By Jim Butler
This headline doesn't just refer to the football season, but the way that the Commodores finished their regular season. It does add to the glee of this wonderful time of year. If Vandy's winning streak ends in their bowl outing, and they are deserving of a good one, it will subtract nothing from the year that they have enjoyed through hard work and perserverance. Of course, coaching was also a major factor.
Of course, Mr. Gale contends that their wins were due to a pushover schedule. Rubbish! There has never been such a thing as an easy schedule for Vanderbilt. It is a good thing that Frank doesn't own a vineyard because all his grapes would be sour. The 'Dores outscored their final three opponents, which included UT, by a whopping 136-39. I don't care who you're playing, that's fairly impressive.
Will Vandy's success on the gridiron continue? I can only hope so, but my future doesn't hinge on it.
As I reflect back, I seem to remember that Vanderbilt had quite a bit of success on the hardwood also. They even managed to beat the national champions as they captured the SEC tournament title.
Anyway, that's enough of my gloating; though I should stretch it out, as I don't get the chance very often. I'm afraid that this year's version of the basketball Commodores won't give me much to rant about. They managed to score only 33 points in a loss to perennial roundball powerhouse Marist. Not a good sign.
As for the rabid Volunteer fans, there is much to look forward to depending on what name brand coach they are able to land and whether or not their three primary playmakers remain in school. I suspect that Cordarelle Patterson will leave for the NFL. At least there, he will be able to do his celebratory moves without fear of being penalized. There's no denying that he is a real football talent and will be picked very early in the draft.
On the basketball side for the Vols, they should have a very good year. Apparently, they made a very good hire with Cuonzo Martin.
Coaching in college seems to be a very difficult job, but the early retirement benefits are fantastic. The combined buyouts for Gene Chizik, Derek Dooley and related assistants is an astronomical figure.
Why are people paid for failure? Why not pay coaches based upon their won-loss records? Give them a really big payday for good wins and zilch for losses and that should be fair. That's way too simple though.
This SEC championship game between the Tide and the Bulldogs may be a real barn burner. At first, I thought that Alabama would win easily, but Coach Richt has Georgia playing really well. I just want whoever wins this one to thump the Irish.
It's hard to believe that the college football season has come and gone so quickly, but it has, and after this weekend, we can give our recliners a rest until the many bowl games begin.
Everyone continue to be good, as the Christmas season is here, and we all want to get what we've been hoping for. I'm looking for a new Vandy flag as mine is becoming frazzled.
I know that Hoss and Frank are wishing for a Jon Gruden under their tree. I doubt that will happen, but who knows.
Everyone have a great week and please remember that when it comes to sports, it's just a game.
Go Jets! Go Panthers! Go USA!
(Jim Butler is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)