Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tonight not Franklin's best bet for first signature win

This time last season, James Franklin was preparing for his first game as a head coach. He beat Elon, of course, for his first win, and his first home win. Then he beat UConn for his first come-from-behind win. Then he beat Ole Miss for his first SEC win and his first D1 blowout. That season, he would also record his first win as a D1 favorite, against Army, and finally in the last contest of the regular season, his first road victory.

What he still doesn’t have is a signature win. He does have some signature losses – scaring the daylights out of Georgia and Arkansas at home – but those could fall under the category of Same Old Vanderbilt.

So does he get that signature win tonight against South Carolina? It’s possible, but we think other games this season are stronger possibilities.


1. Tennessee in Nashville on Nov. 17: Franklin’s teams last season played significantly better at home, and we think this year the Volunteers are going down. Despite all his talk about one week at a time, you got to believe he's got 11/17 circled on his calendar.

2. Florida in Nashville on Oct. 13: Another home game, and perhaps our best chance to beat the Gators in a long, long time, as they’re still breaking in a quarterback and developing a bunch of young talent.

3. Auburn in Nashville on Oct. 20: Who doesn’t believe we could beat the Tigers at home again? And like in 2008, they’ve got a new QB and a new offensive coordinator.

4. South Carolina in Nashville tonight: The Gamecocks are the best team we’ll face at home.

5. Missouri in Columbia on Oct. 6: Maybe this team will be different, but last year’s Commodores weren’t nearly as tough on the road in the SEC.

6. Georgia in Athens on Sept. 22: We beat Georgia at home when we sneak up on the Bulldogs. This year, they’ve got us circled on their calendar, and they’ve got significantly better talent and a seasoned QB to boot. That doesn’t bode well.


1. Kentucky in Lexington on Nov. 3: The Wildcats are always our best bet for an SEC win.

2. Ole Miss in Oxford on Nov. 10: The Rebels are always our second-best bet for an SEC win.

3. Wake Forest in Winston Salem on Nov. 24: We killed the Demon Deacs last season. A good coach like Jim Grobe doesn’t let that happen two years in a row.

4. Northwestern in Evanston on Sept. 8: The Wildcats were also 6-7, with an 11-point bowl loss to new SEC member Texas A&M. Thank goodness Dan Persa is gone.


1. Presbyterian in Nashville on Sept. 15: Wear your black and gold hose and pull against the Blue Hose.

2. UMass in Nashville on Oct. 27: Brand-new major college team is ripe for the picking.


It should be an interesting season, largely because we play most of our toughest games at home, and the games Vandy fans expect to win but won’t be heavily favored in are all played on the road.

We expect Vanderbilt to win seven games including:

• Two out of six signature wins. Our best guess is wins over Tennessee and Florida, with close home losses to Auburn and South Carolina, a close road loss to Missouri and a not-so-close road loss to Georgia.

• Three out of four wins that Vandy fans expect to win but maybe nobody else does: Our best guess would be rousing road wins over Kentucky, Ole Miss and Wake Forest, but a road loss in the second week of the season to Northwestern.

• Two out of two must-wins: We’ll beat Presbyterian and UMass. Take it to the bank.


• The best: We’re capable of beating any team on our schedule, but I don’t think we’re capable of winning all our games. Even with better athletes and a better frame of mind, we still have to play with an extremely low margin of error in order to win in the SEC. If we catch on fire and our opponents hit some bumps in the road, we could go 10-2 and land in a bowl like the Cotton our Capital One or at the worst the Chick-Fil-A.

• The worst: Looks like 4-8. I think we beat Presbyterian and UMass easily, and I’m counting on at least two out of four road wins over Northwestern, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Wake. But none of our SEC home games are slam dunks. If you think Tennessee is a slam dunk, you haven’t been following Vandy football very long.

Remember, kickoff is at 7 pm Eastern tonight on ESPN. Go Dores!


Another Loud-Mouth VU alum said...

Just turned ESPN off.
I'm starting to count the games where we are not able to get the potential game-winning score with under 5 minutes to go and we have possession. All of these to me are/were the "signature wins".


Yes. This would have been a signature win tonight. I like how Franklin handled it in the press conference. He said that good teams find ways to win.

Greg M said...

Who is in charge of SEC officiating, and how do we get there email. I for one am not going to stand quitely by anymore and let them hose us without concequences. Please provide me with an email to start my campaign. BTW looks like the "sit down" ADDW had with thabout this last year was just BS to appease us.