Vanderbilt has been recognized as the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) after notching its first victory in The Swamp since the World War II era last Saturday.
The FWAA rewarded Vanderbilt as its National Team of the Week award after the Commodores registered an impressive 34-17 victory over the Florida Gators. The win gave Vanderbilt its first victory over Florida since 1988 and its first win in The Swamp since its initial visit to Gainesville in 1945.
The announcement came exclusively Monday afternoon on SiriusXM Radio's "College Sports Today," hosted by co-hosts Mark Packer and Eddie George. The co-hosts were joined by Commodore Head Coach James Franklin shortly after the announcement.
The road victory leaves Vanderbilt with a 5-4 overall record, one game shy of its third consecutive bowl appearance under Franklin.
The Commodores intercepted three Florida passes in the first three quarters, turning the miscues into three touchdowns and a 24-3 lead. Starting possession after each Gator turnover was inside the Florida 22-yard line.
In addition to posting its first victory in Gainesville in nearly seven decades, the win marked the first time in school history that Vanderbilt has defeated SEC rivals Florida and Georgia in the same season.
"We're a fundamentalist program, and I think that's why over time we get better. By really relying on your fundamentals and emphasizing fundamentals, I think you have a chance to have some success," Franklin said after the game. "If you look over our last year and a half, we're 6-0 in the month of November, which if you study Vanderbilt's history that hasn't always been the case this late in the season."
This marks the second time that Vanderbilt has been recognized as the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week since the FWAA started the weekly honor in 2002. The Commodores were also honored in 2008 following a 14-13 home victory over No. 13 Auburn that was played Oct. 4.
Members of the FWAA All-America Committee decide the weekly honor, which has been sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl for the last nine years.
The FWAA is a non-profit organization founded in 1941. It consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.
Founded in 1971, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl has hosted seven games that have decided the college football national championship, including four Bowl Championship Series title games. This season, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will be played on Jan. 1, 2014, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
For more information on the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week, go to footballwriters.com or fiestabowl.org.