College Football Junkie

A Blog To Share My Tour of College Football

Vanderbilt University

Posted by Strickland on August 23, 2012

Vanderbilt LogoI grew up in Nashville, TN.  If you followed college football while living in Nashville, you read in the newspaper about Vanderbilt University or the University of Tennessee football.  Sure, you would read, or hear on the television, about MTSU or Memphis University.  But, the two main things you read was Vanderbilt and Tennessee.  If you lived in Nashville, and you followed college football, you had to pick one of the two–Vanderbilt or Tennessee–to support.  There are a lot of states that have multiple schools in them that people draw the line in the sand on who they support, whether they are in the same conference or not.  In the SEC, you have these in Alabama (Alabama or Auburn), Mississippi (Ole Miss or Mississippi State), Georgia (Georgia or Georgia Tech), Florida (Florida, Florida State, and Miami), South Carolina (South Carolina or Clemson), Arkansas (there’s not much of an in-state rivalry), LSU (I can’t write about any rivalries in LSU.  I know there’s a big rivarly with Arkansas, with the winner receiving the “Golden Boot.”  But, I don’t know who LSU might have a true rivalry within Louisiana.  Probably is Tulane.), Kentucky (Kentucky or Louisville), and finally Tennessee (Vanderbilt or Tennessee).

So, I supported Vanderbilt.  And Tennessee.  But, mostly Vanderbilt.  I know that’s not right to do, but I did.  I don’t recall supporting Memphis or MTSU, but I would because its your home team!  You always support your home team, right?  Okay, maybe not always.  But, you have some type of connection within you that wants to pull for a home town team, right?  Well, that’s what I did.  I supported both teams, although the “Football Gods” totally frowned upon that.  But, when Vanderbilt and Tennessee played against each other, I cheered for Vanderbilt.  Why?  Because I lived in Nashville.  They were the local team.

All of this changed when my brother-in-law came into the picture.  He was a fan of Tennessee.  After being around him a while, I ended up switching my support to Tennessee.  Plus, Vanderbilt wasn’t too good.  From 1973 (the year I was born) to 2011, Vanderbilt had a 130-303-0 overall record verses Tennessee’s 314-153-9 overall record.  So, it was kindof easy to switch to support a winning team and the atmosphere that Tennessee has verses Vanderbilt.

I can remember the coaches names for Vanderbilt throughout my early years–George MacIntyre and Watson Brown.  I can remember going to a game or two.  For some strange reason, the only memory that stands out in my mind was a game I went to with my sister and parents.  We were sitting in the end zone at the bottom of the U-shape stadium facing the scoreboard, somewhere in sections J-M.  I can’t remember who Vanderbilt was playing against, but I was watching the game through some binoculars.  While watching the game through the binoculars, the opponent’s running back was hit and fumbled the ball.  Seeing this, I yelled “fumbled!”  Vanderbilt jumped on the ball and recovered.  I don’t know the opponent, the year, the score, or who won.  I have no clue why that is in my mind and has stayed there for many years, but that’s one memory I have of watching a game there.

Another memory that I have was the quarterback for Vanderbilt, Kirk Page.  If my memory serves me right, there was a news article or slogan that was used often for him–“Turn To Page”, meaning to a page in a book.  Here’s an article about Vanderbilt, who was lead by Page, beating Alabama.  As you can read, Vanderbilt ended on a losing streak and didn’t reach a bowl game.  But, for Vandy to beat Alabama, that’s an upset!  Currently, Page is the Athletic Director for Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, TN.

A final memory that I have of Vandy is their logos.  From 1984-1985, who can forget the “V” with a star crashing next to it?  Technology and marketing has changed throughout the years, hasn’t it?

The U-shaped stadium is now having a little bit of a facelift.  At the top of the U were some bleachers with the main scoreboard behind it.  Now, those bleachers will be updated with a hill.  Currently, it’s being worked on for the 2012 season.  When I was growing up, Vanderbilt had the artificial turf, which was that tough green carpet.  Then, later on it went to grass.  Here is a video on how Vanderbilt prepared their field back then when it had grass, which includes how many gallons of paint they used and how high they left the grass cut.  Now, they have removed the grass and are putting down the new and improved artificial turfHere is the final result, with maybe a few things that need to be fixed at the last minute (notice the new hill at the beginning of the video).

Vanderbilt has improved over the years.  And, it looks like they are getting better in football.

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