Predicting the 2013 SEC Football Season: Vanderbilt Commodores

Coach James Franklin. - Kevin C. Cox

With less than 40 days until the college football season begins, it's never too early to look at the 2013 football schedules and make wild blind predictions.

The twelfth in a series leading up to fall camps brings us to Vandy:

Vanderbilt_helmet_medium

Vanderbilt Commodores 9-4 (5-3) in 2012

Synopsis: Head Coach James Franklin has Vandy fans excited. Consider the following highlights from 2012:

  • The first time in school history that Vanderbilt played in a bowl in back-to-back years.
  • Only the second time and the first time since 1935 that the 'Dores won five SEC games in a year.
  • The first time in 30 years that they won at home against Tennessee (they won in Knoxville in 2005 - the beginning of the end for Phil Fulmer).
  • The first time since 1948 Vanderbilt is ranked at the end of the season (#23 AP, #20 Coaches).
  • The first 9 win season since 1915.

After a slow start (2-4), they won their next 7 games including the Music City Bowl. Now that they are the best team in the state of Tennessee, they are setting their sights higher, like on a SEC East crown (EDITORIAL: Baby steps! They need to be more concerned about not reverting back to being a doormat). The Commodores return 13 starters from last year’s squad but no Zac Stacy or Jordan Rogers. Yikes! 1,300-yard receiver Jordan Matthews will lead the offense, while cornerback Andre Hal and safety Kenny Ladler (90 tackles in 2012) anchor the defense.

Key Losses: RB Zac Stacy, G Ryan Seymour, QB Jordan Rodgers, CB Trey Wilson

Key Returners: Coach Franklin, WR Jordan Matthews, WR Chris Boyd, OT Wesley Johnson, RB Wesley Tate, CB Andre Hal, S Kenny Ladler.

Newcomers: LB Nigel Bowden, WR Jordan Cunningham, LB Zach Cunningham, DT Jay Woods

The Schedule:
8/29/13 vs. Ole Miss (Nashville, TN) - This Thursday night game kicks off the season and could define both teams' seasons. Vandy has won the last three and 5 of the last 6. It should be a good one - Loss
9/7/13 vs. Austin Peay (Nashville, TN) - Win
9/14/13 at South Carolina (Columbia, SC) - Loss
9/21/13 at UMass (I'm not sure why they play their home games in Foxborough, Mass) The Fightin' Dr. Js! - Win
9/28/13 vs. UAB (Nashville, TN) - Does UAB still have a team? - Win
10/5/13 vs. Missouri (Nashville, TN) - Home team takes this one - Win
10/12/13 bye
10/19/13 vs. Georgia (Nashville, TN) - Tough three game stretch - Loss
10/26/13 at Texas A&M (College Station, TX) - Loss
11/2/13 bye
11/9/13 at Florida (Gainesville, FL) - Loss
11/16/13 vs. Kentucky (Nashville, TN) - Win
11/23/13 at Tennessee (Knoxville, TN) - might we see more mattress fires if UT loses this one? - Win
11/30/13 vs. Wake Forest (Nashville, TN) - a mini-rivalry brewing - Win


Let's go Bowling! Yes, lower tier.

* By Vandy's standards, these are the good times. However, I can't see them exceeding what they did in 2012 anytime soon. Coach Franklin's recruiting classes are Top 20. Expect this level of play to stick around as long as Franklin does. They will pull an upset or two but Vandy will always be Vandy.

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