Actually, I don't know if you can say that being beaten 49-14 is as much of a nightmare for Vanderbilt as rather just another day at the SEC gridiron for them. However, you can say the game began with the look of an unfolding nightmare for the Hogs. Vandy scored on their first two possessions, and their first time play caller was making it look like he had been calling up ball plays all his life as the Hogs looked clueless about how to stop the Vanderbilt offense. Then for some reason Vandy changes quarterbacks for a series, an interception follows, the Hogs then score, and that mysterious force in college football known as momentum takes its bag of treats and sits down on the Hogs' bench for the rest of the game. Here are some thoughts about Vandy 2010, which was a much better experience than Vandy 2005 "The Haunting."
*Have you ever pulled out a winter coat and found a ten or tweny dollar bill stuffed in a pocket? Wow, I had this all summer and didn't know it! Found money! Must spend, must spend, haha. Well, that was sorta the feeling that I got when I discovered I do in fact have Fox Sports South and would be able to see the Hogs play their homecoming game from about five counties away here in Oklahoma.
*Didn't care for the announcers leading off the broadcast by reminding us that we won't be going to Atlanta. Thanks! I'll be sure to invite Tim Couch over to dinner sometime and begin our conversation by telling him he won't ever win a Super Bowl.
* Like I imagine a lot of you were, I was also watching the Georgia / Florida game on CBS when the Fox Sports broadcast from Fayetteville began. I guess I was pulling for Georgia because we beat them this year and that Urban Meyer is just about as pleasant as rat droppings. Alas, Florida wins in overtime and proves again that the CBS game at 2:30 is by some law of nature just about always going to be the most entertaining game of the day.
* Pre-game Thought: Never underestimate the Hogs' ability to play down to the level of the competition.
* The lack of defense on the first two Vanderbilt offensive possessions and the special teams breakdown with the simple extra point sure seemed to say that my pre-game thought was going to be the reality of the night. I could see us having to mount a last minute Mallett led drive to get Hocker in range to kick a field goal to beat lowly Vanderbilt.
* In the past the Hogs have had the ability to make freshmen or off the bench quarterbacks look like Heisman contenders. They have an odd "gift" for this. I was wondering if this was carrying over to first time play callers as well. The announcers kept on and on about how Vandy's new offensive play caller had never done this before. Were the first two series just beginner's luck? Vandy didn't go anywhere after that.
* Please keep reading, but this is probably my best observation on the night. Jarius Wright dressed up for Halloween. Yeah, he went as Joe Adams! I am worried now about Childs, but I do love that we have so much depth at this position. Remember when it was pretty much just Marcus Monk?
* Rudell Crimm (a great name for a Halloween eve game) was deadly in the secondary with an interception that helped turn the momentum and a wonderful play on the ball that prevented a Vanderbilt touchdown reception.
* My love for Knile Davis grows by each hand-off. Did you see with what authority he ran his last touchdown in? D.J. Williams gave him a key block, but I think Davis would have ran straight through the defender.
* My sense that this was the homecoming opponent we were looking for came when Vanderbilt allowed a safety that morphed from two points to nine points after the Hogs scored a touchdown on the following possession.
* Negatives of the night: Childs getting hurt again, the lack of focus /stops by the defense to start the game, and worse of all was the continuing trend of our shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties. We had thirteen last night for 130 yards. That will get you beat most likely in Columbia or Starkville.
* I still pine to see Brandon Mitchell play some role in a game. I thought we might see him at the end of last night's game, but it was Tyler Wilson time instead. I think Brandon could be a late season Dexter McCluster type of impact player, so I am hoping Bobby Petrino is going to unleash him here soon in some fashion. The guy is elusive.
* The audience looked pretty thin there in the 4th quarter. Seeing as we finally came upon a fourth quarter where we could relax and just enjoy the game, I don't understand why people would leave. If I had been there in Fayetteville, I would have been enjoying every last second of it.
* USC, Michigan, Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, all have hurt the Hogs - all lost this weekend! A big Nelson Muntz "Ha! Ha!" to them.
* BIG PICTURE THOUGHTS: We find ourselves at 6-2 (Bowl eligible) and still in the Top 25 with two thirds of the season in the record books. But for two truly nightmarish fourth quarters against teams from Alabama, we could very well be where Auburn is now. As I remember Roseannaannadannah (Gilda Radner) from the old SNL skit saying, "It is always something." Yeah, it seems that way with the Hogs. But 11-2, a January 1 bowl, and a top ten finish are all still out there waiting for a team that can avoid penalities, execute on offense, clamp down on defense, and not turn over the ball. Even if it was just against Vanderbilt, I am encouraged that of those things we did all but the first one last night. Here is hoping we do all of them next weekend. We'll certainly need to do so. The slayer of Alabama is no Vanderbilt.