Vanderbilt has cancelled an upcoming series with Northwestern, leaving the Wildcats to scramble to find an opponent for a game less than a year away. NU had beaten the Commodores twice in the past three seasons.
Apparently scared from two losses in three years, Vanderbilt sent a letter to Northwestern saying they've cancelled the two matchups between the schools for 2013 and 2014, as reported by Teddy Greenstein.
This puts Northwestern in a bit of a bind, schedule-wise: they have to find a team with an open date on the same day as Northwestern in the non-conference schedule in less than a year. That's gonna be hard. Northwestern has Cal, Syracuse and Maine next year - Vandy would have made it two years in a row with three BCS teams, but they'll probably opt to have some MACtion. 2014 is Cal, Western Illinois, and Notre Dame. They might look for a home and home with somebody - Greenstein suggests UNC, who just had a series broken by a similar move by Minnesota.
Boos and jeers are to be sent in Vandy's direction for opting out of the games: they had five non-con games next year and have to play eight SEC games, so had to drop one of NU, UMass, OSU, Austin Peay, and Wake Forest. I'm sure they had great reasons for not wanting to play Northwestern as opposed to one of those other schools besides the fact that it's gotta be embarrassing and diminish recruiting when you lose to the other school with a similar profile multiple times in a short span. OSU will give them money and a chance for an upset. The other three should be easy wins. So they paid what Greenstein reports is a "non-prohibitive" buyout and sent a letter - not a phone call - to NU. I'm sure NU would've liked to play those games, but Vanderbilt decided to admit they were a lesser program without stepping onto the field, so that's nice.
Anyway, this is just another sign of the Big Ten's dominance over the SEC. B-I-G! B-I-G!
Update: Vanderbilt also dropped another Big Ten matchup, their game against Ohio State next year. If you scared...