Music City Blues

This isn't 2008 (VM-Stan Jones)

Bowl games are supposed to be a reward for a season well done. Players, fans, and coaches look forward to a destination event, following the team and cheering them on in some new city against a worthy opponent. For Vanderbilt in particular this experience is still something new, something to be savored.

Bowl games are supposed to be a reward for a season well done. Players, fans, and coaches look forward to a destination event, following the team and cheering them on in some new city against a worthy opponent. For Vanderbilt in particular this experience is still something new, something to be savored. After all this is the first time in school history that the 'Dores have been bowling back-to-back, so no matter what Sunday's bowl announcement was sure to be a hit.

Only the conference and bowl power brokers could manage to turn that feeling of euphoria into one of general apathy with one underwhelming announcement.

Despite week long projections which had the Commodores traveling to play in either the Gator or Chick-fil-A bowls, it was announced Sunday that Vandy wouldn't be traveling at all and would be staying in Nashville to play in the Music City Bowl. This was due to any number of dominoes falling into place to seemingly smite Vanderbilt for its monumental 8-4 season, taking away any chance for a better bowl in the first place.

If 'Dore fans are looking for an avenue to vent frustrations look no further than the Big Ten. The abject mess at the top of that conference which saw its two best teams (Ohio State and Penn State) ineligible for postseason play was the major catalyst for this snub. With those two out of the picture, and the refusal of the conference to slot down a Nebraska team which allowed 70 (SEVENTY) points last night in the Big Ten Title Game, Northwestern was sent to the Gator Bowl. Bowl organizers (an oxymoron?) hate rematches from the regular season, so as a result Mississippi State was taken to the Jacksonville game over Vanderbilt.

Yes, that's right, Mississippi State were picked over Vandy. That would be the same Mississippi State that lost four of its last five games (Vandy won six straight to end the year) and which was completely uncompetitive in every single one of those losses. Honestly, snubbed doesn't an even get close to how Vandy fans should be feeling about this.

As it is the Commodores will get to essentially play host to North Carolina State when they should be playing someone else, somewhere else. NC State is a middle of the road ACC team who was so impressed with their 4-4 conference record (tied for 6th in a bad league) that they fired their coach at the end of the season. If that sounds like the type of squad Vandy should be matched with to end the season then you have been watching a different Commodore team to me.

With a month to go until the December 31st matchup maybe it will grow on me. Until then I will be happy with the knowledge that James Franklin just signed a contract extension and that after this frustrating turn of events he will have even more reason to motivate his team next season.

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