A Big Day for VU Football
By just about every measurable standard imaginable, the 2012 Vanderbilt football season has been a remarkable one. Since the nationally televised Thursday night opener in September, we have seen the ‘Dore’s first home win over the University of Tennessee since 1982, the most regular season wins since 1982, the longest winning streak since 1955, the most SEC victories since 1935, and the first time the team has been bowl eligible in consecutive years … ever. Over the past few days, Head Coach James Franklin, Athletic Director David Williams, our student athletes, and the entire Commodore nation have seen some much-deserved recognition for the work and commitment that has been put into this program over the last few years.
The first piece of good news came via a Sunday afternoon press conference with Coach Franklin and David Williams in which Franklin’s new, extended contract was officially announced. Commodore fans breathed a huge sigh of relief as Franklin confirmed his focus on Vanderbilt and dispelled all rumors that he was considering any of the several open head coaching jobs both within the SEC and all over the country. Williams also reiterated the university’s dedication to the football program’s growth, citing plans to improve Vanderbilt Stadium and the McGugin athletic complex and to bring the school’s athletic facilities up to par with those of its peer institutions.
Around 5:00 that evening, Vandy fans discovered via Twitter that the Commodores would be receiving an invitation to the 2012 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, an SEC-ACC matchup that will take place at 11:00 AM on December 31 at LP Field, the home of Nashville’s Tennessee Titans. The last time the ‘Dores played in the MCB was in 2008, when they defeated Boston College in a thrilling 16-14 New Year’s Eve victory; this year they will be taking on the Wolfpack of North Carolina State.
A couple of hours after the announcement, approximately 2,000 fans packed into Vanderbilt’s Student Life Center for a celebration of the bowl invitation and the record-breaking season that has led up to it. We heard from the Voice of the Commodores Joe Fisher, Chancellor Nick Zeppos, Athletic Director Williams, Coach Franklin, and quarterback Jordan Rodgers, all of whom thanked the fans for their continued support and challenged them to sell out the bowl game, maximizing the Music City home field advantage.
On Monday morning, the announcement of the Associated Press’s All- SEC football team rounded out this 24 hours of all-Vanderbilt-football-all-the-time (AKA a perfect 24 hours). Junior wide receiver Jordan Matthews was named First Team All-SEC after establishing a new team record this season with 1,262 receiving yards, as well as making 87 catches and scoring 7 touchdowns. Senior running back Zac Stacy, junior kicker Carey Spear, and junior cornerback Andre Hal were named Second Team All-SEC, and redshirt junior offensive lineman Wesley Johnson received an honorable mention.
You can find more details on this year’s Music City Bowl by visiting Vanderbilt’s Bowl Central, and if you’re going to be in town for the game, make sure you use this site to purchase your tickets. If you’re not a Vanderbilt football fan now, trust me, you’re going to want to get on board. In the words of Coach Franklin, “this is just the beginning.”