Think for a second. You’re Bobby Johnson and it’s July. Whereas visions of hope and football rapture dance in the heads of most every college football fan and coach this time of year, you have to face the hard cold facts that it’s about to happen again.
Another season of frustration and futility is at your doorstep.
Another year of playing the role of the Washington Generals to every Globetrotter on your schedule.
Another season of grueling work weeks, watching film to break down the opponent while breaking down because you know you don’t have a chance.
Another year knowing that your first win won’t likely come until you get UT in the eleventh week of the season.
And another year of having to get up early to play in the 11:30am “SEC leftover game of the week”.
Who can blame Bobby Johnson? As a new season approaches, what is the freaking point?
Week one, you face the Purple Vandy, Northwestern: the carbon copy of your Commodores, likely with a healthy kicker because Auburn isn’t available for another cheap shot. Loss.
Week two, LSU. LSPlease. Loss.
Week three, Ole Miss. Another dramatic Raycom Sports game with the Rebels. That you lose. Loss
Week four, UCONN. Still in their infantile stages of Division I existence, but still able to pound you into the turf. Loss.
Week five, Eastern Michigan. Likely a win, but on the ride home you glance in the rear view mirror and realize you had to play Eastern Michigan to get a win. Win, but a loss.
Week six, Georgia. Unless the whole team gets a collective DUI the night before (possible, but not likely), loss.
Week seven, South Carolina. Garcia throws eleven picks but you still can’t come out on top. Loss.
Week eight, Arkansas. By now Mallett has pulled his Jevan Snead impersonation of the Hindenburg, but their punter runs for two touchdowns. Loss.
Week nine, Florida. A new crop of talent scores 35 before the 2nd quarter begins. Loss.
Week ten, Kentucky. The only SEC program historically as bad as yours, and you go to bed knowing you got beat by a guy named Joker. Loss.
Week eleven, finally, the Vols. ‘Hiccup…hungover and still giddy about no cover charge…”I’m a VIP!” Win.
Week twelve, Wake Forest. “ACC vs. SEC, baby!” is their cry, as their entire conference rallies in their corner for a rare win…like it counts. Loss.
Why put yourself through that? While Johnson will be called a lot of things on talk radio in Nashville this week, what you can’t call him is a coward. He’s been at Vandy for eight years. Richard Scrushy will face less punishment in his sentence of equal length than Johnson has in his.
Finally, I leave you with this. I will never forget being at the 2001 Vandy-Alabama game in Nashville. On the cusp of the darkest days of the dark age of Alabama football, news had surfaced about the full extent of Bama’s coming trouble with the NCAA one day earlier.
Outside the stadium, the Alabama band approaches, marching in formation.
An older Vandy fan, 60+ stands with his colleagues grilling, drinking and amazingly, talking trash. “NCAA” he chants.
I calmly walk over to him, smile and say, “Yeah, they can take all of our scholarships away and we’ll STILL beat you every year.”
He literally stands there, looks at me with a blank expression for what felt like a minute, and says nothing.
I then casually walk away, take my wife’s hand and enter their high school stadium to watch Bama stumble around to a 12-9 victory on the Saturday before 9/11.
That is Vandy football. It’s UAB football without the little brother syndrome. It’s Auburn football without the delusion. You know your place, and you know what’s coming.
Therefore, what’s the point? Bobby, nobody can blame you, pal.