Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. The Vanderbilt University edition of “Show Me My Opponent,” which looks ahead to yet another must-win game of the Mark Stoops’ era.
Meet the Commodores…
Vanderbilt University is located within a short golf cart taxi ride away from Bachelorette Party City U.S.A. in Nashville, Tennessee. A private university named for Cornelius Vanderbilt, who invented Sperry Top-Siders; Vandy enrolls approximately 12,000 students from all 50 states and over 90 foreign countries, and they’re all extremely unlikable to everyone in the outside world.
More fun Vanderbilt University and Nashville facts:
— Undergraduate tuition with room and board is a very cheap and affordable $65,000, or the price of three brand new Hyundai Sonatas.
— There are an estimated three squirrels for every student on campus; and each squirrel came from a white, privileged, upper-class tree and had high test scores in high school.
— I remember what happened after 5 pm in Nashville once.
VANDERBILT TRADITIONS AND STUFF
— Swiping the parents’ credit card is a time-honored tradition among Vanderbilt’s undergraduates, dating all the way back to the 1970s when a member of the Pi Beat Phi sorority swiped her father’s BankAmericard to purchase an entire new wardrobe at the old Green Hills Shopping Center. Rumor has it her father, who was filthy rich, never checked his statements, therefore the enormous purchase went unnoticed and a tradition was born. Today, Vandy students use their parents’ credit cards to buy everything; from textbooks and spray tans to Sunday mimosas at Tavern and Bushwackers at Rebar.
— Another time-honored tradition at Vanderbilt is not attending football games. What students do is, they look at the list of home games for the football season, and then they do something else. Most students don’t even bother to see if there is a game being played at all. This has gone on nearly every fall since the beginning of the football program.
— Being smart is more of a requirement than a tradition at Vanderbilt, as you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single student who is bad at being smart. It’s very common to pass by one of the many study areas on campus and hear, “My friend from back home wanted to come here but she’s not smart. She went to, like, a regular school.”
— Pumpkin spice lattes litter the campus during the fall semester each year. It’s estimated that Vanderbilt students’ parents spend a quarter of a million dollars on pumpkin spice lattes on campus each October.
NOTABLE VANDERBILT PEOPLE
Al Gore: Founder, creator and inventor of this little thing here we call the Internet; former Bill Clinton West Wingman; big fan of global warming
Skip Bayless: Host of FS1’s Skip and Shannon: Undisputed; former underpaid ESPN employee, he claims; LeBron James antagonist
Jay Cutler: Chicago Bears quarterback; wife of Laguna Beach star; wanted no piece of me at Tin Roof Lexington in spring of 2009; likes to party
Brandt Snedeker: Eight-time PGA Tour winner; member of 2016 Ryder Cup team; once bit the head off a quail during a hunting trip
Chris Stapleton: Johnson County, Ky. native; award-winning country music artist; more musical talent in one of his testicles than Florida Georgia Line; amazing live performer; Traveller gives me all of the feels
INSTAGRAM SCOUTING REPORT
THAT TIME SOME GUY ATTEMPTED TO RAP
SO WHO’S THE HEAD COACH?
Vanderbilt’s head football coach, for the time being, is Derek Mason. (And not the former Tennessee Titans wide receiver.)
Mason is in his third season with the Commodores and he proudly boasts a .450 win percentage with a 9-20 overall record and two career Southeastern Conference wins, both coming against Kentucky.
A former Stanford defensive coordinator, Mason is considered a defensive-minded coach, although you wouldn’t know it if you watch this year’s Vanderbilt defense. His D gives up 5.8 yards per play, which, coincidentally, is tied with Kentucky on the year.
Off the field, someone did a horrible job painting him on this Nashville mural.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
|#7 | RALPH WEBB | RB | Junior
How good is running back Ralph Webb? He is only 503 yards shy of breaking his school’s all-time rushing record in his junior season.
Webb has rushed for an SEC-best 582 yards and five touchdowns this season with an NCAA-leading 118 carries on the year.
He is the only legitimate threat on Vanderbilt’s offense, and he is very threatening in the Commodores’ backfield.
|#41 | ZACH CUNNINGHAM | ILB | Junior (RS)
A 2015 All-American, Zach Cunningham is one of the best interior linebackers Kentucky will face all season. The Alabama native leads the Southeastern Conference in total tackles with one more than Kentucky’s Jordan Jones, and averages almost two tackles for loss per contest.
|#14 | KYLE SHURMUR | QB | Sophomore
Vanderbilt quarterback Cap’n Kyle Shurmur is commander fer th’ Commodores offense and of th’ Seven Seas. The Old Salt and his scallywags will look to batten down th’ hatches and hoist th’ mizzen against Kentucky, but th’ Cats hope to cleave the ol’ lass to th’ brisket for th’ Jolly Roger and send ’em back to Davy Jones’ Locker. Yo Ho Ho! Run a rig on the th’ bilge-sucking scurvy dogs. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!
LAST TIME WE MET
The last time Kentucky and Vanderbilt smashed helmets on the gridiron, it was Vandy that walked away victorious in a heartbreaker of a loss for the Cats.
How do you give up this play before the half?
I’ll spare you the .gif of the intercepted fade pass on second down from the three. And the pick-six. And the turnover on downs from the one-yard line.
I’m confident Kentucky will get back to .500 with a win on Saturday, simply because no one loses three out of four games to Vanderbilt. I’m pretty sure the SEC Football Gods inscribed that on an old stone table atop Mount Tebow.
The UK rushing attack will do well and Stephen Johnson will hold onto the ball as the Cats win an ugly one, 21-18.
No one loses three out of four to Vanderbilt. (And this would make four out of five for the problem, dating back to Joker’s last season.)