Odds and Schedule
Vanderbilt started 2012 with a 2-4 record, but reeled off seven straight wins to mark the most wins by the Commodores football team since 1915. That’s saying something for the strides they made last year with head coach James Franklin. The positives for Vandy are that they will be returning 13 starters including seven on the offensive side. The downside is that they lost quarterback Jordan Rodgers and running back Zac Stacy. Rodgers finished with 2,500 yards and 15 TDs while Stacy is Vanderbilt’s all-time leading rusher.
2013 Vanderbilt Football Schedule
Aug. 29 vs. Ole Miss
Sept. 7 vs. Austin Peay
Sept. 14 at South Carolina
Sept. 21 at UMass
Sept. 28 vs. UAB
Oct. 5 vs. Missouri
Oct. 19 vs. Georgia
Oct. 26 at Texas A&M
Nov. 9 at Florida
Nov. 16 vs. Kentucky
Nov. 23 at Tennessee
Nov. 30 vs. Wake Forest
Austyn Carta-Samuels, who started at Wyoming for two seasons will likely become the QB, but he’ll get some competition from freshmen Patton Robinette and Johnny McCrary. The good thing that no matter who plays quarterback, they will have some of the best receivers in the nation to throw to. Jordan Matthews was an SEC first-teamer last year while Chris Boyd is a great supplement on the other side of the field. Not to mention, they have a nice crop of receivers coming in that can help out. As for the running back situation, the Commodores will use a trio of backs with any of them eventually becoming the lead man.
On the other side of the ball they should be just fine after finishing fifth in the league in total defense last year. Most of their losses were spread evenly throughout the lineup which means there isn’t one glaring weakness in their defense.
The problem for Vandy is that they didn’t actually beat anyone of great importance last year. NC State was a good win in their bowl Game, but it wasn’t amazing and their best Conference win came on the road at Ole Miss. This year, a tougher Schedule could easily mean a worse record, especially if their quarterback play doesn’t get the job done.
The Commodores will start with a home Game against Ole Miss which won’t come easy. They won by one point last year in Oxford. Two weeks later, they’ll have to go to South Carolina. While they fought with the Gamecocks in their first Game last year, it’s another story playing on the road with a new QB and iffy running back situation.
Unless Vandy is better than everyone thought, they will not be pulling out a seven-Game winning streak in 2013. At the end of October, they get a brutal stretch of Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida with the last two coming on the road. That leaves at least Four losses on the board for Vandy unless they can pull some magic. Their big Games will be the opener against Ole Miss, a home Game against Missouri (a team they beat 19-15 last year) and at Tennessee.
Eight wins is a realistic expectation for this team unless their offense plays better than they did last year. However, it’s not often that wide receivers carry an offense.