Bennett believes for Commodores

HOOVER, Ala. - Vanderbilt has suffered through 24 straight seasons without a bowl, but Earl Bennett isn't concerned with the past. He thinks the ‘Dores can break through the barrier in a big way- or rather the BCS way.

"Playing at home is always an advantage to us", said Bennett, whose Commodores will play eight of 12 games in Nashville. "We feel like we can win each game that we play. The BCS is on our mind right now, going to a BCS bowl game. We've been working hard during the offseason staying positive and humble, and just getting ready for the season to start."

Lofty expectations haven't been a common occurrence at Vanderbilt, but Bennett might be the one guy that the public will believe. After all, he is just 47 catches shy of the SEC record. And, oh yeah, he is only a junior.

Former Kentucky receiver Craig Yeast currently holds the record with 208 receptions, but that could be over with well before November considering Bennett is averaging around 83 catches a season.

The Vandy wideout doesn't hold the record in high priority, although it will need to be obliterated for the ‘Dores to finish on the up-side of six wins in 2007.

"It would be nice to break all the records," he said. "But I'm more concerned with going to a BCS game. That would be a lot better than breaking any records."

Most high-profile players are difficult to believe when individual accolades are pushed aside for the greater good of team success in their quotes, but Bennett isn't one of them.

Sporting a black and gold suit, Bennett was the personification of humbleness in not only his words but he actions.

Bennett returned to his hometown Birmingham for Media Day, but the throng of reporters wasn't his only duty this week back in Alabama. The Birmingham City Council presented Bennett with a medal signifying him as an outstanding citizen due to charity work.

His character and ability were both recognized by the Vandy head coach.

"We knew Earl was a good player when we recruited and signed him, but he's been pretty special," Bobby Johnson said. "I just hope he can stay healthy and do all the things he's capable of doing, because he's a pretty special player, an outstanding young man."

Bennett received All-SEC honors from the media Friday morning and will get his catches this season. However, the supporting cast will have to also come up big if Vanderbilt's Silver Anniversary of its last bowl game results in another one.

The task won't be easy or probable, but Bennett believes it.

So why not, he has he the confidence and the credentials to be convincing.

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