Angel Band Jam

One week ago, Dr. Ralph Stanley decamped for the truly unbroken circle. With this week’s Jam, we remember one of the last of bluegrass’ greatest generation.

2016 NHL All Stars to receive impressive Nashville-themed gift bag

nashasg

The 2016 NHL All-Star Game, which takes place this weekend in Nashville, already was going to be a special event, with the shift from a traditional five-on-five game to a three-on-three tournament for a $1 million prize. Now comes news that each all-star will receive a pretty neat collection of Nashville-themed goodies.

The Tennessean reports on the contents, which include:

  • A specially designed bottle of Jack Daniels, which is distilled in nearby Lynchburg. All of the whiskey for these bottles reportedly comes from the same barrel.
  • A bottle of Winter Park Wheat beer, a specialty brew created by Nashville’s Yazoo Brewing Co.
  • A Goo Goo Cluster, a Nashville candy staple.
  • Most impressively, a custom, personalized guitar from Gibson (which was founded in Kalamazoo, but now is based in Nashville). These Les Paul-model guitars have a number of neat features, including a 2016 NHL All-Star Game logo, the individual player’s name (close-up of Shea Weber’s here), and specially designed back plates and truss rod covers.

If you want one of these guitars but aren’t a 2016 NHL All Star, your only shot is to win one of the two available at a charity auction that appears to be occurring after the game. If you’re not John Rich, literally or metaphorically, you’ll have to be content with watching the skills competition at 7:00 Eastern on Saturday and the revamped all-star game at 5:00 Eastern on Sunday and hope that none of the players pulls a Kyle Busch with any of these custom Gibsons.

Playing chicken on skates: The Predators and Red Wings pull the goalies in Detroit

We are headed back to Hockeytown this weekend to watch the Red Wings host the Nashville Predators on Saturday night. My first time at Joe Louis Arena, one year ago, was so great, and I can’t wait for this next visit.

Detroit and Nashville used to see a lot of each other when both played in the Western Conference’s stacked central division. They have fewer opportunities to square off since Detroit’s move to the Eastern Conference this year, though, so each meeting takes on greater importance.    Continue reading

Is James Franklin leaving Vanderbilt for Penn State? [UPDATE: Yes.]

This is the most reliable news in days on a story ALDLAND has been tracking closely. We will update this post as more information becomes available.   Click for all updates on this story…

Dawg Upset: Vanderbilt defeats Georgia in Nashville, 31-27.

uga @ vandy 2013ALDLAND was out in force last weekend for a cool, damp morning (11:00 am kickoff!) of football in Nashville. Brendan and Marcus broke down the game, as well as Vanderbilt’s bowl chances, in this week’s podcast, so listen to that for full game analysis. The Commodores took the lead in the second quarter on a perfectly executed fake field goal attempt. Two almost certainly erroneous targeting calls against Georgia helped Vanderbilt as well, but Vandy’s surprisingly poised redshirt freshman backup quarterback, Patton Robinette, who came on in relief of injured starter Austyn Carta-Samuels, deserves mention as well. (A botched Georgia punt was reminiscent of the last time these schools met in Nashville. This time, though, the Commodores were able to capitalize on the special-teams error.) Despite reasonably ample scoring, the game developed slowly through the first three quarters before the home team posted seventeen points in an exciting fourth quarter, erasing a thirteen-point deficit to claim an upset victory. It was Vanderbilt’s first conference win of the year (after a heartbreaking loss to Ole Miss to start the season), and both teams moved to 4-3 overall.

While Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin said that either Carta-Samuels or Robinette would be available for this weekend’s game at Texas A&M, he said yesterday that Robinette would start the game and that Carta-Samuels would not be available this week.

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Previously
Michigan On Top
Walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death: Clemson outpoints Georgia 38-35

College football starts tonight

College football is here at last. Like last year, the season begins on a Thursday night that features Vanderbilt in action against another SEC foe. In 2012, Vandy lost a heartbreaker to South Carolina on a blown call by the officials on opening night. This year, the Commodores take on inter-division rival Ole Miss. Vanderbilt has won three straight against the Rebs, but the margin of victory was just one point in their last meeting, and Ole Miss is on the rise thanks to their best recruiting class ever. While everything’s turning up roses in Oxford this season (“roses” being defined as something close to “Robert Nkemdiche“), a dark cloud has been hovering over Nashville as a result of rape allegations against four recently dismissed players. On the field, Vanderbilt’s biggest question might be at quarterback, where the journeymannish boy Austyn Carta-Samuels is set to take the reins from the graduated Jordan Rodgers and attempt to help the team improve on last year’s nine-win season, VU’s best mark since 1915.

Unlike last year, Vanderbilt technically does not play the first game of the season, Continue reading

Vanderbilt basketball takes a hit

After losing Sheldon Jeter due to a transfer this spring, Kevin Stallings’ Vanderbilt Commodores lost two starters this week. The team’s leading rebounder last season, Kevin Bright, is off to play professional basketball in Germany, while Kedren Johnson, maybe the team’s best player, has been suspended from the team and is no longer enrolled at the university.

Vandy basketball may have been on a downswing after last season, but there were pieces to build around. Now, though, it looks like the tough times will last a bit longer at Memorial Gym.

ALDLAND takes you live to the start* of SEC conference play

Although conference play technically began when South Carolina survived against SEC East foe Vanderbilt in the first game of the college football season, conference play ramps up in earnest this week, when the Commodores, and yours truly, head to Athens for a night game between the hedges against #5 Georgia.

As indicated in the photograph, these divisional opponents have some history. When they played in the above-depicted game, nearly fifty-six years to the day prior to Saturday night’s meeting, Vanderbilt scored a 14-0 victory at home. Unsurprisingly, that outcome does not predominate; in a series that began in 1893 (with a 35-10 Commodore win, incidentally), the Dawgs have a 53-18-2 record. The series was far more competitive through the early 1960s, but Vanderbilt has only four wins (and one tie) against UGA since the 1961 season.

These two teams have some recent notable history, too. ALDLAND was there, in duplicate, for their last meeting, in which Georgia survived a late special teams error to escape Nashville with a win. It was what happened after the game that most people will remember, though Continue reading

The final 00:05.1 of Game 1 of Red Wings and Predators is all you need to see

Bdoyk asked me during the game whether I felt any split allegiances. I certainly have a love of Nashville that probably comes through in some of my posts on this site, but the Red Wings are an erstwhile pillar of my comprehensive sports worldview, and I can’t imagine anything that would ever change that.

That said, Shea Weber erased any doubts that may have lingered with his move on Henrik Zetterberg at the end of Game 1 last night.

The Predators shrugged off the move after the game, while the Wings appear to be letting it stew internally. Detroit fans can only hope that this is the sort of thing that will energize their team into the juggernaut of yore, allowing them to steal Game 2 on the road before returning to the much friendlier confines of Joe Louis Arena.

Liberty Bowl preview

After a couple weeks of silly bowl games and lamenting the defunctedness of the Baccardi Bowl, it’s come time to get into college football’s more serious postseason games. With the BCS bowls getting going on January 2 (there are no New Year’s Day bowls this year), New Year’s Eve provides a suitable appetizer, including Cincinnati and Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl, 2:30 pm Central time on ABC. Watch for me on the TV.

Rather than try to duplicate the good work already done by dedicated Vanderbilt bloggers and create my own full game preview, I’ll yield to more experienced voices below, after offering my own thoughts, in bullet-point format (it’s Memphis, after all):

  • While Vanderbilt was three plays away from a 9-3 record in the regular season, they finished 6-6, which still triples their win total from last year with essentially the same roster and bests their win total from the past two seasons combined. That said, a win on Saturday would give the Commodores a winning record on the season; a loss, of course, would give them a losing record. Coach James Franklin has hit this point in his preparation this week and I think it’s an important one. A season this good, comparatively speaking, cannot end with a losing record.
  • This is just the fifth bowl appearance for Vanderbilt, but this year’s senior class is the school’s first to play in two bowl games. At a school where nobody leaves early for the NFL (not even Jay Cutler), the seniors represent a strong, experienced group of leaders. They also have played for three different coaches (Bobby Johnson, Robbie Caldwell, and Franklin) in three years, so they have been through a lot together. After a win in the Music City Bowl three years ago, followed by two down years, the seniors seem to play for themselves as much as they do for Franklin and the future of the program. I think this bodes well for their performance in their final game.
  • As much as 2008’s Music City Bowl was a coming out party for quarterback Larry Smith, the 2011 season has been a coming out party for his replacement, Jordan Rodgers. The junior starter with a famous brother has been an offensive force this year, both as a rusher and a passer. Rodgers need not have a perfect total game for Vandy to win– other offensive options and tools are available– but he needs to avoid making the kinds of mistakes he did in the overtime loss to Tennessee.
  • Cincinnati is a relative unknown to me, and probably to you, something the information below should remedy. The two things that come to my mind are 1) they aren’t that far removed from Brian Kelly, so there probably is a talent residue there; and 2) their basketball team is made up of some hard brawlers, which may or may not carry over onto the football field. I just looked up their regular season record: 9-3. But they play in the Big East.
  • I’ve been to one other bowl game, the 2007 Rose Bowl. USC embarrassed Michigan that afternoon, and I was embarrassed to be associated with the state in which the losing team was located. I very much am hoping for a different result on Saturday.

History: Sensibly, the Liberty Bowl started in Philadelphia in 1959, but by 1965, it had moved to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis to host larger crowds and establish itself as one of the oldest non-BCS bowls. The People’s history of the Liberty Bowl is here.

Continue reading