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(All information as of June 20, 2008)
COACH AND PROGRAM
It isn't smart to be the best academic school in the best division in college football.
Every time Vanderbilt makes a bowl bid seem academic, dumb luck seems to rear its ugly head. The Commodores appeared to have made all of the proper investments for a bowl payout last season, and that's not merely a reference to the guarantees given to Richmond, Miami (Ohio) and Eastern Michigan to come see Music City.
Quarterback Chris Nickson had a season of experience behind him, had a veteran offensive line led by tackle Chris Williams to protect him, and had the tireless, sure-handed Earl Bennett running routes with precision. But then Nickson hurt his shoulder against Alabama in the second game of the season, and suddenly coach Bobby Johnson was faced with playing a black and blue quarterback or his second green one in as many years.