Auburn won their first meeting with Vanderbilt way back in 1893 by a score of 30-10, but would only beat the Commodores 6 more times in the 25 other meetings through 1955 (a 25-13 loss in the Gator Bowl). So to get that straight, Auburn's record with Vanderbilt up until 1955 was 7-19-1, and 10 of those 19 losses were shutouts. Who was Vanderbilt? The Green Bay Packers?
After 23 years of regrouping, the series picked back up in 1978. Since then Auburn has owned the series with a 13-1 record against the Commodores. You may remember that the lone loss came the last time Auburn and Vanderbilt met. It was 2008, we missed an extra point in the first quarter (the final was 13-14), Tony Franklin and Tommy Tuberville hated each other, and that was all she wrote. Here, let's watch a few highlights to get you good and mad:
To put a slightly positive spin on that loss, it was the best Vanderbilt team in years, College Gameday was in town, and the campus was all abuzz about the debate going on the next day, but a few of the students decided to walk on over to the game and made Vanderbilt Stadium rock... well at least the three-fifths of the stadium that wasn't Auburn fans.
So let's just get this out of the way. I hate Vanderbilt. Why? Here are a few reasons:
1. They do not belong in the SEC. They'd struggle to win in the Big East. Everyone jokes about this, but it's true. Their sole reason for being allowed to stay in the conference is to help with the conference's academic reputation. Football is king in the SEC, and they've had two winning seasons and only one bowl win (only three total bowl games) in 30 years.
You want to talk about Auburn being bad this one season. Vanderbilt's been doing it for decades. They cling to the SEC to help with their athletic resume, but they should have been let go a long time ago.
2. They are everybody's "lovable losers." I hate the Chicago Cubs. Why? Because they have a bunch of bandwagon fans who only pull for them because they've lost so much. It's the same way with Vandy. Everybody loves them because they are not really a threat in football, but they'd love to see them slip up and beat somebody every once in a while. Yes, most of this sentiment is coming from 2008.
3. They try to act all smart and stuff. Yes, I get it. You had rich parents that had you tutored from day one. But no, you probably won't be my boss one day. I'm older than you. My senior status trumps you. Plus, I have never ever met a Vanderbilt grad in the workplace. That probably has something to do with the fact that I wash dishes for a living, but still.
Don't act all academically superior, and then get in my face when you luck up and win one game in 30 years. You can't have both. Plus, that's not very smart trash talk. You must not have passed your Statistics class.
4. They seem to own Auburn in basketball and baseball. Yes, I know this is really Auburn's fault, and most teams seem to own Auburn in basketball right now. But there's just something about losing to Vanderbilt that really gets me. I know it's the whole idea that they are a small, smart school with bad athletes in most sports, but when it comes to baseball and basketball, they have decent players. I can't get my mind around this for some reason, so the hate lives on.
5. Their basketball "arena" infuriates me to no end. I know this has nothing to do with the football game this week, but I really can't stand the musical venue, court-on-a-stage, basketball arena they have. Everybody talks about it because it's "so cool." But it's a schtick that they use to get in opposing team's heads. Nobody plays or practices in an arena like that. If you're so good at basketball, you shouldn't need a schtick. Yeah, I hate you, court-on-a-stage.
I don't care how bad Auburn has looked this season, and I don't care how fired up James Franklin has the Vandy fan (yes, fan, singular), Auburn should never, EVER lose to Vanderbilt. I mean that even more than I do with Ole Miss. Never.
2008 was a fluke, but 2012 almost has that same feel. The difference is that Vanderbilt is not in any way decent this season. Is Auburn decent? Not right now. But what happens when not decent with talent takes on not decent with thoughts of thermonuclear physics? On the football field, talent should win.
The current series record stands at 20-20-1, so this is the rubber game. A win means everything, a loss means a losing record to Vanderbilt. I don't even want to think about that.
I know the 40,000 seat stadium, with 1/4th of it likely being Auburn fans, will be so raucous, bringing memories to our players of playing in a big high school playoff game, but I think we've got this one. I'll go over more of this in my preview on Friday, but Auburn should be able to run the ball all day and get a win to turn the season around. If not, well hell...