Friday, May 20, 2011

TGIF Update, With Deepest Apologies

The Braintrust has been swamped of late, and for that we apologize.  The timing hasn't been good either, because there's been a slew of Commodore sports news to report -- of both the good and the not-so-good variety.

Bad news first: The baseball team lost the series opener at Georgia last night by a score of 5-4, marking the first time all season the Dores have dropped back-to-back games.  Although by record (20-8 in SEC play) they remain tied for second in the East with South Carolina, this makes it unlikely that Vanderbilt will win the regular-season conference crown given that both Florida (21-7 SEC record) and USC own the series tie-breaker over Vandy.  Oh well.  The key is getting one of the top 8 overall seeds in the postseason, and that is a goal still very much within reach.  First step: defeat the Dawgs in the next two contests.

Now for some better news, turning first to the basketball front: Yesterday it was announced that Vanderbilt will face off against Louisville, at Louisville, in the 2011 Big East/SEC Challenge.  We think this is an awesome matchup for the Dores and are stoked about a possible VSL Roadtrip (thanks Sdubs).  Like Vandy, Louisville brings back a ton of talent and will be highly ranked preseason.  As Stanimal points out, there has also developed a healthy recruiting rivalry between our two schools in the mid-south region, and a nationally televised bout could be a boon to Vandy's efforts in that regard.  With this year's field expanded to include all SEC teams, we also think the cross-conference competition is a great thing for the conference generally.  Mark your calendar for December 2.

And finally, what is in my humble opinion the most exciting development of all: James Franklin and his staff are -- dare I say it -- en fuego right now.  With spring practice over and the students gone for summer, the coaches have been absolutely killing it on the recruiting trail.  With five commitments over the past week, including three big coups in Georgia just yesterday, Vanderbilt has built some great momentum and is setting the tone for its best recruiting class in school history.  Five of the Commodores' first six recruits are from the Atlanta area, proving that CJF & Co. aren't going to shy away from competition for prospects in the heart of SEC country.  Notably, OLB Darreon Herring, ILB Jacob Sealand, and OT Barrett Gouger are all three-star prospects according to's early projections.  Herring, Sealand, and DE Stephen Weatherly are all listed on the ESPNU 150 Watch List, which basically means they are projected at the moment to be among at least the top 350 or so recruits coming out of high school next year.  To put it in better perspective, these guys already had offers from schools like Arkansas, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Miami, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, UNC, and others.  That ain't nothing.

The best part about getting these guys early is that they can now start helping Vandy with the recruiting process.  We all know how this works -- turning a few heads early in the process can create a snowball effect as those commits are then able to go out and multiply the coaches' efforts to lure other quality players.  One of the most encouraging signs in that regard is what all these guys are saying about Vandy: "program on the rise," "great academics," "family atmosphere," "feels like home" -- this is the kind of attitude that can really market a program and translate into success on the field.  Hats off to CJF and his staff for making their impact felt early.  Hope they can keep up the great work.

Meanwhile, women's tennis is in the Sweet Sixteen and men's basketball continues to be shown the love in the way-too-early projections for next season.  Happy Friday and Go Commies.


Anonymous said...

Women's golf is doing well too - currently in 5th.

Anonymous said...

wrong headed baseball thinking
if teams have the same overall record regardless of record against each other - they are conference champions

Seamus O'Toole said...

I guess technically that's right (which is a silly policy by the way), although they certainly take the tiebreaker into account for seeding purposes. So losing to UGA could wind up being the difference between a 1-seed and a 4-seed.

AspenVU said...

The bigger issue is the NCAA - really need to wake up and take these last two at UGA if we want to have home field during the tournament.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if we could get some sort of gameday post. Vandy can still win the conference outright after last night.