Sprints Supposes It Was Only a Matter of Time Before Vanderbilt Was a Big Ten Candidate // 05.12.10

Do they need more heart attacks in the Midwest?
If the conference shuffling game gets out of hand, Big Ten teams might soon learn just how easy it is to defeat Vanderbilt (i.e., not as easy as it looks). Vanderbilt isn't really saying "No," but also isn't exactly sounding like a team about to leave.

"To my knowledge, and I think it’s solid, we have not received any inquiries from (the Big Ten)," said David Williams, Vanderbilt’s vice chancellor for university affairs and athletics.

"If anybody thinks we’re in negotiations, rest assured we are not. I would be very, very surprised if the Big Ten came to us, and I would be very, very surprised if we’d leave the SEC. We are a founding member of the SEC and that’s where most of our folks think that we belong."

There is not a flat denial in either of those paragraphs, and there are plenty of phrases like "to my knowledge," "I think it's solid," "have not received any inquiries," "very, very surprised," "most of our folks think." All of those are ways of not saying what you appear to be saying. Not that I think Vanderbilt has taken leave of its senses and are seriously considering the idea. But they're also signaling that they would at least listen.

What started this
It's Andy Katz ... who covers college basketball, which means his sources might be more interested in basketball than football -- and the latter is driving the Big Ten conversation. Anyway:

That's why at least one source said Maryland and Georgia Tech from the ACC and Vanderbilt out of the SEC make sense. In terms of location, Nashville, Tenn., is less than 400 miles from Columbus, Ohio. Bloomington, Ind., is only four hours away from Nashville. Champaign, Ill., is five hours away.

Vanderbilt makes a lot of sense academically because it is similar in many regards to a school like Northwestern.

Well, yes, but by that standard Clemson would be in the Sun Belt.

We could always replace them with Florida State
There's the Vanderbilt approach -- politely seeming to decline without ruling anything out -- and then there's the approach of FSU athletics director Randy Spetman: See a small flame and pour three or four gallons of lighter fluid on it when joining the SEC is mentioned.

"We'd have to have meetings," he said on Tuesday. "That's a huge issue -- the [university] president would be involved." ...

"And it's certainly a topic that we have to be aware of and we have to look [into it]," Spetman said. "You know, we're very happy in the ACC. But there are so many different [scenarios], as you see written every day."

In other words: Mr. Slive, my e-mail address is ...

What is hard about this?
Can anyone give me a good reason why Erk Russell isn't in the College Football Hall of Fame? Like the Mayor, I don't have any problem with the guys that got in, aside from the fact that Russell isn't one of them. Unlike the Mayor, I prefer finding a rhetorical Howitzer to "changing the rule from within the system." It might take some time. But as Kyle says, stay tuned.

'There's nothing between 2002 and 2004 that we really need to talk about'
Apparently, a former sports information director at Florida has given a history lesson to some of the coaches. Steve Addazio: "He talked about the great decades of Florida football." Both of them, apparently.

Pomeranz cleared
Good news for Ole Miss ahead of the last two weekends.

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