July 17, 2012; Hoover, AL, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores coach James Franklin answers questions during the 2012 SEC media days press conference at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE
Over the next few weeks, I plan on doing Q-and-A's with opposing bloggers about Northwestern's football season. The only problem is that the questions I ask are generally different from those normal people ask, and then one question about football.
Today: KingJamesIV from Anchor of Gold:
SoP: So, before we start: what did you guys get on your SAT's? This Q-and-A is over if it's below our desired threshold.
Anchor of Gold: Let's just say that what I got on my SATs is probably below the threshold for what the market currently demands.
The last time Northwestern and Vanderbilt met, I drank all day with a bunch of guys in seersucker suits and hot girls in sun dresses, missed most of the first half of the game, and had a really bad hangover while the guys from my fraternity's Vanderbilt chapter played country music really loudly all night long. Why didn't I transfer to Vandy immediately? And what, if I'm missing it, is the catch about Vandy? There has to be a catch
That's pretty much Vanderbilt on Saturdays. Drink through the first half, go to the game for a while then resume drinking (unless you brought a flask into the game and never actually stopped, of course). There's a bit of the chicken and egg with Vanderbilt football and this undergrad ritual - did Vanderbilt football start fall off the map because the college culture of binge drinking suddenly became en vogue or was binge drinking a direct result of Vanderbilt football falling off the map? One of the few remaining unsolved historical mysteries.
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't say that Coach James Franklin is doing a hell of a job attempting to break the vicious cycle. While I doubt there exists a future where Vanderbilt football fandom is culturally similar to that of an Alabama (roll tahde?), I could definitely see James Franklin pushing the Commodores closer to the Stanford end of the scale (at least current, resurgent Stanford).
There is no catch. I mean, it's expensive but so is Northwestern. Like any other SEC school, Vandy's got hot girls; ours just aren't necessarily all Southern.
You guys are smart, but your basketball team is good, or at least it generally is and was before having three guys drafted a few weeks ago. The hell is up with that?
Coach Stallings is the second longest tenured head coach in the SEC (well, maybe first if you count Billy Donovan's brief employment with the Orlando Magic). Stallings is widely regarded in basketball coaching circles as one of his generation's great tactical minds. He's got a solid track record of taking unheralded recruits (at least by Kentucky's standards) and developing them into All-SEC caliber players. John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor, and Festus Ezeli might have been a bit of an aberration, as they were all highly prized. The fact that they all arrived on campus in consecutive years was just unbelievable luck. Some of the other fairly recednt players (who experienced a bit more NCAA Tournament success) like Matt Freije, Derrick Byars, and Shan Foster never seemed to get over that NBA hurdle. It looks like all three players drafted this year won't have that problem. Vandy fans are hoping that will raise the school's profile a bit and help Stallings attract some of these higher level kids on the recruiting trail. Vandy fans have their eyes on the 2013 class to see…
How awesome is James Franklin? Do you think he could beat Pat Fitzgerald in a fight? Because if so, you're probably wrong.
James Franklin is my guy. He's the kind of guy where if you spend 5 minute with him, you're ready to run through a wall. He has completely changed the culture of the football program and those ripples have spread to VU athletics marketing and even the academic community on campus. Bruce Feldman of CBS tweeted that it was a "stunning transformation of that place since [his] last visit in 08". As for the fight, it is a trick question. James Franklin would recruit him to fight by his side.
THE ONE QUESTION ABOUT FOOTBALL: What look to be the strengths of Vandy's 2012 squad, and how do you see a matchup against Northwestern going?
First of all, experience -- not just the fact that they've got a lot of 2011 starters returning, but they'll have a year of familiarity with Franklin's system under their belts. Jordan Rodgers (younger brother to the Bear's nemesis Aaron) began to blossom in the last six games as he developed a connection with standout WR Jordan Matthews (Jordan 2 Jordan), so I'm excited to see him take the next step. They have a plethora of running backs including the SEC's leading returning rusher from 2011 in Zac Stacy. The team lost a substantial leader in Chris Marve and few other key defensive players in Casey Hayward and Tim Fugger, so there are some definite voids that will need to be filled.
I think most VU fans are feeling confident about the prospects for this season. I won't go putting a potential foot in my mouth though with a prediction. After years and years of training, Commodore fans are loathe to do so before the season starts.