Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 14, 2013

ALL IN THE GAME: I hope that I don't get spoiled

By Jim Butler
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — As my team number whatever continues its journey toward what is hopefully another bowl appearance, I hope that I don't get to the point that it is win at all costs. That will not happen with us Vanderbilt fans,  as winning is a good thing for us, but not the only thing.

The recent big wins have meant a lot to us though, and it would be nice to sew up a bowl bid this weekend, as we take on Randy Bond's favorite team from Lexington.

Of course, the Commodores are large favorites, and we expect the victory, but we also realize that this year in the SEC has been very unpredictable. We have a young, inexperienced quarterback who has been far from spectacular with his play, but he has managed to do what is necessary to win.

Of course, I'm sure that you all have heard the stories like this is the first time Vandy has beaten Florida down there since Harry Truman was president, and it is the first time ever that the Commodores have beaten the Gators and the Bulldogs in the same year.

These stories are certainly true and that is another good thing about being a Vandy fan. It's easier to set some kind of record for yourself. I guess it's a little like being stupid makes it easier to learn something every day.

Whatever, we are going to enjoy our ride as long as it lasts and hopefully the ride will include another victory over the Volunteers. If it doesn't, then so be it. We will still have had a big time.

Even my Rook playing buddies from Wednesday nights past have called to offer feeble excuses or reasons for Vanderbilt's recent success. I can understand those like Buck Woods, Jack Napier and Randy Swafford thinking like that because they are subject to being swayed by the orange rantings of Frank Gale and the foundation that he laid for team number 117 at the beginning of this year.

I was surprised, though, that my barrister friend Roger York and retired educator Donnie Loveday would turn on me. I guess it's like the old saying goes, "If you sleep with dogs then you're gonna get fleas."

Anyway, as I said we're gonna ride this roller coaster as long as we can, knowing that it can be derailed at any time.

I guess that I was wrong about the Oregon Ducks. A loss to Stanford, another brainiac school, wasn't expected. I imagine that we can all make mistakes.

I watched a little of the Tennessee game with Auburn and that was another surprise to me. I fully expected the Vols to take that one, but the Tigers may be somewhat better than everyone thought. Gus Malzahn has turned that program around very quickly.

Well, Frank and friends, enjoy your week off and let's all look forward to next week's big contest in Knoxville. I foresee a lot of black and gold flags flying on the eastward trek from West End Ave. to Knoxville. I expect you to yell loudly for yours and I'll be clamoring for mine. Somebody will win and life will go on for the losers as well.

Go Panthers! Go Jets! Go USA!

(JIm Butler is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)