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Vandy Takes Some Heat For Dumping A Pair Of Big Ten Foes

Down South we do a lot of complaining when schools from other leagues cancel series against SEC teams — I’m looking at you, Ohio State.  But this time around, the national media has picked up on the fact that a Southeastern Conference school is the one cancelling games.

And they’re doing it by letter, too.

Quoting The Chicago Tribune, CollegeFootballTalk.com reports that Vandy officials simply sent a letter to Northwestern cancelling games with the school in 2013 and 2014.  Northwestern beat the Commodores in Evanston, Illinois earlier this season.  Now the Wildcats are left scrambling to find a new opponent.

But Northwestern wasn’t the only school to get a “Dear John” letter from Nashville.  According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio State AD Gene Smith was none too pleased that Vanderbilt canceled it’s game in Columbus next year.

 

“Very disappointed that it happened this way.  We have 11 months, and we didn’t get a phone call, we just got a letter.  So I’m very disappointed in that.  I would have preferred a phone call as opposed to a form letter, but that’s just the way it is.”

 

So one would assume that Smith at least dialed up Georgia and Tennessee officials when he ixnayed future contests against those schools.

Vanderbilt — with Northwestern (at home) and Ohio State (on the road) off the 2013 schedule — will now face nonconference foes UAB, Austin Peay, Massachusetts and Wake Forest instead.  Vandy AD David Williams tried to spin the dumping of the Ohio State game:

 

“I’m not sure replacing anybody with SEC teams makes life easier.  We end up playing two SEC teams withing the first three weeks.  Some people would say we’re better off playing non-conference games then.”

 

Uh, yeah.  I don’t think anyone’s going to say that a home date with Ole Miss is as tough as a road trip to Ohio State.  No offense to Ole Miss, but that one doesn’t fly.

More likely, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin looked at how Rich Brooks at Kentucky (last decade) and Dan Mullen at Mississippi State (this year) scheduled patsies-only outside the conference and got off to hot starts and remained bowl eligible as a result.  If you’re building a program, it’s better to go 6-6 and go bowling thanks to a laugher of a schedule than it is to go 5-7, miss a bowl game, and get smacked around by tough nonconference foes.

It’s sad that that’s the case, but Mississippi State’s #12 national ranking this week proves just how effective the cupcake method works.  The Bulldogs have that ranking despite their best win coming against a 3-3 Tennessee squad that may open with an 0-5 SEC mark.

If you’re not in the national title hunt and don’t believe you have a prayer of putting together a “special season” type run for the crown, why not schedule creampuffs?  If fans and poll voters don’t care, why should coaches and ADs?

Cupcakes for everyone!

 


4 comments
crash34
crash34

Apparently,  Coach Franklin doesn't think that Vandy is able to beat Northwestern and Ohio State so he had rather not play them. I think that Vandy has taken a step backwards this year on the field. Franklin needs some wins soon.

sojourner
sojourner

time was vandy used to be the only sec team the big ten would consider playing.  the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

RAB83
RAB83

Vandy should just tell the B1G they're upgrading their strength of schedule with teams from the MAC and Sunbelt

DanHogan
DanHogan

Too bad.  The non-conference games are the only way to compare conferences against one-another.  And I have been hoping the new measuring stick would be 7 wins instead of 6 (with some sort of exception for teams that had not gone in a while - but that's another topic).  

 

I'd rather see teams have 8 conference games and 2 reasonably tough non-conference.  Maybe the conference challenge model that the B1G and Pac abandoned last year would be a better model.

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