Vanderbilt Commodores 2012 Football Preview2011 Record: 6-7; 2-6 SEC
2011 Bowl: 24-31 L vs Cincinnati @ Liberty Bowl
Head Coach: James Franklin
Odds to win SEC: 100/1
Odds to win SEC East Div: 20/1
Betting Futures from Bovada
Jordan Rodgers, brother of Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers, was a huge improvement over Lary Smith after replacing him at the half of a 28-33 Loss to Georgia on October 15th of last year. Rogers improved the offense to a very respectable 31.6 points per game and 413 yards per game over the final seven regular season games, three of which were wins over Army, Kentucky, and Wake Forest.
Zac Stacy stepped up as one of the top RBs in the SEC last year, setting a school record with 1,193 yards on 5.9 yards per carry. He’s not the quickest, but his footwork is very sound and he packs a lot of punch. Freshman Brian Kimbrow is a bit on the small side (5’8″ 170), but is athletic enough to raise some eyebrows with his big play capacities.
At wide out, they have the amazing Jordan Matthews, who had 452 yards in a three game stretch last year against Arkansas, Florida, and Kentucky. Chris Boyd will also be a primary target.
The OL improved a lot as the year went on last year, too. Wesley Johnson was a great sophomore sensate last year and started seven games at center, five at LT, and one at LG.
Vandy isn’t quite as stacked at DL as the premier in conference teams, but they have some experience and quality linebacker to help their cause. Walker May will attack QBs and come up with big defensive plays.
Chase Garnham will step into replace Chris Marve in the middle of the D, but depth will be an issue at LB.
The secondary lost two to the NFL in CB Casey Hayward and S Sean Richardson. CB should still be a strong position for the Commodores, though, with senior Trey Wilson and junior Andre Hal.
Carey Spear and Ryan Fowler both disappointed on FGs last year, with only 8 of 14 between them and no makes beyond 37 yards. Richard Kent was a good punter, though, with a 42.5 yard average on 64 kicks.
Vandy improved last year, and more improvement is expected, with Athlon magazine predicting three SEC wins to last year’s two. They ranked 6th in SEC scoring last year, which is big in a conference like the SEC, and it ranked them 61st nationally. Their defense was even better, ranking 18th in the nation (and 6th in the SEC). Four of their six losses last year came by six points or less, so a vast improvement can be made just b winning close games.
They may make their second straight bowl appearance, which has never happened in school history. They have the talent level to do it, but will need the defense to play about the same as last year, which isn’t a given as they have lost a number of starters.