2012 Vanderbilt Commodores Football Preview
2011 Record: 6-7 (2-6 SEC)
Head Coach: James Franklin, second season (6-7 all at Vanderbilt)
Projected Returning Starters: 18
Spring Game: April 14th (Black 33 Gold 0)
Notes: There were a few feel-good stories in 2011, but none more discussed than the Vanderbilt Commodores. The ‘Dores have struggled in recent years, having had three coaches in the last three seasons. With Franklin’s hire, former Maryland offensive coordinator, many wondered what to expect from Vanderbilt. The Commodores started the season 3-1, before Franklin undertook the controversial move of replacing veteran quarterback Larry Smith with untested James Rodgers. Rodgers ultimately led Vanderbilt to a bowl game, marking the first time the seniors on the 2011 team qualified for a bowl game, twice.
BVTSB Take: Because of how tough the SEC is, year in and year out, its unrealistic to expect a large improvement on Vanderbilt’s 2011 win total. Even though the SEC East is, on average, weaker than the West, Vanderbilt will struggle. Still, Vanderbilt will be an experienced team, led by quarterback James Rodgers, who threw for over 1500 yards. Rodgers needs to improve his touchdown-to-interception ratio, as he threw for 9 touchdowns, but 10 interceptions. Running back Zac Stacy, who averaged 5.9 yards per carry and scored 14 of Vanderbilt’s 26 rushing touchdowns, returns in 2012. The top two receivers – Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd – who combined for over 1100 yards receiving and 86.7% of Vandy’s receiving touchdowns will be expected to carry the offense. Vanderbilt’s non-conference schedule is a bit tougher this season, as the ‘Dores will face Northwestern, Presbyterian, Massachusetts, and Wake Forest. Still, four wins are not out of the question. Vanderbilt has a very rough opening to the conference schedule, and could be winless in the SEC until November. Road games against Kentucky and Ole Miss and a home contest against Tennessee could allow Vanderbilt to post their highest regular season win total since 1982!
2012 Early Projection: 7-5
To see the 2012 SEC composite schedule, click here.
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