Coming off of a high after Vanderbilt’s win over Kansas State last weekend, the Commodores are looking towards one of the most highly anticipated college football games of the weekend as the Crimson Tide invades Nashville. However, football is not the only matchup to watch. Let’s take a look at how Vanderbilt and Alabama size up off of the field.
Both Alabama’s and Vanderbilt’s students are known for their spirit. Known for their cheers of “Roll Tide” and “Anchor Down,” fans almost lose their voices by the end of the game. In terms of actual attendance, Alabama takes this one. With an average of 101,000 attendees at each game, Vanderbilt just can’t compete with its 40,000 attendees. We could argue that this is just because our stadium is smaller, but we’ll give it to Alabama.
Vanderbilt has a unique freshman living system, The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons. The Commons is the envy of everyone who doesn’t live there and boasts a dining hall, Munchie Mart, gym and endless academic resources. Alabama students are required to live on campus for their first year, and then have the opportunity to live off campus. With their on campus Honors housing is fantastic, it doesn’t quite match up to the Commons experience. Looks like Vanderbilt takes this one. We just won’t bring up Branscomb…
While both football teams are heading into this weekend with 3-0 records, Alabama is currently ranked #1 in the NCAA, while Vanderbilt is #19. In other major sports, including basketball and baseball, the two schools come up almost side to side in rankings. Both Alabama coach Nick Saban and Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason have their teams at the top of their game. Given the big difference in rankings, we’re going to have to give this one to Alabama.
- City & Culture
Tuscaloosa, the home of University of Alabama, is somewhat of a mix between a city and a college town. Aside from a few museums, the main tourist attractions generally have to do with the university. Nashville, on the other hand, is known for an eclectic food scene, a wide variety of music and endless museums and shops. It’s fair to say that Vanderbilt brings this one home, just ask any of the Nashville bachelorette parties.
Nashville is nicknamed “Music City.” Tuscaloosa, on the other hand, has a number of community restaurants and bars where residents can hear live music and enjoy local and national talent. Unfortunately, they just don’t have it on the same scale that Nashville does. Even when Nashvillians get sick of actually hearing the music in Nashville, which isn’t often, they can head to one of the many museums dedicated entirely to music and its musicians. Without a doubt, music belongs to Vanderbilt.
- College Nightlife
College nightlife revolves around two things: parties and bars. Tuscaloosa has a number of bars scattered about in town, but Nashville has Broadway. Whether you’re a freshman making your way to Piranhas or a senior heading out to any of the spots on Broadway and beyond, there’s a lot more variety in Vanderbilt nightlife.
- Greek Life
Alabama is home to twice as many Greek chapters as Vanderbilt. While Alabama has 64 total sororities and fraternities, Vanderbilt has just 32. This could be attributed to the difference in size of the student bodies between the two schools, but either way, it appears there are more options for someone to join an organization in Greek life at Alabama. Vanderbilt does have the greatest percentage of students involved in Greek life in the SEC, but Alabama has more students overall, so this one goes to Alabama.
With restaurants like Evangeline’s and R. Davidson Chophouse, it’s clear that Tuscaloosa loves its American food and steakhouses. Instead of looking for a few good restaurants to try in Nashville, you’ll have to look for entire neighborhoods full of them. Hillsboro Village, 12 South, and the Gulch are just a few of them. In addition to being called “Music City,” it’s surprising that Nashville isn’t also called “Restaurant City.” Students spend four years at Vanderbilt and still don’t come close to eating their way through this city. Forget the Freshman 15, it’s officially the Nashville 15.
Though the Crimson Tide may be ranked better in football, it looks like the Commodores take the win with better rankings in five out of the eight categories off the field. Overall, the University of Alabama and Vanderbilt University are both wonderful places to spend four years getting a degree.