4th quarter. You rout Florida at Florida. Then you beat Tennessee in Neyland Stadium on a fake jump pass? That is the definition of comedy.
You’d think that comedies never repeat themselves, at least not for this many years in a row, and you’d probably be right. Hell, you know no one would disagree with you if you said that Vandy’s run is coming to an end “soon.” But when is this “soon” of which you speak?
The question for Vandy is whether this comedic run of bowl appearances, giant-killing, and 9-win seasons will now turn to tragedy. Sure they’ve done all of those things, but what if all of those things were just the carrot on the stick that will now be snatched away from them as they plunge into the abyss of football oblivion. You wouldn’t be surprised to see this whole thing turn to tragedy. After all, it is Vandy.
There’s a lot of evidence to support that sinking suspicion that the ‘Dores are in for a rough time. The best young coach in the conference, and I’d argue the entire country, has left you for Penn State—where I predict he will win a National Title within the next 7 years. Franklin’s coaching prowess was obviously unquestionable, but, while it may be beating a dead horse, you really can’t say enough about the loss of the only coach that could sell an unsellable program. Franklin will be sorely missed in ways that Vanderbilt has yet to even fully realize.
One of the ways that Franklin’s departure has hurt Vandy is readily apparent: the 2014 recruiting class. In short, Franklin raided that sucker like Charlie Weis at a Kansas BBQ. For a team where you rarely see any legitimate SEC talent to develop, losing even one of those top recruits is rough. Losing as many as they did is flat out decimating, at least on the surface.
Then there’s the fact that you return the fewest starters of any team in the SEC: 7 on offense and 3 on defense. In short, the one team in the conference that really doesn’t need to be young will be as young on both sides of the ball as they have been in some time.
And yet, surprisingly, there are lots of reasons to remain hopeful if you’re a Vandy fan. First off, you hired another great young coach in Derek Mason. Mason is the defensive guru who managed to stymie Oregon’s offense for two years running and while this defense will certainly be young you have to believe that Mason can do something with them.
The Quarterback position presents another bright spot for Vandy. While many teams are desperate for something, ANYTHING, at QB (looking at you, Arkansas), Vanderbilt has several good prospects. Jump-pass faking aficionado and winner of “Quarterback whose name most sounds like an LSU Defensive Lineman’s,” Patton Robinette is still in the stable. Add to that a solid option with Johnny McCrary and the transfer of Phillip Rivers’ younger brother, Stephen Rivers, you have some light shining on Vanderbilt’s possibilities at signal caller.
Speaking of a bright future, sure James Franklin raided the 2014 recruiting class, but you know what classes even Franklin can’t raid (unless they decide to transfer, oh god)? The 2012 and 2013 recruiting classes that he himself roped into Vanderbilt’s corral. The 2013 class was largely regarded as a top-10 class by pretty much all media outlets and the 2012 class was solid by all accounts. Those 4-star recruits are the soon to be starters at Vanderbilt who will then become the soon to be veteran talent that Vanderbilt so desperately needs.
While the QB battle is the flashier story, the “players to watch” list has to start with Jerron Seymour, who rushed for 14 touchdowns last year. Those 14 include this one, which as both a UGA and Vandy fan hurt super bad:
BTW he can also run the wildcat…
One more reason for optimism: the offensive line featured in the two videos above will remain mostly intact. Vandy will have to replace all-conference LT Wes Johnson but they return three starters along the interior and will probably replace Johnson will a rookie that started nine games last year (Andrew Jelks). Overall, the offense may not lose as many steps as one might imagine.
Then there is the REAL reason to be optimistic: Vandy’s cakewalk of a schedule.
2014 Vanderbilt Schedule
Aug. 28: Temple (Nashville)
Sept. 6: Ole Miss (Nashville)
Sept. 13: UMass (Nashville)
Sept. 20: South Carolina (Nashville)
Sept. 27: at Kentucky (Lexington)
Oct. 4: at Georgia (Athens)
Oct. 11: Charleston Southern (Nashville)
Oct. 25: at Missouri (Columbia)
Nov. 1: Old Dominion (Nashville)
Nov. 8: Florida (Nashville)
Nov. 22: at Mississippi State (Starkville)
Nov. 29: Tennessee (Nashville)
Sure you can pencil in a loss at UGA (dear god I hope so) at Missouri with at MSU being the game that could swing either way, but every other problem game comes at home. You should win every cupcake game on the schedule. You should beat Kentucky on the road. You should be competitive with both Mississippi teams. In short, if you had a young and untested squad this is exactly the schedule you’d want to have in front of you.
Will Vanderbilt win 9 games again? Absolutely not. What Vandy is headed for is nothing short of a typical rebuilding year: 6 or 7 wins, hopefully one of those wins being over Tennessee, a bowl win, and everyone goes home happy.
And that’s the truly crazy idea we Vandy fans, and the rest of the conference, have to reckon with: Vanderbilt might actually have rebuilding years now.
And that’s pretty, well, comedic.
Georgia Football: Know Your Enemy Dawg Fans: Highlights from South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier at SEC Media Days
Here are the highlights (and I don’t use that term in jest) of Steve Spurrier’s press conference yesterday. See the whole transcript if you’d like.
Spurrier: Glad to be here again. Glad to see I guess some familiar faces out there. Get ready for talking season.
Translation: Welcome back to the greatest show on earth. I’m the main event, nice to meet ya.
Spurrier: We got a pretty good team we think. Most of the magazines got us about 9, 10, 11 in the country, something like that. Hopefully we can live up to that prediction.
Translation: I see you punks who put us below the Top 5. I see you real clear-like now.
Spurrier: Dylan Thompson is going to be our quarterback. Hopefully he can stay healthy the entire season. We really believe he’s a very good player, has a chance to lead us to a big season, has a chance.
Translation: Dude is good, but this is me acting like he’s only got a chance to be good.
Spurrier: I think one of the head coach’s responsibilities is to get to know some of those big boosters. I certainly have got to know all of ours. In fact, my wife, we have a dinner for all of them each year before the season. I think it’s going to be August 15th, two or three weeks before the season starts. But they’re very important. Joe Rice is one of our big donors. I was kidding around with him recently. He took me to the Bahamas on his Jet airplane, on his yacht, pretty good trip.
Translation: Champagne for my real friends, real shame for my sham friends, no new friends, these hoes ain’t loyal, everyday I’m hustlin’.
Spurrier: I think it’s a shame that Texas and Texas A&M don’t play each other, though. I don’t mind saying that. Two schools that have been playing for over a hundred years, just because one of them joins another conference, get mad at each other, We’re not playing you anymore, we’re not playing you anymore. So I don’t know. I think it is sad. Florida plays Florida State. We play Clemson. Georgia plays Georgia Tech. We’re in different conferences, but they are in‑state rivals. The fans want to see that, to me. They want to see you beat the guys next door, the neighbors. I think it is sad. I know they’re not going to play each other. That’s just my opinion anyway.
Translation: If you can’t beat an in-state rival year-in and year-out, then ride on out.
That’s all I got/
Every year, the SEC Preview portion of DudeYouCrazy.net gets more substantial. This year is no exception.
Beginning tomorrow (July 14th) we will spend three days on each and every Southeastern Conference team. We’re going to start at the bottom of the conference and work our way to the top with the following elements for each team:
- Day 1: Big, bad, occasionally-comprehensive preview by the Dude.
- Day 2: Podcast featuring (at the very least) Chad Floyd and Andrew Hall and a few special guests a long the way.
- Day 3: Staff preview and predictions.
Accordingly, here is the schedule for the weeks to come:
- July 20:
Andrew’sJason’s Vanderbilt Preview
- July 21: Vanderbilt Podcast
- July 22: Staff Vanderbilt Preview
- July 23: Andrew’s Missouri Preview
- July 24: Missouri Podcast
- July 25: Staff Missouri Preview
- July 26: Andrew’s Mississippi State Preview
- July 27: Mississippi State Podcast
- July 28: Staff Mississippi State Preview
- July 29: Andrew’s Texas A&M Preview
- July 30: Texas A&M Podcast
- July 31: Staff Texas A&M Preview
- August 1: Andrew’s Tennessee Preview
- August 2: Tennessee Podcast
- August 3: Staff Tennessee Preview
- August 4: Andrew’s Florida Preview
- August 5: Florida Podcast
- August 6: Staff Florida Preview
- August 7: Andrew’s Ole Miss Preview
- August 8: Ole Miss Podcast
- August 9: Staff Ole Miss Preview
- August 10: Andrew’s LSU Preview
- August 11: LSU Podcast
- August 12: Staff LSU Preview
- August 13: Andrew’s “Formal” Georgia Preview (Lots more where this is coming from)
- August 14: Georgia Podcast (one of many)
- August 15: Staff Georgia Preview (ditto)
- August 16: Andrew’s South Carolina Preview
- August 17: South Carolina Podcast
- August 18: Staff South Carolina Preview
- August 19: Andrew’s Auburn Preview
- August 20: Auburn Podcast
- August 21: Staff Auburn Preview
- August 22: Andrew’s Alabama Preview
- August 23: Alabama Podcast
- August 24: Staff Alabama Preview
Various pieces will appear related to the teams discussed above, but those will be surprises. Additionally, we will spend the final few days leading up to the season thusly:
- August 25: National Top 10 Staff Projections
- August 26: National Awards Staff Projections
- August 27: The beginning of weekly previews
- August 28: Chad and Andrew live from the Georgia Dome for Ole Miss/Boise State
- August 29: Full-blown Georgia panic
- August 30: Live gameday coverage from around the country.
Please come back as often as possible.
That’s all I got/
- South Carolina
- Ole Miss
- Texas A&M
- Mississippi State
Some of this was reader voting and some of this was just me and Chad drinking and eating ribs. It happens.
That’s all I got/
91 Days until SEC football. Boom.
I doubt Vegas is taking odds on this, but if I could bet I’d throw everything I own down on the establishment of an early signing period for college football. Why? Because the SEC wants it. And what daddy wants, daddy gets. (Dude’s note: Daddy is the SEC in this scenario.)
You can read more about this possibility just about anywhere, but the SEC is warming up to a new (additional) signing period launching on the first Monday after Thanksgiving. I hope the president of Boise State is OK with the proposal, don’t you?