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Drop the anchor, hold up those fingers, and get ready for another season of Commodore football at Vanderbilt University! With a fairly solid roster of returning starters and redshirts and renovations to FirstBank Stadium, Commodore Nation, your future is looking bright.

Following Vanderbilt football is admittedly intimidating with the large, raucous crowds, but the good news is that there’s never been a better time to be a Commodore fan. You don’t even need to paint your body black and gold. With some tips from Hopdoddy, you’ll be tailgating and cheering with the best of them (even the body paint guy!).


Before you even start to learn fight songs or hand signals, it’s a good idea to know the Vanderbilt Commodores football schedule. You need to plan out when to go. It’s just practical.

If you’re rooting for the home team, the schedule is looking like:

  • Aug. 26: Hawai’i
  • Sep. 2: Alabama A&M
  • Sep. 23: Kentucky
  • Sep. 30: Missouri
  • Nov. 4: Auburn

If you plan to take your tailgating on the road, the away schedule looks like:

  • Sep. 9: Wake Forest
  • Sep. 16: UNLV
  • Oct. 7: Florida
  • Oct. 28: Ole Miss
  • Nov. 11: South Carolina
  • Nov. 25: Tennessee


Vanderbilt football student tickets are easy to purchase online. But season tickets are always the ideal option. They give you access to all six home games along with a bunch of perks, including season-long parking and the same seat for every game. It’s worth it purely for getting first choice in the Vanderbilt football stadium seating chart.

If you don’t want to commit to Vanderbilt Football season tickets, you can purchase any of the Football Mini Plans. The Dore Football Pass gives you access to all home games, but your seats are randomly assigned a day or two before the game. The Anchor Pack includes the three games against Alabama A&M, Missouri, and Georgia. The You Pick Pack lets you choose from one non-conference game and up to three SEC games.

And when all else fails, you can always get single-game tickets from the Vanderbilt football ticket office. Just know that seating gets limited, and there’s always a chance that tickets will sell out.


With your Vanderbilt football tickets in hand, it’s time to party. Vanderbilt is one of many colleges that partakes in the ancient ritual of fellowship and camaraderieèAKA tailgating. Large amounts of food, copious beverages, and general good cheer are the names of the game here.

Unlike most other SEC schools, Vandy’s parking situation is pretty limited, which means you won’t see much in the way of Vanderbilt football tailgate parking. The good news: You still have dozens of venues (on and off campus) for pregaming.

Vandyville and Commodore Lawn

Vandyville and Commodore Lawn are Vanderbilt’s answers to on-campus tailgating. Gone are the days of eating a hot dog amidst car fumes and cracked asphalt.

Vandyville (located at the corner of Jess Neely Drive and Natchez Trace) and Commodore Lawn (located on the grassy area between Blakemore Avenue and Children’s Way) are nearly adjacent to each other and provide all the energy and sustenance of a classic tailgate. The scene consists of over 100 tents serving up good Southern cooking alongside big-screen TVs, games, and local musicians.

Both spots open about five hours before kickoff.

The Local

For an off-campus, pre-kickoff pit stop, you can’t go wrong with The Local. Right on 28th Ave. N, near Centennial Park, The Local is a laid-back bar with the same atmosphere of a small-town speakeasy and live music every night. The menu offers a nice mix of Southern favorites and classic pub fare made with locally sourced ingredients. Add in plenty of beer taps and signature cocktails, and you get a pretty easy go-to spot for a pregame tailgate.

Tin Roof

About a mile from Vanderbilt heading toward The Gulch, the Original Tin Roof has been a staple of Nashville’s bar scene since 2002. The venue has given musicians, music fans, and everyone else a place to hang out and enjoy good food and good tunes

Tin Roof offers its fair share of bar food staples and affordable drinks, but Saturdays (including gamedays) feature boozy brunch specials. You can load up on hot chicken and donuts and wash it down with $6 mimosas before you head into the Vanderbilt University football stadium. Just keep the antacids handy.


Less than half a mile from campus, Dogwood is another local Nashville fav. It’s that perfect mix of casual and house party vibes. It’s a two-story establishment complete with a patio and about 50 TVs.

The menu includes street tacos, quesadillas, and burritos along with a classic burger and fries. You also have a sweet selection of canned beer, boozy frozen drinks, and draft cocktails.


Songs, hand signs, golden anchors: You’re really getting the whole enchilada at a Vanderbilt football game. It’s some really infectious energy, and you’ll want to join in almost immediately. Knowing what to expect can help you plan how to participate and cheer on those Commodore lads.

Star Walk

The Star Walk is an honored tradition that goes as far back as the ‘90s. If you want to get an up-close and personal look at players and coaches, this is it. Led by the spirit squad and marching band, the team takes a long walk from the Vanderbilt football facilities, down Natchez Trace, and into the stadium locker rooms.

This is a good time to cheer the team on before the game. We suggest hanging out in Vandyville to get a good glance at the team.

The VU Sign

You’ll see this hand sign basically all over campus, even outside of Vanderbilt football games. Put up your thumb, index, and middle fingers on your right hand, palm out, and you’ve got the VU sign. Your index and middle form the “V,” while your thumb forms the “U.” You might see some variations, like with the palms in or the hand tilted to the side, but it’s all still understood to mean Vanderbilt Pride.

Anchor Down

In 2004, Coach Bobby Johnson introduced the gold anchor as a sign of strength, fortitude, and unity. During a special pregame ceremony, select individuals walk onto the Vanderbilt football field with a large, golden anchor, planting the anchor at midfield. This marks the official start of the game, and the fans go wild. (Don’t worry, the turf is fine.)

The Admiral

Frankly, every stadium deserves a large naval horn that loudly toots throughout the football game. Vanderbilt’s horn, affectionately known as The Admiral, sounds before pregame activities, when the Vanderbilt football team takes the field, and after every Commodore touchdown.


It’s not a football game without a fight song, and Vandy’s is known as “Dynamite.”

Dynamite, Dynamite

When VANDY starts to fight.

Down the field with blood to yield,

If need be, save the shield.

If vict’ry’s won, when battle’s done,

Then VANDY’s name will rise in fame.

Win not lose,

It’s ours to choose,

And VANDY’s game will be the same.

Dynamite, Dynamite

When VANDY starts to fight!


Alma Mater

Win or lose, every game ends with the team locking arms near the student section and singing the school’s alma mater. It’s a sweet tradition that shows that, in victory or defeat, it’s all about school pride and playing your heart out.

On the city’s western border

Reared against the sky

Proudly stands our Alma Mater

As the years roll by.

Forward ever be thy watchword,

Conquer and Prevail.

Hail to thee our Alma Mater,

Vanderbilt, All Hail!

Cherished by thy sons and daughters,

Thy mem’ries sweet shall throng

Round our hearts, O Alma Mater,

As we sing our song.

Victory Flag

In the (assured) event of a victory, Vanderbilt hoists a black flag with the Vanderbilt Athletics logo over the west side of the stadium. It’s a signal of pride, and it stays up for a week, ostensibly until the next game and the next victory.


Win or lose, Commodore Nation is all about good vibes and good sportsmanship. Celebration and commiseration don’t have to end with the alma mater. Grab your buds and take them to an offsite venue, like Hopdoddy’s Belcourt location just south of campus. You can debrief, complain about the totally unfair refs, and do a play-by-play breakdown of everything the team did right. Hopdoddy can keep you fueled with juicy burgers, zesty fries, local wine and beer on tap, and much more. Anchor Down!

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