Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Get ready for Thursday-night tailgating

Vanderbilt will kick off its 2008 season in unique fashion, playing at Miami (OH) on Thursday, August 28 at 6:30 p.m. CT. The game will be aired on ESPNU, which is the Commodores' first time on the network since beating Wake Forest 24-20 in 2005.

"I'm very happy to hear that ESPNU will showcase our game against Miami (Ohio) to open their college football coverage for the upcoming season," said coach Bobby Johnson. "It should be a very exciting game for their audience. I know it will be a big challenge for our team, just like last year's game against Miami."

The second game of the season will come at home against South Carolina on Thursday, Sept. 4, marking the first time in school history that the Commodores will begin with two Thursday night games.

I'm not sure if this schedule works for or against Vanderbilt. I think that playing the home opener, which is also the SEC opener, on a Thursday night could be electric. It will be interesting to see if a) the freshmen still run on the field with the chancellor before the game and b) fans, particularly students, treat it like a Saturday and tailgate all day. I'm going to say yes on the latter.

Here's a look at the full 2008 Schedule:

8/28 @ Miami (OH)
9/4 South Carolina
9/13 Rice
9/20 @ Ole Miss
10/4 Auburn
10/11 @ Mississippi State
10/18 @ Georgia
10/25 Duke
11/8 Florida
11/15 @ Kentucky
11/22 Tennessee
11/29 @ Wake Forest

Quick observations:
  • Three cupcakes (hopefully) in Miami (OH), Rice and Duke.
  • Bye weeks between games 4 and 5 (Ole Miss and Auburn) and games 8 and 9 (Duke and Florida).
  • With the exception of Georgia, all of the road games are manageable.
  • The road trips for my senior year will be somewhat disappointing: The Grove is amazing and fall break in Athens will be a blast, but I'm not sure if I can get myself to make the trip to Starkville. Lexington would be fun if it were basketball, and Wake Forest is nothing special.
  • We've got a great slate of home games: South Carolina, Auburn, Florida and Tennessee. You can't beat that.


David Shochat said...

we really don't have any definite wins except Rice imo. I could see us losing to both Miami (first game of the year...) and Duke (Cutcliffe=better coach than Bobby). Next year could be really ugly...

Jarred Amato said...

Shochat, don't be so negative. While Miami may be a challenge, you've got to be kidding with Duke. Sure, Cutcliffe can coach, but he doesn't have Tennessee-type or even Vandy-type talent.

While I don't know how good Vandy will be next year, I do know that the defense is going to be solid once again and at least be able to keep the Commodores in the game.

Anonymous said...

there's no manning at quarterback for duke. but i do think miami (oh) stands a pretty good chance of beating us. this team is going 2-10, 4-8 max.

David Shochat said...

Said COULD be ugly. I just don't think that you can pencil in Duke or esp. Miami as wins quite yet. Should we beat them? yes. Will we? Hard to say. If this team finds a QB, the O-line steps up, and the WR corps plays well, we could go to a bowl. Those are a lot of ifs though...I agree that i think our D will still be very very good probably just as good as last season. I am just concerned that our offense will be even worse than it was last year and that is pretty pathetic not to mention it tires out the defense. There are a lot of ? marks going into next season and only time will tell if the offense will be good enough to win some tough games and help the defense out. UT will have to break in a new QB and apparently hasn't had the best spring so that could be a win. USC isn't anything special really. UK lost Woodson and Little i believe. Miss schools could be very beatable. It is just hard to say right now. I have been optimistic the last two years and that hasn't worked out too well, so i am taking a different approach to next season in hopes it works and we go bowling haha...

Tony Arnold said...

VU biggest problem heading into the fall is having a consistent performer and real team leader at quarterback.

That is what cost us dearly last year. I am not picking on anyone, injuries hurt us some. But it is a fact and I know the coaches are concerned.

Two certainties to being a .500 team or better in football, especially in the SEC: 1) you better have at least adequate O-line and D-line. 2) You have to have a consistent leader at quarterback. He doesn't have to be great, but he better know his strengths and weaknesses and perform consistently within them, and he has to be a leader.

Someone has to step up at this position this year. If we had Cutler with last years O-line, we would have had at least 8 wins.

David Shochat said...

Couldn't agree more Tony...
The line play (esp. O-line) and QB play will dictate how well we do next year and how well we do most seasons. Even a great QB will struggle with a bad O-line though so i would consider the O-line the #1 priority if i was starting a team. I just hope Bobby plays the best QB next year regardless of year...if Funk or Smith are the best QBs play them.

I am really worried about next year because of the O-line. Last year it was good, but we had no QB. This year i think we may have the QB, he just won't have time to do anything with the ball. I think the losses of Gatewood and Horrocks on the D-line will obviously hurt, but the 2008 recruiting class has a lot of D-line prospects coming in that are already physically big enough to step in and play, so i am not really that concerned with the defense as much as the offense.