There's a moment in this behind-the-scenes video of Vanderbilt's win over Tennessee last weekend, a little before the five-minute mark, when Vandy coach James Franklin stands in front of his team at halftime and exhorts them: "Look behind you. We're on the beach right now, and the boats are burning. There's no other boats!" Which, viewed out of context, ranks right alongside Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads destroying his headset in the Cyclones' win over TCU as the most hilariously overwrought coaching moment of the year.
In the moment, though, the old motivational trope worked like a charm: The Commodores roared to four consecutive touchdowns in the second half, turning a slim 13-10 advantage at the break into a 41-18 romp that clinched a winning season -- only Vanderbilt's fifth in the past 50 years. At the end of the video, Franklin lists a few of the benchmarks that bit the dust in the win: The 2012 Commodores tied a school record for SEC wins (5), won seven games in the regular season for the first time in 30 years and beat Tennessee at home for the first time since 1982.
On the other side, Tennessee was so dejected by the flop against a traditional whipping boy that it not only elected to pull the plug on coach Derek Dooley a few hours later but also denied him the customary farewell lap in this weekend's finale against Kentucky. Maybe if Dooley -- a noted history buff -- had peppered his pep talks with a few more impassioned references to the conquistadors, things would have turned out a little better.