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FAN REVIEW: Vanderbilt fans are model for all SEC football fans

We’re on a three-week journey examining the fanbases of each of the fourteen SEC schools. Yesterday was South Carolina; today we’ll stay in the SEC East and head to Nashville.

Vanderbilt fans are an example of everything right in college football. Commodore fans persevered through 123 seasons of football in what was mostly a losing season after losing season. Vanderbilt’s all-time record is 572-579-50. That is worse than the President’s record on the economy, or Katy Perry’s last, well record.

Since 2000, Vanderbilt has posted records of 3-8, 2-9, 2-10, 2-10, 2-9, 5-6, 4-8, 5-7, 7-6, 2-10, 2-10, 6-7 and 9-4. Those seasons look like something from Mike Shula or Mike DuBose.

Those last two season records are important. The 2012 season saw Vanderbilt fans rewarded with a special treat. It was Vanderbilt’s first nine-win season since the 1915 squad went 9-1. The only other time a Vanderbilt team hit nine wins was in 1904. There have only been six bowl games in the history of the program, and these last two seasons represent another first—back-to-back bowl games for the Commodores.

The buzz around the program is growing louder. There is more demand for football tickets. Vanderbilt attendance was up 15 percent during the 2012 season. And with Vanderbilt’s latest win, the demand is growing. Just this winter Vanderbilt created a waiting list for football season tickets.

The enthusiasm is growing because people realize that Vanderbilt has replaced Tennessee as the dominant program in the state of Tennessee. The power has shifted from Knoxville to Nashville.

Scenes like this will become more and more common in the years to come.

The core of Vanderbilt fans are the ones to be admired. They were not the fair-weather fans like their Volunteer counterparts. No, Commodore fans stuck with the program even when things were going poorly. Every so often, a new coach was hired. New promises were made. Yet, Vanderbilt never seemed to move forward.

Even when an excellent coach like Bobby Johnson was at the helm, things were still sluggish. It seemed like Vanderbilt would never put it together. Now there is real momentum in Nashville.

Vanderbilt blogs sense it.

Anchor of Gold declared this year’s recruiting class “Vanderbilt’s greatest recruiting class ever,” and in another post asserts, “This talented crop of players should be a key ingredient as Vanderbilt pushes towards a SEC Championship.”

It is this kind of optimism that has allowed Vanderbilt fans to endure the bad and celebrate the good. It is a fandom with a proper balance. These are fans with perspective.

Football is not life, but a supplement to the educational experience of the campus and a unifier for alums and the present university.

There is something charming in the intimate stadium atmosphere. You can sense the old spirit of college football—a place less spoiled by the influence of ESPN and CBS. It is a place where the academic mission of the university is not forgotten in an attempt to win the football arms race.

Vanderbilt fans run the football program differently than Alabama fans. Alabama fans demand accountability and have been known to meddle in the program. Vanderbilt fans show patience and take a far more hands-off approach. This makes James Franklin the perfect hire. He is a good chief executive that fans know will do what is necessary to make the program competitive.

Vanderbilt fans give Franklin something in return. Unlike the rats jumping off the sinking ship in Knoxville, Vanderbilt fans remain fans through the good and bad.

The feeling appears to be mutual between Vanderbilt fans and their head Commodore, James Franklin.

Vanderbilt fans are starting new traditions as the football team shows real signs of improvement. There is the Star Walk (began in the 1990s), Victory Flag and Vandyville (launched in the 2000s).

However, it was the decision to hire James Franklin that has made a real difference in the life of the Vanderbilt football. Franklin promotes the team and how football can bring everyone in the university together.

He fits at Vanderbilt. Unlike a former coach Gerry DiNardo who once said “The very nature of Vanderbilt’s program caters to cynics, and we’ve got to change that.” That is not true. Vanderbilt fans always wanted to win. They just needed he right person.

It looks like they found him.

Past reviews:
Alabama – February 11
Texas A&M – February 12
Tennessee – February 13
South Carolina – February 14


19 thoughts on “FAN REVIEW: Vanderbilt fans are model for all SEC football fans”

  1. Pingback: Headline Links 2/15/12 | Inside The Program

  2. Glad they finally have something to cheer about. But that SEC Championship talk is way, way out there on a limb. They need to remember that their only beatdown during the past two years was bad, bad, bad at the hands of Alabama. RTR!

    1. Sorry but that’s not correct. Vandy lost to Bama by a score of 34-0 in 2011 but the game was only 14-0 at halftime and didn’t get totally out of hand until the 4th quarter. Against UGA this past year Vanderbilt lost by a score of 48-3 in a game that was a rout from start to finish.

  3. Both Vanderbilt and UT could have better teams if they could get some of these young men in Tennessee back in HS and out of the woods making moon shine. RTR.

  4. I am a Vanderbilt fan who enjoys reading the Capstone Report. You have a high class site. We were pulling for the Tide for the National Championship. Congratulations!

  5. I have had Vandy season tickets in the 80’s and 90’s
    to see Alabama come to Nashville and take over the
    stadium!! James Franklin is a great recruiter and is
    fun to listen on the radio!! Vandy has had a lot of
    losing games in the past but it is really great to see
    them turn the program around and make the vol
    fans shut up!! Well Alabama has made UcheaT
    it BITCH for 6 years going on 7 this October!!
    RTR Anchor Down!!!

    1. The exciting thing is, Vandy is not too far away from achieving the kind of success Georgia has. Franklin has more fire and motivation than the passive, milquetoast Mark Richt.

      If we were picking teams and coaches on the playground, I would pick James Franklin every time over Mark “make excuses” Richt.

      “We ran out of time.” – Mark Richt, on another game he coached that ended after the NCAA sanctioned and approved 60 minutes of play.

  6. Yeah I forgot about the Georgia game whatever. You get my point and Georgia isn’t as good as Bama anyway. What’s more it doesn’t matter how many more points you score, s 34-0 shutout is as bad as it gets. Also in 2011 the Vandy D was ranked I believe #7 when Bama played them and it took the offense about 20 minutes to realize they were expected to show up. The game was nonowhere near as close as 34-0. You other guys can be all oohy goohy if you want. Love Franklin like your wife if you want – but Vandy will never beat Bama, LSU, Georgia, Florida or Texas A&M. And I don’t expect Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee to be down much longer either. However, don’t they have a winning record against Awbie? LMAO! RTR!

  7. I am a Vandy fan with eternally optimistic outlook as I have stuck with Vandy since the 1960’s. Vandy actually has victories though infrequent over Georgia and Florida which occurred with less talented teams and less effective coaching. I am now more optimistic than ever that such victories will happen more often in the future. Time will tell. No Vandy is not Alabama but we are getting the mindset that on any given Saturday we can beat anyone. I think it will be dangerous in the future to overlook the Commodores.
    Roll Tide unless they are playing the Dores.

  8. No doubt, at least right now it would be foolish to overlook Vandy. Bama has done it a couple of times. All I’m saying is I’m not convinced it is a long term situation. Both Vandy and Tucky have had flashes in the past, and that’s all they were is flashes. Hell, in ’07 Tucky wjipped National Champion LSU. You see where they’ve been ever since
    But good luck to ya’ll. Be funny as hell to see you I’m Atlanta in December? Now on another note: Three yhings happened this weekend, sll of which were equally incredible and unbelievable. First, the Baseball team swept a 3 game set. Now I don’t know how good or bad VMI is but nevertheless, our Baseball team sweeping anybody is an earth shattering miracle. Second, this Basketball team which has sick elephant dicks, which got whacked by Awbie, the worst team in the conference, is now in sole possesion of 2nd place with the regular season almost over. WTF?????? And third – how in fuck do you beat somebody 106 times straight??? That’s exactly what our ladies Gymnastics team has done to Aubie. Incredible! RTR!

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