Vanderbilt's Loss To Army a Serious Wake-Up Call

David RutzCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 31:  Head coach Bobby Johnson of the Vanderbilt Commodores looks on against the Boston College Eagles during the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl at LP Field on December 31, 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Welcome to the abyss.

Just when Vanderbilt's season seemed like it couldn't get much crummier, the Commodores bottomed out with a 16-13 loss to Army.

At least they got to overtime, right? The good thing about hitting bottom is there's no way to go except up.

This isn't gut-check time or anything like that for the offense. That would actually require the offense having guts. They've got nothing right now.

Any conceivable notions of another bowl eligible season crumbled when Warren Norman's fumble out of the back of the end zone in the overtime capped another day of near-total offensive incompetence. Three Army plays and a field goal later sealed the deal.

Poor Norman. His fumble cost them the game in overtime, but he was the only reason the Commodores got there. His 76-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was possibly the best highlight this year for Vanderbilt.

Unfortunately, it will be a footnote in a dismal loss.

The worst loss for Vanderbilt this decade? Possibly. It's the first time the team has lost to a non-BCS conference foe since falling to Middle Tennessee State in 2005.

The Commodores are 2-4, and no, neither of the teams they have beaten have come within seven points of a victory yet this season. Hardly quality wins.

What went wrong is what has gone wrong the whole season, and no changes are being made. The same penalties (two erased Commodore touchdowns), the same red zone inefficiencies.

Vanderbilt's offense is a broken record of failure. We need to change tracks.

Bobby Johnson has certainly advanced this program in the past few years, but his loyalty to his staff, particularly those calling the offense is both admirable and detrimental.

Any other staff in the conference would have been fired for the same constant lack of production Vanderbilt fans have been subjected to over the past two seasons.

A half-way decent offense might have gotten the Commodores eight or nine wins last year. A half-way decent offense would be 50 times better than what we've seen on the field this season any time Vanderbilt has faced a half-way decent opponent.

Something needs to be shaken up. The Commodores have not really been blown out in a game this year; their defense has played so well, despite being on the field over 35 minutes in each loss, that Vanderbilt has had a striking chance in the second half to win every game this season.

That's what makes this so frustrating. The offense is absolutely crippling this team, and it ruined this season.

There will not be a bowl game for Vanderbilt this year, that much is fairly certain. One year without one isn't going to kill anybody.

But will there be change?

If there isn't some sort of progress in the next six games, and at this point the only thing Vandy can do is improve, then Johnson needs to start thinking less about friendships and more about whether or not he really cares about this program.


    Auburn Lands 2019 4-Star ATH Jashawn Sheffield

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Auburn Lands 2019 4-Star ATH Jashawn Sheffield

    SDS Staff
    via Saturday Down South

    Florida State Lands 2019 4-Star DE Curtis Fann

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Florida State Lands 2019 4-Star DE Curtis Fann

    Tallahassee Democrat
    via Tallahassee Democrat

    Lane Kiffin Signs 10-Year Extension at FAU

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Lane Kiffin Signs 10-Year Extension at FAU

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    3-Star QB Muhammad Commits to Vanderbilt

    Vanderbilt Football logo
    Vanderbilt Football

    3-Star QB Muhammad Commits to Vanderbilt

    Anchor Of Gold
    via Anchor Of Gold