Vanderbilt Commodores: Darkhorse SEC Contender?
- Updated: August 7, 2014
Can the Vanderbilt Commodores win a SEC title?
The Vanderbilt Commodores have a reputable college football program, but they are an afterthought when anyone speaks of SEC title contenders. Teams like Alabama, LSU and Auburn are at the top of the list of teams that have the best shot to win an SEC title this year, so do lower tiered teams even have a chance?
If you ask new head Coach Derek Mason, the answer is a resounding yes. Of course coaches are always expecting big things from their football program and are often overloaded with confidence, but do the Commodores actually have a chance?
The previous head coach, James Franklin, who left for a job at Penn State, left behind a quality football program for Mason to take over. Franklin’s Vanderbilt teams won nine games in each of the past two seasons and earned a bowl bid in each of his three years at the helm, after going to only one in the previous 28 years. This team now is surrounded by a winning atmosphere and a mindset of competing with the best teams in arguably the best conference in all of college football.
However, when Franklin left he took plenty of his big named recruits with him leaving Mason scrambling to grab some top recruits and keep the program on the upswing. He started by signing 22 freshmen, including two ESPN 300 members, in two weeks this spring. He has earned profound trust and respect from his current players, and fans seem excited again. So things are headed in the right direction, but the college football odds makers believe that the Commodores still have plenty of work to do before winning an SEC title.
The Commodores are listed at (+20000) to win an SEC title, which would be a huge payday, but is indicative of just how much of a long shot that the Commodores are this season. They are also listed as (+5500) to win the SEC East, a feat that is highly unlikely to accomplish with the likes of South Carolina, Florida and Georgia ruling the roost.
This team still has plenty of issues to iron out. They have six quarterbacks competing to play the position in camp this season. Patton Robinette is the only quarterback returning with any starting experience at Vanderbilt and this illustrates just how much that Vanderbilt will have to figure out before they will be able to compete with the best teams in the country.
Football bettors should proceed with caution when betting on Vanderbilt this season and taking them to win an SEC title is a foolish move. However, Mason has this team headed in the right direction and the future is bright for the Commodores.