In this space last week, I wrote the Auburn game was a first step in the final six-game leg of the season and, if things we can’t say out loud were to come to pass for the 2023 Ole Miss team, they had to beat the Tigers.
On Saturday, Ole Miss moved one step closer to December unmentionables, with two massive steps remaining in Texas A&M and Georgia. However, before they can take the step against the Aggies, they have to brush aside Vanderbilt.
The Commodores are not a good team, and Ole Miss will likely win, baring a complete meltdown. The only question is what will be the degree of difficulty of that win.
But before we take a dive deeper into that, let’s get to know Vanderbilt University.
Campus sits a smidge southwest of downtown Nashville, where, at this very moment, no matter what time you’re reading this, a bachelorette party is on a pedal tavern on Broadway near the Cumberland River. Also, on the other side of the river, the Tennessee Titans just had to punt after failing to covert another third down.
Speaking of punting, in researching for this, I learned the George Jones Museum in downtown closed, which, while sad, is very much in line with the Possum lifestyle. I took a tour once and, like George’s autobiography I Lived To Tell It All, I could not recommend it enough.
And while we’re talking about historical sites, after the 2013 Ole Miss/Vanderbilt game, which, if you’ve forgotten, featured this...
...I went to a bar near campus (totally exhausted and dehydrated because it was so miserably hot) and enjoyed icy cold domestics. That bar (no free ads!) was later featured on Very Cavallari, one of our country’s finest reality TV shows.
Vanderbilt University History
Prior to the Civil War, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (also involved in the founding of Auburn) wanted to start a university to train ministers near its congregation. Obviously, the war put that plan on pause.
In 1872, the church voted to establish The Central University of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Shout-out to the seven-person naming committee that probably spent six months coming up with such a name.
Unfortunately, a lack of money and the South’s general state during Reconstruction put another hold on starting the university. However, things would literally change because of “my wife’s cousin knows a guy.”
A bishop in the church named Holland Nimmons McTyeire was married to Amelia Townsend McTyeire, who happened to be cousins with Cornelius Vanderbilt’s second wife. If your history memory escapes you, Vanderbilt, at the time, was the wealthiest man in the United States thanks to being a magnate of shipping and rail.
In 1873, Holland Nimmons McTyeire (and I assume his wife too) stayed at Vanderbilt’s New York City home. During this time, Vanderbilt was considering establishing a university on Staten Island, but McTyeire convinced him to give that money to start The Central University of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
For the record, I need a streaming service series with a timeline where Vanderbilt University is located on Staten Island. I mean, look at the potential of a Rutgers/Vanderbilt rivalry we never knew we needed.
After getting a cool $500,000 that was originally headed to Staten Island, McTyeire and the school’s other trustees renamed the university after Vanderbilt in 1873. The doors to the school opened in the fall of 1875 with Landon Garland serving as its first chancellor.
In the 1890s, unpleasantness between the school’s administration and the General Conference, which was the governing body of the church, boiled over. Essentially, the fight was over control of the board of trustees and the Methodists losing their hold on power.
In 1914, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that Vanderbilt was the founder and not the church, meaning the board could seat non-Methodists, which did not sit well with the church. Later that year, the General Conference voted to cut ties with Vanderbilt and establish some school called Southern Methodist University.
Rapid Fire Vanderbilt Trivia
- As of 2022-23, Vanderbilt’s total enrollment was around 13,700, with just over 7,000 students being undergraduates
- During the 1930s, your boy, Ernest William Goodpasture and his fellow physicians invented ways to cultivate viruses that eventually led to the development of vaccines against chicken pox, small pox, yellow fever, typhus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other diseases (all of which should be coming back thanks to the brain-dead contingent out there)
- From 1945-47, Vanderbilt researchers conducted a study in which they gave pregnant women radioactive iron without telling them (the women went on to win a lawsuit in......1998!)
- Vanderbilt first admitted black undergraduates in 1964, and later accepted Perry Wallace in 1966, who was the first African American to play varsity basketball in the SEC (everyone else in the conference did not like it in an exceptionally racist way!)
- In 1988, the Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta gave Vanderbilt’s campus national arboretum status
- In December 2015, a tree fell and injured 10 students, followed by another tree falling in 2022 and injuring two students (apparently, the WOKE Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta did nothing in response)
- Doak S. Campbell - First president of Florida State and TALKIN BOUT THE NOLES
- Alfred Hume - 10th chancellor of Ole Miss and namesake of the building where I took some business calculus classes I didn’t much care for
- Robert Penn Warren - Pulitzer Prize winner and author of All The King’s Men
- Paul Jacobson - CFO of Delta Air Lines and has (indirectly) issued you a voucher for them screwing up your flights
- Dierks Bentley - Singer/songwriter who drew upon his Indiana and East Coast boarding school experiences and Vanderbilt for Nashville country songs
- Skip Bayless - Professional TV hollerin’ man to an audience that gets worse ratings than an episode of [insert formulaic house remodeling show on TLC]
- James Eastland - Super duper racist senator from Mississippi
- Mike MacIntyre - Former Ole Miss defensive coordinator and current FIU head coach
Great Moments in Vanderbilt Athletics
Legit one of the all-time greatest punt fakes because the punter runs like a 4.5.
What About Vanderbilt’s Football Team in 2023?
It’s not great. I could offer some advanced stats, but they all say the Commodores stink at most everything.
Following a boogeyman-shedding win at Auburn and Texas A&M on deck, it would not be surprising if Ole Miss comes out flat and farts around. As noted earlier, the result is just a question of whether they cover or go through the motions and keep it inside the number.