Stop Pickin' on Vandy!
Obviously, Vanderbilt is a (if not the) bottom-feeder of the Southeastern Conference. They've not won a conference title in many decades, and their Varsity athletics are now organized by the same group that handles intramurals. However, I encourage fans to give Vandy a break.
Vanderbilt plays in the SEC, arguably the most competitive conference in major college football. And they suck in it. So why should fans/journalists give them slack? Because they've never stopped. Vanderbilt University has clearly been out of SEC Championship contention for many years. If they chose, they could bolt to some "lesser" conference, and (assuming the same personnell) compete for a conference title much more often.
But Vanderbilt respects the tradition of its conference, which it helped found. (Okay, Tech does not, whatever. GT helped found the SEC but later bolted. This is not the point of the post, so I ask that it not be a major thread in the comments section.) Rather than head for greener pastures, Vandy runs with their long-time crew, and unfortunately loses a lot.
I do not suggest, and do not think, that Vanderbilt is satisfied with their current role. Doubtless, the school hopes (and hopefully expects) to compete for a conference title as soon as possible. But in the mean time, I implore journa-/bloga-lists to not be too hard on Vanderbilt. At times it seems like they get less respect than worse, but not perennially-faced, teams (since the worse teams are faced less often, so there's not the familiarity to their suckiness).
Vandy does not have to be your whipping boy, but they accept it. And for that, I commend their attitude.
(Notes: (1) Most of these comments could apply to Dule within the ACC. (2) This post does not consider sports other than football. I do not consider this inappropriate, since football is clearly the most loved/influential sport at colleges.)