In the comments section of the post-Arkansas threat, Douglas James wrote:
"I don't blame students and casual fans for not showing more support for this team yet. Die hards such as the people who frequent this blog know this team is getting much better, but the casual observer just see's Vandy getting another moral victory. This is a small and jaded fan base, they are going to have to win these games and win them often to turn around 50 years of apathy.The students attendance at the last 3 games I've attended has been awful, and this morning's performance was a disgrace.
I think it will get done and really hope Franklin is committed long term (would love to see him be the Frank Beamer, Bobby Bowden, Bill Snyder of Vandy where he coaches the team for 30 years and basically becomes the program). But that is gonna take a lot of time and beating Elon, UConn, Ole Miss and Army is just not enough...yet"
I understand that 11:20 is an early start. I remember what Friday nights in college were like, and I admit that I myself tardy for games when I was a student. But that's no excuse. Not anymore. No Commodore team was EVER 4-3 in the month of November during my four year tenure at Vanderbilt. Frankly, I'm not sure if the team won 4 games WHILE I was a student. Forget that for just a minute. If you are a senior, you were a freshman when this team won it's first bowl since the Eisenhower administration. You know what a successful team looks like, and this one has a chance to get to another bowl to book-end your college career. Show up.
If you are a sophomore or junior, this Vanderbilt team has won, 7 games into the season, as many games as the previous two teams won in the last two seasons. If you are a junior or a sophomore, you've seen bad teams who were unable to compete. That's not this team. Show up.
And Freshman, what are you doing? If you didn't care about going to football games, why didn't you just go to Emory, Wash.U, or Penn (I know most of you applied there)? You go to school in the SEC. Embrace it. Listen to Coach Franklin's recruiting spiel. You go to an unbelievable school in the best football conference in America. Show up.
Arkansas was the #8 in the nation. Vanderbilt had played a very good game against a good (albeit not great) Georgia team that they lost in heartbreaking fashion two weeks prior. They absolutely smoked Army last Saturday. To compare this Vanderbilt team to previous teams ignores the demonstrable progress that has been made. And it lets the students off the hook.
I am not exaggerating when I say that, with the exception of the band, there weren't 50 students in the student section when the game began. The student section, at peak capacity, might have been half full. That's unacceptable. If students want the program to get better, they have to be part of the solution. Memorial Gym is one of the most difficult places to play in the SEC (if not the country), in part because of the student section. So long as tickets are readily available for opposing fans to purchase, Vanderbilt will be at a disadvantage. But that does not have to be exacerbated by students who are unwilling to do their part.
I don't think Vanderbilt lost to Arkansas or Georgia because the student section was sparsely populated. But it certainly didn't help. The Commodores have 1 game left this season. It's against Kentucky, and it is definition of a must-win if Coach Franklin's team has any chance of going to a bowl (middling or otherwise). There's plenty of blame to go around for today's loss, and some of it belongs to the students.
Same old Vanderbilt? No. Same old Vanderbilt students? Unfortunately, yes.