Nashville, Tenn. -- Vanderbilt and Wake Forest have entered into a seven-game football series that starts next season, both universities announced today.
David Williams II, Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for University Affairs and General Counsel, said the schools will play every year through 2014 except for 2009, with the game serving as the Commodore season finale throughout its length.
The first game in the series will be November 24, 2007 on the Vanderbilt campus. To secure the series, Vanderbilt was forced to cancel a game next September at Louisville.
Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson welcomed the series. "We were able to accomplish several scheduling goals with this series," Johnson said. "We are creating an important non-conference relationship with a university that holds similar ideals as Vanderbilt.
"At the same time, Coach (Jim) Grobe and the entire Wake Forest football staff do a great job with their program. They are highly competitive in one of the nation's most competitive conferences," Johnson said.
Vanderbilt and Wake Forest have a gridiron history that dates to 1964, with the Commodores holding a 7-3 advantage. The last game between the teams, played in 2005, resulted in a 24-20 Vanderbilt road win.
The contract allows Vanderbilt to meet two scheduling goals:
? Grant an SEC wish that the final regular season game for all members conclude on the same weekend. Currently, the Vanderbilt schedule ends one week before some members play their last game.
? Secure an annual open date during the middle of the regular season. This year, the Commodores are one of three SEC members without an open date.
Williams said the Vanderbilt-Wake Forest series will pit natural opponents on the football field.
"We're delighted with this announcement. Our universities have much in common. We expect this series to develop into a healthy and entertaining rivalry," Williams said.
Wake Forest Director of Athletics Ron Wellman also is a strong proponent of the series.
"This is a natural series for us. Vanderbilt plays in a major conference, the SEC, and they are a similar institution to us. They are also close enough for our fans to travel to the games played in Nashville. This could develop into an excellent rivalry which is the reason we signed a long contract," Wellman said.
Updated Vanderbilt 2007 schedule
Date Opponent Location
Sept. 1 Richmond Nashville
Sept. 8 Alabama Nashville
Sept. 15 Ole Miss Nashville
Sept. 29 Eastern Michigan Nashville
Oct. 6 Auburn Auburn, Ala.
Oct. 13 Georgia Nashville
Oct. 20 South Carolina Columbia, S.C.
Oct. 27 Kent State Nashville
Nov. 3 Florida Gainesville, Fla.
Nov. 10 Kentucky Nashville
Nov. 17 Tennessee Knoxville, Tenn.
Nov. 24 Wake Forest Nashville