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SEC Banter: Potential upset on the horizon for Bama-Vanderbilt matchup
Vanderbilt wide receiver C.J. Duncan (19) kneels in the end zone after scoring a touchdown on a 3-yard pass reception against Kansas State the in the first half of a Sept. 16 game played in Nashville, Tenn. - photo by AP photo

As part of the “SEC on CBS” television package, head honchos at the Columbia Broadcasting System choose which Southeastern Conference football game to televise on Saturday afternoons.

Eschewing an all-bulldog affair between upstart No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Georgia, this Saturday the network brings us No. 1 You-Know-Who at unranked Vanderbilt, live from Music City.

Can Vanderbilt pull off a shocker?  Fresh off an upset over 18th-ranked Kansas State, the undefeated Commodores and head coach Derek Mason sure think they can.

A win over Alabama as the sun sets Saturday over Dudley Field would be nothing short of monumental. Just how big would this be for Vanderbilt?

Bigger than the $67,392 in annual tuition and fees to attend Vanderbilt. Or, just shy of $270,000 over four years.

Maybe even bigger than Vanderbilt’s $3.8 billion endowment. Honest question: would Vandy grads shave off a cool billion from the endowment for a win over Bama? I think 99% of Vandy alumni would and 100% of Vandy trustees would probably not.

Definitely bigger than the check at Jimmy Kelly’s Steakhouse in Nashville during parents’ weekend, when dinner’s on daddy.

Enough speculation, however. Banter went straight to the source and asked several Vanderbilt graduates what they’d do if the ’Dores pulled off the upset.

Here are their responses, edited only for brevity but otherwise authentic answers:

“I’d get a tattoo of a Commodore riding an elephant.”

“I won’t be in Nashville, but I’d find the nearest goal posts to tear down and celebrate with some Auburn fans.”

“I’d be so thrilled that I would, for the first time ever, attend Vandy’s next home game and remain in attendance for all four quarters, elevating me to elite fan status for life.”

One Vandy fan waxed poetic: “A cool crisp air will blow through Music City on Tuesday as a steady stream of late 1970s RVs with Menthol-smoking grandmas and retired power tool salesmen, I mean Bama fans, rolls into town.”

“Post-game party at the SAE house will be epic as the Vandy D shocks the Tide in a low scoring 17-16 shocker at Dudley Field, perhaps the biggest upset in SEC history.”

“It’d be just like the 1969 Commodores that beat Bear Bryant at Dudley Field.  We are extremely proud of that 4-6 team.”

“If the ‘Dores win, all 75 Vanderbilt fans in the stadium would be thrilled!”

For fairness, SEC Banter also questioned several Alabama fans for their view if the Tide lost to Vandy:

“Didn’t Vanderbilt get rid of their athletic department?”


“They say there are a lot worse fates than death.  Losing to Vandy is the only one I can think of.”

“I’m about to tee off; don’t bother me with stupid questions.”

“I won’t care. Unlike most Bama fans, I have work the following Monday.”

Silly comments aside, I think Vanderbilt has a chance. A slightly better chance than Lloyd Christmas’s one-in-a-million shot at ending up with Mary Swanson in Dumb & Dumber. Definitely a better chance than Whataburger opening an Atlanta location.

How can Bossier City, LA have two Whataburgers but the entire state of Georgia has just one (in Thomasville)? This is criminal.

Anyway, the ‘Dores are stingy and lead all of college football in total defense. Sure, they’re 103rd in the nation in total offense, but what team better than Alabama to pad those offensive stats against?  [Cough, cough.]

I hope the CBS honchos were spot-on in selecting this contest for the showcase 3:30 p.m. kickoff. Those Menthol-smokin’ grandmas and retired power tool salesmen don’t want to make the trip from Alabama for nothing.

Meantime, my oldest daughter says she might want to attend Vanderbilt for college. I’m calling Whataburger to see if I can open an Atlanta store to help pay tuition. I’d only have to sell 67,699 burgers over four years to pay for it.

Any Bama fans interested in flipping burgers, please email me at Thanks!