A: Bill Pace began his Vanderbilt coaching career facing Georgia Tech and William & Mary. Georgia Tech was coached by future head man of the Cleveland Browns, Bud Carson. It was Carson's debut with Tech as well. William & Mary was coached by Marv Levy, who coached the Kansas City Chiefs and directed the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls.
Q2: In college football history what do Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Wichita State, and Marshall share in common that no other schools can say? Hint: It isn't something they are happy about.
A: These three schools saw all or part of their teams perish as a result of airplane crashes. Cal Poly SLO lost several players as a result of a crash shortly after takeoff from Toledo's airport in 1960. In October of 1970, one of two chartered flights en route to Utah crashed in the Colorado Rocky Mountains killing multiple players. Just a month later, Marshall lost its entire team and coaches coming back from a game at East Carolina. After the Wichita State crash, Marshall decided to change their plans from chartering two smaller planes to one larger DC-9. It crashed upon approach at the Huntington, West Virginia airport.
Q3: Who is the famous alum and former graduate assistant coach from the Cal Poly SLO team that is pertinent to question number two? What is the relevance? Hint: He wears a Super Bowl Ring.
A: John Madden is the Cal Poly SLO alum. He was a graduate assistant coach in 1960 and almost was aboard the fateful plane that crashed. At the last minute, he was left behind to coach a junior varsity game at home. That's why to this day, he prefers to ride the Madden Cruiser to Monday Night Football games.
Q4: What do question number one and question number two share in common? Hint: It's someone's alma mater.
A: Bill Pace was an alumnus of Wichita State.
Q5: This is not a fictitious person, but it sure sounds like it. Who am I? I played tackle for Vanderbilt in the most successful four-year period since the Southeastern Conference formed. I turned down a basketball scholarship offer from Adolph Rupp and Kentucky to play football for the Commodores. As odd as it sounds, I became a player/coach for my junior high basketball team. What's even more strange is my junior high team played on the high school level and advanced to our district finals!!! After leaving Vandy, I became a high school football coach just outside of Nashville and built the program into a perennial state power. I advanced to the college ranks and guided a future Division 1-A program for a dozen years, retiring as the all-time leader in wins at that school. Oh, and after being retired for 24 years, I strapped the whistle back on and became a private coach for my former team's raw quarterback. I tutored him well enough for him to make an NFL roster and eventually become a starter, where he guided his team to the Super Bowl. Once again, I am a real person and all these things really happened. Who am I?
A: Russ Faulkinberry. As a junior high student in Murfreesboro during WWII, his junior high basketball team did not have a coach. He took on the duties. There were very few junior high programs playing basketball during the war, so they played in the regular high school district. Faulkinberry played at Vanderbilt from 1947-1950, the best four consecutive year period since Vandy joined the SEC. He later coached football and established the great tradition at Gallatin High School and then followed that up with a brilliant 12-year career at Southwest Louisiana (known today as UL-Lafayette). He retired in 1973, but came out of retirement in 1997 to be Jake Delhomme's personal Quarterback coach.
Q6: Vanderbilt Quarterback Bill Wade was the first pick in the 1952 NFL draft. He enjoyed a successful career, but there were five other players in that class who made it to the Hall of Fame. Three of these players were fellow first round picks, one was a second round pick, and one was a free agent of Wade's very same Los Angeles Rams. Can you name these five? Hint: Two of them were college teammates from a West Coast school that no longer plays football, while one saw his fame increase after his playing days.
A: Ollie Matson, halfback from the U. of San Francisco went in the first round to the Chicago Cardinals; Hugh McElhenny, halfback from Washington, went in the first round to the San Francisco 49ers, where he was named 1952 Rookie of the Year; Frank Gifford, Halfback from Southern Cal, went in the first round to the New York Giants; Gino Marchetti, Defensive End from the U. of San Francisco, went in the second round to the Detroit Lions, and he would later be named the best defensive end in the NFL's first 50 years; and Dick "Night Train" Lane was signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Rams after a hitch in the United States Army. Lane promptly intercepted 14 passes as a rookie (they only played 12 games back then). As for Bill Wade, he was selected to two Pro Bowls and won an NFL Championship with the Chicago Bears in 1963.
Q7: Who is the only quarterback in NCAA Division 1 history to start more than 20 games and graduate with an unbeaten and untied record? This player also went undefeated in his high school career, leaving football never having lost a game. Hint: An All-American college teammate moved to Nashville after a fine NFL career and became famous in another profession.
A: Penn State's Chuck Burkhart went 22-0 in his two years as the varsity starting quarterback in 1968 and 1969. His high school teams went undefeated every year as well. The famous teammate who starred in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and later became a star as a music writer in Nashville was Mike Reid. A few other stars on the 1969 team included Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell (halfback Johnny Pittman actually gained more yards than either of them) and tight end Ted Kwalick, who enjoyed a long career in the NFL.
Q8: Which Division 1 National Champion lost two games during that season? Hint: Their head coach was a native Tennessean with ties to General Neyland.
A: Minnesota went 8-2 in 1960 yet won the national title. One of those losses came in the Rose Bowl to Washington after the last official poll was released. Washington and Ole Miss both received unofficial national titles after the bowls. Murray Warmath was the Gopher coach in those days. He grew up in Humboldt and played for General Neyland at Tennessee.
Q9: Which Vanderbilt head coach had a twin brother on his coaching staff?
A: Art Guepe's identical twin brother, Al, was the backfield coach at Vandy.
Q10: At Vanderbilt home game when did "The Wave" first appear? (I'm not talking about Tulane; I'm referring to the crowd standing up and down in serpentine step)
A: The first time the wave appeared at a Vanderbilt home game was against Kansas in 1984. The Commodores were in the process of blowing out the Jayhawks like a prairie tornado, and the wave started early in the 4th Quarter.
Q11: Prior to the current practice field, where did Vanderbilt's football teams practice?
A: Vanderbilt practiced at McGugin Field, known today as Hawkins Field (the baseball stadium. Conditions were less than ideal to say the least.
Q12: When was the last year Vanderbilt still had a mathematical chance to win the Southeastern Conference championship as it prepared to play Tennessee?
A: In 1958, Vanderbilt entered the Tennessee game with a 2-0-3 SEC mark. Both LSU and Auburn had yet to lose a conference game and if the Bayou Bengals had lost to Tulane and the War Eagles had lost to Alabama, a Vandy win over Tennessee would have given the Commodores the crown. Vandy had a week off prior to the Vols, and during that time Auburn beat Alabama to eliminate the chance. LSU clobbered Tulane on its way to the national title, while 3-6 Tennessee upset 5-1-3 Vandy.
Q13: Who was the leading rusher for Vandy when they played Alabama in 1996?
A: It was punter Bill Marinangel, who ran a fake punt 81 yards for a touchdown on his only carry.
Q14: Which Division 1 National Champion led the NCAA in 18 statistical categories including scoring offense, total offense, rushing offense, rushing defense (the lowest in the post WWII era), and total defense (the last team to hold opponents under 100 total yards a game). Hint: A future Heisman Trophy winner was this team's leading rusher, but he never played an NFL game due to an untimely illness that led to his death at the age of 23.
A: In 1959, Syracuse overpowered their opponents. They yielded an average 19 rushing yards and 77 passing yards for a total of 96. Led by superstar halfback Ernie Davis, the Orangemen rushed for more than 300 yards per game. Davis developed Leukemia shortly after graduating and died before he ever could play a game for the Cleveland Browns. The Browns could have had two superstar backs from Syracuse starting on offense. That other guy, someone named Jim Brown, was fairly good I hear.
Q15: Which former Vanderbilt head coach later became the head coach and athletic director at a smaller division program, and as A.D., hired a basketball coach that would later pace the sidelines at Tennessee?
A: Bill Edwards left Vandy in 1952 spending a few years in the NFL as an assistant. He emerged as the head coach at Wittenburg College in Ohio, where he developed them into a small college version of today's Southern Cal. As A.D., he hired Ray Mears to coach the basketball team. Mears took them to the small college national title before going to Tennessee in 1962.
Q16: There is still a chance that the Southeastern Conference Championship game this year could have two 11-0 teams squaring off. When was the last time two SEC teams concluded the regular season by facing each other with undefeated and untied records? Hint: obviously they are big rivals
A: The year was 1971. Alabama (10-0) and Auburn (9-0) faced off at Legion Field in Birmingham. The Tide completely shut down Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Pat Sullivan and ran their wishbone offense to near perfection, winning 31-7. It gave ‘Bama the privilege of being Nebraska's fodder for the Orange Bowl, while Auburn was forced to submit to the torture known as Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. The Tigers saw a much better wishbone offense in New Orleans, as Jack Mildren punished them all day. The final score was 40-22, but Auburn scored two touchdowns with two-point conversions in the closing minutes, after the score was 40-6 late in the game. Nebraska scored four first half TD's and took a 28-0 lead on Alabama into the locker. They scored 10 more points in the third quarter, and then the reserves allowed the Tide to score a late touchdown to avoid a shutout. The Huskers won 38-6 to win their second consecutive title and earn the accolades of best college team ever.
Q17: What former SEC All-American registered 30 tackles in a bowl game? His college coach had this to say about him: "He was one of the finest football players the world has ever seen. If runners stayed between the sidelines, he tackled them. He never had a bad day; he was 100 percent every day in practice and in the games."
A: Alabama's Lee Roy Jordan registered 30 tackles in the 1963 Orange Bowl. The Tide shutout Oklahoma 17-0. Jordan later led the Dallas Cowboys' "Doomsday Defense" to victory in Super Bowl VI.
Q18: What college team lost its first four games, then won all the rest, taking their conference title and winning in a New Year's Day Bowl. Hint: The head coach in Question #17 coached the head coach in this Question and lost to him in the bowl game.
A: Texas A&M lost its first four games in 1967, and then won six in a row to win the Southwest Conference title and gain the automatic Cotton Bowl bid. They came from behind to beat Alabama. A&M's coach was a young Gene Stallings, the first of "Bear's Boys" to beat him. Stallings later won a national title at Alabama.
Q19: What does current Tennessee Titans General Manager Floyd Reese have in common with a former Vanderbilt head coach? Hint: It is something that he achieved as a player.
A: He's too modest to admit it, but Floyd Reese won the Red Sanders award at UCLA in 1969. That award goes to the MVP of the season. That Bruin team went 8-0-1 before playing USC in the season finale (The Trojans were also 8-0-1). In a hard fought game, USC won 14-12 and then beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl.
Q20: Vanderbilt wide receiver Earl Bennett caught 16 passes against South Carolina, but it wasn't the most in a single game by a Commodore. Who once caught 20 passes in one game?
A: Norman Jordan caught 20 passes against Air Force in the 1982 Hall of Fame Bowl.
Bonus Question: What's the most total combined points scored in an NCAA football game in which neither team recorded a first down?
Bonus Answer: The date was October 7, 1916. Georgia Tech faced off against tiny Cumberland College from Lebanon, Tennessee. Neither team registered a first down all day. Cumberland's best play was a three-yard loss. Tech scored touchdowns on every scrimmage play. As you know, the total combined points scored were 222. That was actually the second time the Yellow Jackets had topped the century mark. They accomplished the feat three more times, all in 1918.
How did you do? Some of these were hard, but some might have been easy if you have been a reader of Vandymania the last five or so years. I'll have a basketball quiz some time during the Commodores' 2005-06 campaign.