‘Boning Up on the ‘Dores

So the week just slipped away, didn’t it?  You’ve been so busy reading online recaps and watching video replays of the latest Carolina victory over Georgia that you’ve neglected to give any attention whatsoever to the game tomorrow, right?

Well, allow us to condense a week’s worth of worry into one short essay.

Let’s get you all ‘boned up on the Vanderbilt Commodores:

Remember, these are actual colleges with actual students:

Vanderbilt University is a coeducational, research university located in Nashville, Tennessee.  Vandy, as its often called, holds the distinction of being the only private school in the Southeastern Conference, and only one of three SEC schools (Florida and Missouri are the others) to belong to the prestigious Association of American Universities.   The school was founded as Central College during the reconstruction era, only to be rechristened after a well-meaning Yankee billionaire dropped some major coin in an effort to heal the regional differences that plagued the times.  Either that, or he did it to shut up his new wife’s crazy relatives. 

In what is only one example of its bizarre and unfocused marketing efforts,  Vanderbilt recently adopted an official logo that involves a block capital “V”, overlaying what appears to be an oak leaf with a misshapen penis.  Or not, I went to Carolina, so botany isn’t my strong suit.

 The weirdest thing about them:

A few years back, someone in the PR department at Vandy came up with the slogan “Anchor Down” for the ‘Dores.  They use it sort of like “Roll Tide!” or “Go Dawgs!” but without any pesky winning tradition behind it.    They put it on Tshirts, behind hashtags, and even on their football field.

Now I’m no marketing guru (that’s Buck) but it seems to me that “Anchor Down” is pretty weak for a rally cry.  First, I get the nautical theme – they are the Commodores after all – but dropping anchor is not a particularly heroic image. “Damn the torpedoes,” “We have met the enemy and they are ours’,” or “I have not yet begun to fight” are more in the spirit of nautically themed rallying cries (those are from Farrigut, Perry, and Jones, respectively).  Ever heard of someone sailing into a battle and screaming to the crew to drop the anchor?

Neither have I.

“Anchor Down” also connotes an idea of stasis, rigidness, and inability to react quickly.  None of these concepts seem to fit with athletics.

Unless we are talking about sumo wrestling.

Of course, my university’s performed the same “Cock in a Box” magic trick  every week for the past thirty years, so maybe I’m not the best judge.  Those that live in glass hen houses should probably not throw stones. . .

Moving on:

From a Gamecock point of view, the Vanderbilt football program is a decidedly mixed proposition.  On one hand, the ‘Dores have almost always given us much-needed solace and perspective:  If they were gonna finish dead last in the conference every year, at least we couldn’t, right?  But the practical reality has been that our games with Vandy are usually nip-and-tuck affairs where we tend to merely survive instead of triumph.   Particularly when we play in Nashville.

One wrinkle to watch for this year:

New Vandy head screw Derek Mason comes with an impressive resume, including stints with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and The PAC12’s Stanford Cardinal.  He’s known for a punishing, physical style of football on both offense and defense.   Understandably, this year’s squad is struggling to make the transition from the finesse/spread approach it utilized under James Franklin.  Sooner, or hopefully later, this is going to be a good football team.

But on the other hand, this year’s team was the last Division One program to score an offensive touchdown.

Read that again.

We should run them out of the ballpark, right?

Unless we don’t.

But anyway. . . .

That player you are going to hate:

It’s Vandy.  You’re not gonna hate any of these guys.

The Enigma:

Patrick Robinette, quarterback.  He came off the bench last week against UMass to lead the ‘Dores to a dramatic come-from-behind victory.  Well, that’s a pretty generous way to put it, but he did score their first offensive touchdown of the season on a QB dive-turned-leap.  He might be legit, but the sample size is too small (only 27 passes to date) and the competition too weak (Umass was 0-2 coming in) for us to draw any substantial conclusions.

The Ingenue:

Freshman running back Ralph Webb.  This true freshman looks like the workhorse for Vanderbilt so far this season.  He’s averaging 20 carries and over 90 yards a game in his three starts.

The thing that will tell the tale:

This is not a good offensive football team right now.  Can we get some three-and-outs?

If we can’t stop these guys, we probably can’t stop anybody.

William Carlos Williams explains further:

so much depends

The Vanderbilt


They lost

to Temple

Surely we can

Ezra Pound them

I forgot to mention:

Really, I think that’s everything.  I think you are all ‘bonzed up!