In this game virtually everything is lost with a loss to the Wildcats; the chance for a winning season, the bowl streak, the winning streak over UK are all at stake. Vanderbilt will even fall behind in the all-time series which currently sits at 41-41-4 with a loss.
It's true this young season has been somewhat tumultuous for the Commodores and Derek Mason's tenure in Nashville hasn't gotten off to the start many envisioned. However, the players have shown us they can rally in the second half to win a game. They also helped set a record for number of visor tossing by one of the finest head coaches in the business. The potential for this team is great.
This Vanderbilt team certainly has the potential to beat Kentucky. Players like Adam Butler, Caleb Azubike, Ralph Webb, C.J. Duncan and Steven Scheu and others all give Vandy hope. Many of the players on the Vanderbilt roster were part of some of the greatest teams or recruiting classes in Commodore history. The talent is there to pull off a win over Kentucky. The players- and coaches- just need to empower themselves to come home with a 'W'. Not just to keep a winning streak going or to make their coaches look good, or for their school: they need to win for themselves and if they do that the rest will take care of itself.
In 1896 these two teams played for the first time ever, with Vanderbilt eking out a 6-0 victory. That first win grew into a string of 17 straight games without a loss to the Wildcats. Sure most of us could care less about the VU-UK series over 100 years ago, however, that period of Commodore dominance can serve as an example to the current players. During that early period of Wildcat futility the 'Dores won lopsided games like 50-0 (1897) and 40-0 (1907). However, during that run the men in Black and Gold also pulled out close wins like 5-0 (1917) and 21-14 (1921). The learning message to the current team is that domination may not always result in a lopsided score. Sometimes teams have not-so-stellar years but are still able to get the job done, whether 50-0 or 2-0, against a rival opponent.
On Saturday the Commodores need to go for broke and pull out a win over the Wildcats to keep the good times going. And keep the 'Cats in the rear view mirror.
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Also see: Three Keys Vanderbilt at Kentucky