For the past decade, Vanderbilt and Arkansas have been locked in a battle for the least successful programs in the SEC. Opposing fan bases referred to the Razorbacks as the Commodores of the West, and vice versa.

That ends now, and it has nothing to do with the fact Arkansas has won 20 games over the past three seasons while Vanderbilt has posted nine, only two of which are SEC wins. No. It’s because of the epic show of cowardice on display this past week that has brought a black eye to the conference.

Just prior to the SEC schedule release, Vanderbilt dropped a bomb on American Athletics Conference champion SMU. The Mustangs wouldn’t be rewarding all the donors who helped pay the Ponies’ way into the ACC with a fun trip to Nashville for an early September game. With what appears to be no discussion at all, the Commodores simply hit the delete key and typed in @Georgia State.

That’s right. Vanderbilt dropped a game with a Group of Five team transitioning to the big time so it can go on a road game against a Sun Belt school. There was no release or statement explaining why. Officials at SMU, who were obviously fuming, were completely caught off guard and appeared to have no explanation either. In another black eye to the SEC, the lack or organization or professionalism at Vandy forced the Mustangs’ communications department to release a statement to its fans with no real answers. Home - Arkansas Razorbacks

“Yesterday evening, Vanderbilt formally notified us that they were cancelling our football series,” SMU athletics director Rick Hart said in a statement. “We were looking forward to traveling to Nashville this fall and are disappointed for our team and our fans that these games will no longer take place as scheduled. We are exploring options for the 2024 season and hope to announce an opponent soon.”

Surely, this had to be miscommunication. The Commodores are bad at football, but there had a be a sound, unavoidable reason. So, we called Vanderbilt assistant athletics director Brian Fremund. He was clearly annoyed at being asked about the situation.

“No,” he said when asked if there was an official statement or comment. He then said football does it’s own non-conference part of the schedule, so nothing had been communicated to him. Then, when asked if there was anyone else who might have a comment, statement or at least an explanation for the change, the answer, again, was a curt, “No.”

Hopefully, you caught that. This was specifically a football decision. This is Clark Lea watching Preston Stone drop bomb after bomb on the offensive side of the ball while one of the nation’s top defenses shut down everyone it faced. He saw No. 12 Oklahoma clinging desperately to a 14-11 lead in the fourth quarter, looked at what was left of his roster, glanced at the most recent hot seat lists, thought about the scoreboard suspended by cranes all season, then called for the delete button at the last possible second.

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