I made it into town on Friday night in time for a ceremonial pregame dinner at Music City’s finest anti-internet fried chicken establishment and a chance meeting with Taylor Hicks, and I was up the next morning to watch the early games (11:00 am Central) at Nashville’s newest sports bar. After victories by our party’s favored teams, Michigan State and South Carolina, we made our way to our usual tailgate spot, the sunny, low-70s weather being perfect for the activity.
Like most of Vanderbilt’s conference foes, Georgia is on the winning side of a lopsided record that stretches back to 1893. Saturday’s game followed suit, omitting the adjectives. Georgia won, but not handily (much to commodawg’s chagrin), as Vanderbilt missed three game-winning opportunities in the final seconds. Milking a five-point lead, the Dawgs tried to run out the clock, but defense and Vandy’s use of its two remaining timeouts forced a Georgia punt that Vanderbilt blocked. With nothing between them and the endzone but a loose ball, the Vanderbilt defenders were unable to scoop it up and run it in, falling on the bouncing ball instead. With eight seconds left in the game, QB Jordan Rodgers took two strikes at the endzone from about twenty-five yards out, but the Commodores were unable to convert.
Our seats were good for watching the game, but they didn’t allow us to gain any particular insights on the postgame scuffle between Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin and a Georgia assistant coach or the alleged dirty play on Georgia’s part that may have instigated it. Of course, when you need inflated SEC gossip, you know where to go (that’d be over here, naturally).
On the Commodore side, this was far from the drubbing they put on Ole Miss, but to the end, they played Georgia close and had three clear chances to beat them. At the very least, VU looked much much better than Tennessee did against the Dawgs the week before. The loss drops them to 3-3 on the year, but bowl eligibility very much is in reach for the Dores, who need to continue to play .500 ball against their remaining six opponents to access the postseason for the first time since Bobby Johnson’s final blaze of glory in 2008. Those final six opponents? Army, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Wake Forest. In talking with Vanderbilt Sports Line’s Bobby O’Shea after the game, I’m confident that there are three wins amongst those six games. Arkansas is out of reach, and Wake is a wildcard, but Army and Kentucky definitely have inferior squads this year, and Florida and Tennessee clearly are down this year. Georgia, meanwhile, seems poised to win the SEC East, a not especially meaningful distinction when both LSU and Alabama play in the SEC West, but the season-ending injury to South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore all but assures the Dawgs the honorary position in the conference title game.
As usual, a successful trip on the whole. Stay tuned for more game coverage, which should include at least two more games this college football season.
Previous Live Coverage:
B1G Roadtrippin’: Michigan at Northwestern
The Little Brown Jug stays in Ann Arbor
Recap: Detroit Red Wings’ Red & White Game
Motor City recap: Tigers win, 2-1
Music City recap: Vanderbilt wins, 45-14
Concert report: Lyle Lovett and his Large Band
Concert report: An evening with Bruce Hornsby, Béla Fleck, the Noisemakers, and the Flecktones