For decades, Tennessee’s football team dominated Vanderbilt football. The Vols never lost to the Commodores from 1983 through 2004, and Vanderbilt only had two wins total against Tennessee from 1976 through 2011 despite the two teams playing every single year in that 35-year span.
Lately, though, the Commodores had turned the tables. And they’ve let the Vols and Vol fans know about it.
Vanderbilt demolished a Derek Dooley-led Tennessee squad in 2012 by a score of 41-18 in Nashville, and Dooley was promptly fired after the game. The next season, James Franklin’s Vandy squad beat Butch Jones’ first UT team in Knoxville, winning an ugly 14-10 contest.
After Tennessee earned back-to-back wins in 2014 and 2015, Vanderbilt ripped off three-straight wins over the Vols in 2016, 2017, and 2018. And none of them were particularly close.
All three of Vanderbilt’s victories came by double digits, with last year’s win in Nashville resulting in the biggest margin of them all, a 25-point shellacking to end the regular season and end Tennessee’s bowl hopes.
Vanderbilt didn’t just win and move on, though. They were loud about their victories.
Not only did Commodore players trash talk on the field, try to plant a Vanderbilt flag in Neyland Stadium, make claims such as “our state,” and more, but their trash talk went even further inside their locker room.
Earlier this week, a photo went viral online of a wall in Vanderbilt’s facilities that displayed plaques showing off the Commodores’ three-straight victories over Tennessee. A large Vanderbilt star with a “V” in the middle was at the top along with three plaques with the date and final score of Vandy’s wins over the Vols.
A fourth plaque hung below the other three, with the date “November 30, 2019” displayed on it. There was no score under the date, but it was clear the Commodores were expecting a win over Tennessee for a fourth-straight year whenever they put up the plaques.
This is on display in the vanderbilt football facility.
It has the three games listed that vandy beat Tennessee, plus an additional date with no score.
— BigOrangePruitt (@BigOrangePruitt) November 27, 2019
But this Saturday, Tennessee was finally able to put things “right” in the world again, defeating Vanderbilt 28-10 and snapping that three-game losing skid. And UT wasn’t about to let the victory just slide by like any other.
The official Tennessee football Twitter account tweeted out a graphic shortly after Saturday’s score went final that was clearly mocking Vanderbilt’s display inside their facility. It featured a similar font, color palette, and design as Vanderbilt’s plaques, and it displayed that the Vols were the victors this time.
Tennessee’s team wins. pic.twitter.com/msNAcPummM
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) December 1, 2019
Of course, there’s the idea of “act like you’ve been there before” for Tennessee considering the Vols have historically dominated the Commodores. But when Vanderbilt has won five of the last seven games in the series and has been incessant in their trash talking about their winning streak, it’s natural to expect some firing back on the other side.
For several years, Vol fans haven’t been able to take jabs at Vanderbilt like they used to. But after this year’s 18-point victory and the opposite directions the two programs seem to be going, Tennessee fans finally have some ammunition in the war of words.