Dec. 10, 2012
Unmatched Athletic Success Infographic
It has been done relatively quietly and without national fanfare, but what Vanderbilt has accomplished in athletics the last few years is certainly worth making noise about.
Vanderbilt had vaulted itself into an elite group of schools following its success in 2011, and what was accomplished in 2012 put the Commodores in a class by themselves.
With Vanderbilt's invitation to the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, the school concluded its second straight year in which its baseball and men's and women's basketball teams played in the NCAA Tournament and its football team was invited to a bowl.
In 2011, there were eight schools that accomplished this feat, and in 2012 there were just six. Vanderbilt is the only school to do it two years in a row.
The other seven schools from 2011 (Georgia, Florida State, Kansas State, North Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA) were not able to duplicate the accomplishment. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt has not only qualified for the NCAA Tournament in baseball and men's and women's basketball, it has won. The men's and women's basketball teams advanced to the second round and the baseball team came within one win of making it to a Super Regional.
The football team defeated NC State in the Music City Bowl, and ended the year on a seven-game win streak - tied for the third-longest streak at the FBS level and the longest in the SEC.
Just in 2012 alone, Vanderbilt is one of six schools to have its baseball and men's and women's basketball teams in the NCAA Tournament and its football team in a bowl game. The schools are:
Of those schools, five won at least one postseason game in baseball and men's and women's basketball in 2012. The exception is Michigan State. However, of the remaining five, only Baylor, Louisville and Vanderbilt also won a bowl game.
Vanderbilt's success on the field has not just been limited to its baseball, men's and women's basketball and football teams. Vanderbilt's bowling team advanced to the semifinals at the NCAA Championships. The women's cross country team qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row - a first in school history. The women's golf team placed 11th at the NCAA Championships. Vanderbilt's women's tennis team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and the men's tennis team made its fifth NCAA appearance in the last six years.
Overall, Vanderbilt finished 51st in the Directors' Cup following the 2011-12 academic year, marking the third straight year in which the Commodores have improved their national finish. The Directors' Cup began during the 1993-94 season and Vanderbilt had never improved its finish in three straight years before doing so this past year.
It is clear that winning has become contagious at Vanderbilt.
During the 2011-12 academic year, Vanderbilt was also one of just six schools nationally to finish with NCAA Tournament appearances in baseball and men's and women's basketball and in a bowl game.
With another bowl appearance, the Commodores are now one-quarter of the way from repeating the feat during the 2012-13 academic year. The other five schools to accomplish the same last year also qualified for bowl games in 2012 (Baylor, Florida, Louisville, Michigan State and Purdue).
The six schools are also the only ones that finished the 2012 calendar year with their baseball and men's and women's basketball teams in the NCAA Tournament and football team in a bowl game.
Exactly what the golden era of Vanderbilt athletics is can be debated back and forth by the historical pundits, but there is little doubt that these accomplishments put the current era into that discussion.