Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The Football Frenzy Mounts In Nashville
ESPN's very popular College GameDay program is headed for Vanderbilt this weekend!
Look for hundreds, if not thousands of Vanderbilt students and fans to fill the area around the new freshman Commons on the Peabody campus, acting half-crazy as they cheer for their Commodores. All this while holding up what will hopefully be some of the most creative signs ever viewed on this weekly program. It all begins with live broadcasts Friday afternoon (3:30-3:50 PM CDT) and then the big show Saturday morning from 9:00-11:00 AM.
The Game Day program is known for its "unique" fan signage and for analyst Lee Corso's game-of-the-day pick at the end of the Saturday morning program, where he dons the mascot headgear for the team he says will win.
With Vandy's game against nationally-ranked Auburn being the spotlight game this weekend (and also telecast on ESPN later that day at 5:00 PM), who will Corso pick? Warning: He is a former coach at Louisville and was involved in an infamous 0-0 tie with Vandy at Dudley Field in 1971, a game that set records for most punts. He also coached at Indiana where he whomped the Dores 44-13 in Bloomington in 1979.
So can Corso bring himself to pick Vandy? I know he likely has an Auburn Tigers head available to him from previous games. But not so fast, my friend (as he likes to say on the air), I wonder if Corso is looking for one of those Mr. Commodore hats they used to wear when we were in school? :)
Frankly, in terms of sports, there's never been anything quite like what's happening this week for Vandy Nation.
With the football team 4-0, and having achieved a national ranking for the first time in over a quarter of century, the visit of Game Day crew for the Auburn game is just one more sign of just how quickly Vanderbilt's star is rising on the collegiate gridiron scene this year (recent articles in publications like Sports Illustrated also help in this regard).
But Vanderbilt fans always remain cautious. They've had their hopes crushed so many times over the years (even to just achieve the program's first winning season since 1982), there is bound to be some apprehension about how this weekend will turn out. After all Auburn remains a 4-point favorite.
That's understandable, but it's probably best to just savor the moment and revel in the tremendous buzz going around campus and throughout Nashville. An excitement exceeded only by the upcoming presidential debate to be held this coming Tuesday, October 7 at Belmont University, just a few blocks away from the Game Day site.
Wow! Talk about the eyes of the nation, and even the world, being on Nashville the next few days!
October, 1972: The Vanderbilt campus: The Living View The Dead
About the only thing that comes close to any of this while we were on campus at Vanderbilt is the Grateful Dead concert held on Alumni Lawn the fall of our senior year. In those days, the GD (Grateful Dead) generated the kind of excitment and enthusiam among music fans that GD (Game Day) does today with college football fans. And like Game Day, a rock group with the unique popularity of the Grateful Dead had never even come close to being on the Vanderbilt campus. That only made the appearance back then about as exciting in many ways as the Game Day appearance is now.
The concert by the Rolling Stones at Vanderbilt Stadium a few years ago might have come close, but I am not sure that group had the same strong following among the students, as the Dead did back in 1972.
By the way, the anniversary of the Vanderbilt Grateful Dead concert is October 21, so we will be blogging throughout the day that Tuesday (which is just a few days before our Reunion weekend) with a look back at that famous day on campus, complete with photos, news stories, and even a web site link where you can actually hear a live recording of some of the songs played that day by the Dead.
In the meantime, please feel free to leave your thoughts and share your excitement about Vanderbilt's current success on the gridiron and/or your memories of the Dead concert. Thanks....