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Friday Forum: Is Vanderbilt’s lack of fear factor permanent?

The Commodores have never really scared most Gators fans in their entire lives. Could that ever change?

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Vanderbilt v Florida Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

On Saturday, the Vanderbilt Commodores will host the Florida Gators — and it might be the first time in a while that Vandy has a significant edge in terms of the crowd in attendance.

Yeah, sure, Vandy’s only allowing players’ families and select students to come to this game, but that’s still a massive deviation from the masses of orange and blue that perennially show up in Nashville when the ‘Dores play the Gators. And those fans aren’t showing up to see close games, but blowouts.

Florida generally delivers. The Gators won by 10 and seven in their last two trips to Nashville, respectively, but a six-point win for Florida in 2006 and a four-point win in 2002 are the only times since 1988 — the year of Vandy’s last home win over the Gators — that the biennial Florida win over Vanderbilt in Nashville has come by less than a touchdown since the hiring of Steve Spurrier. And Vanderbilt takes trouncings repeatedly: 34-10 in 2014 with Treon Harris as Florida’s QB; 55-14 in 2010 with Jordan Reed hurling passes; four of the five visits under Spurrier, which were decided by 17 or more points.

Close games, not losses, are the rarities in this series; the losses, at present, are as scarce as unicorn horns.

And so I ask this: Could Vandy ever scare you, Florida fan?

The one Vandy coach to lead the Commodores to victory over Florida is long gone, and Florida’s historic ebb that created the circumstances for that loss is almost as well-forgotten. Vandy doesn’t have the generational player that Jay Cutler was to throw the fear of long touchdowns into this Florida defense, though Ken Seals appears to have the tools to be a very good collegiate quarterback.

And, well, Vandy just hasn’t beaten Florida much in our lives. It’s once for me, who turned 30 this spring, but the youngest people to have seen Vandy top Florida five times still had to enter this world prior to October 17, 1959.

There’s no fear factor here, certainly not this week. Could there ever be?