For once, Vanderbilt had the chance to prove that the ‘Dores are not the punching bag of SEC football. Better yet, we had the chance to prove we were an elite team in the SEC; a force to be reckoned with.
After pulling off a stunning upset over the 18th ranked Kansas State Wildcats, Vanderbilt students chanted, “We want ‘Bama!” You can’t blame the kids for being excited. Like Alabama, we were undefeated, and had plenty to brag about: Kyle Shurmur was (statistically) the best quarterback in the nation, Ralph Webb was (statistically) the greatest running back in Vanderbilt history, and our defense was (statistically) the best in the country. Maybe, just maybe, we would shock the world by beating Alabama.
If by some miracle we did win, this would be an upset of unprecedented proportions. If one were to consult the history book of the history of historic upsets in history, you’d see this game atop the list: Vanderbilt and Alabama, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé at the 2009 VMA’s, Vanessa in season twenty-one of The Bachelor, and David and fucking Goliath.
Derek Mason and the Vanderbilt Football Team may have had the odds stacked against them, but this was our chance to shine.
“Is it our time? Are we the chosen ones?” we asked ourselves.
Not even close. Alabama absolutely pummeled the Commodores by a score of 59-0. It was as easy as taking candy from a baby. Without further ado, here’s a step-by-step manual of how to take candy from a baby: Alabama style.
Step One: Hype it up.
You want people to know that you’re that asshole that’ll do anything for a laugh. Let ‘em know that you’re about to take candy from a defenseless, helpless, and hopeless baby.
Our dear friends at ESPN and SEC Network decided to do just that for the babies of Vanderbilt University. After days of setting up, they broadcasted college football talk shows live from the Ingram Commons. On Saturday, they broadcasted SEC Nation, the best way for an SEC football fan to waste two hours of a Saturday morning. Everyone was trying to get in the background of the broadcast and meet the notorious Tim Tebow. SEC Network’s Twitter account, along with Vanderbilt Football’s Twitter account, was absolutely blowing up. At the time, it seemed probable that we would lose, but even the analysts on campus thought we’d cover the 18.5 Las Vegas point spread. Fifty nine points later, we see how idiotic these predictions were.
Step Two: Make sure everyone is watching. It’ll be funnier
The baby is going to cry. A lot. It may try and put up a fight, but in the end, it’ll lose in embarrassing fashion. Why not make sure everyone is watching?
If you’re wondering exactly how big of an audience you need, ‘Bama can help. Your target audience should be the entire goddamn country.
For the sixth time in Vanderbilt football’s not-so-storied history, this game was nationally televised on CBS. From a Commodore’s perspective, it seems peculiar that the Athletic Department would agree to having the whole nation watch us get assaulted. However, from CBS’ perspective, it’s a great marketing technique: nationally televise some wicked man named Nick Saban snatching a lollipop from a baby in an unattended stroller.
Step Three: To maximize perspective laughs, give the Baby a little, teeny, tiny bit of a chance.
It’s not as funny if you just walk up to the baby, take the candy, and walk away. Before you begin your taunting, make yourself seem daunting to the poor little baby. It’s provocative, it gets the people going!
Alabama began the game by giving Vanderbilt fans, players, and coaches the illusion that miracles really do happen. On Vanderbilt’s first drive, Alabama jokester Anfernee Jennings decided to make it interesting. His roughing the passer penalty resulted in a Vanderbilt first down, to which Vanderbilt fans thought, “Holy shit! We got this!” The very next play, on first and ten, Shurmur slings it to star tight-end Jared Pinkney, who showed us that he deserved to get his candy taken away. After having one too many Butterfingers in the locker room, Pinkney tipped the pass right into the hands of Ronnie Harrison. Interception. Oh well.
It didn’t end there: After the interception, ‘Bama failed to score on their first drive of the game, giving us even more hope. They ran seven plays before punting it back to the Commodores, and now, our thoughts were, “Holy shit! Our defense has got this!”
As much as you want me to say, “it didn’t end there,” this time, it actually did.
Step Four: Steal that shit. Make it look easy.
It’s not hard, people. What is the baby going to do? I’ll tell you what they won’t do: put on an offensive showing. In this case, Alabama picked through Vanderbilt’s defense for 677 yards of total offense, while the helpless babe—I mean, the Commodores, gained a meager 78 yards.
Put on the hurt. Well, don’t hurt the baby, but in football terms, it may look like this: Interception, touchdown, touchdown, forced fumble, touchdown, touchdown, another forced fumble, field goal, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown. Not a peep from the baby or its offense. Also, somewhere in the beginning of that journey to a 59-0 victory, take out your starters and let your backups get some candy too. You can’t let your starters get too fat, especially if they have a National Championship to play for. By letting their backups feast, Alabama did just that: two quarterbacks threw at least ten passes, four running backs had at least five rushing attempts, and seven different receivers caught passes.
Well, better luck next time Vanderbilt. We’re hoping for the best this week in the Swamp. Now it’s our turn to take candy from babies. Only problem is that these babies aren’t quite as vulnerable. The Florida Gators are currently ranked 21st in the nation and are ready to show us what they’re made of on their home field. Uh-oh.
Written by an embarrassed sports writer for The Vanderbilt Hustler using the alias Gimon Sibbs