|Dynamite year ahead for Vandy?|
The team's strength is its offensive backfield, specifically its running backs. Zac Stacy and Warren Norman anchor a unit that is among the best in the Southeastern Conference (and that is saying a lot). If quarterback Jordan Rodgers can just be consistent, the offense should be able to control the clock and put numbers on the board.
If there is a major difference compared to last year, it is that the schedule is not as inviting. Last year, the Commodores opened with three home games against beatable foes (
, and Ole Miss), which
got them off to a hot start. This year,
the schedule is more challenging even though they avoid playing Elon,
Connecticut Alabama, LSU and . Arkansas
Here is Vanderbilt's schedule: Aug. 30 vs.
Carolina, Sept. 8 at Northwestern, Sept. 15 vs. Presbyterian,
Sept. 22 at Georgia, Oct. 6
at Missouri, Oct. 13 vs. Florida,
Oct. 20 vs. ,
Oct. 27 vs. Massachusetts, Nov. 3 at Kentucky, Nov. 10 at Ole Miss, Nov. 17 vs.
Tennessee, Nov. 24 at Wake Forest. Auburn
The games against Presbyterian and
are guaranteed wins for the
Commodores so there are two wins right there.
Where will the other four come from?
The season begins at home against ninth-ranked Massachusetts . While some have expressed
frustration about opening the season with a conference foe that is so good, I
think this is good for Vandy. Playing South Carolina
so early allows them to avoid the wear and tear of the season that usually
hurts their depth, which will help in this game. I am picking Carolina to win, but this game should be an
interesting measuring stick regarding the program's growth. Carolina
The game at Northwestern is a huge swing game if the team is going to return to a bowl. Northwestern is a solid Big 10 program, and both schools face similar challenges when it comes to competing in a power conference. However, when it comes to SEC/Big 10 matchups, a person should always take the SEC school (even if the game is on the road). So, Vanderbilt should win this one.
Next, Vandy plays Presbyterian then travels to
. Georgia is the
best team in the SEC Eastern Division. I
do not see Vandy winning, but it is another measuring stick game. How far has
Vandy's program come? This is one of
those games that tell us. With a loss
here, Vandy ends September with a 2-2 record. Georgia
October opens with a trip to
and likely another loss. I am not
convinced the Commodores are to the point they can go on the road and beat a
big state school (even one new to the conference). After this, a pivotal three-game homestand
begins with games against Missouri Florida, Auburn, and .
I already stated the Massachusetts
game will be a victory. Both Massachusetts Auburn and
should be much improved, but I cannot see Vandy losing both those games at
home. I am taking Vandy to beat Florida
and finishing October with a 4-4 record. Auburn
November opens with two road games at
and at Ole Miss. These are the two weakest teams in the SEC,
and Vandy should win both to improve to 6-4. However, I seem them losing their
last two. In recent years, the Commodores have played worse against Kentucky Tennessee at home than in .
Also, I know Vandy waxed Knoxville last year, but the
Demon Deacons are too good not to be motivated for revenge for that
So, Vandy will finish 6-6, and that should be good enough for a trip to the
Music City, Liberty or bowls. Independence