Aug 21, 2012

2012 SEC Previews: Vanderbilt with Anchor Of Gold

We’re previewing the upcoming season with help from SBNation. Today, Anchor Of Gold breaks down Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt plays arguably its two toughest games in the first month of the season, hosting South Carolina Aug. 30 and traveling to Georgia three weeks later. The Commodores’ schedule sets up favorably in the back half of the season, with their final five games coming against programs that had losing records last year.

2011 Record: 6-7

2011 Bowl: Liberty Bowl vs. Cincinnati, 24-31

2012 Bowl Projections:

Orlando Bowl History

N/A

Q&A with Anchor Of Gold

Describe the 2011 season in two words.

Expectations exceeded.

James Franklin made his presence felt at Vanderbilt very quickly. What kind of improvement should we expect in his second year at the helm?

The offense will be better. Vanderbilt returns all their skill players except tight end Brandon Barden and coach Herb Hand has worked wonders in rebuilding Vandy’s offensive line. Add some of the most talented recruits to ever hit Nashville to the mix, and you’ve got an exciting team that can win shootouts.

That’s a good thing, because the defense has lost their four most prolific players from last year’s Liberty Bowl squad. Chris Marve, Tim Fugger, Casey Hayward, and Sean Richardson all graduated in 2012. That leaves some big holes to fill, both from a talent and leadership position.

Thankfully, a relatively weak schedule and some loaded depth charts should help overcome those problems. Vandy should make strides in 2012 and make it to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history.

On paper, what looks like the toughest game this season?

It’s probably a tie between South Carolina and Georgia. Vandy was lucky to avoid the big bad wolves of the SEC West, but the Gamecocks and Bulldogs are both primed for big years, and the ‘Dores aren’t going to sneak up on anyone this season.

Best case/worst case scenario for the postseason.

Best case: Vanderbilt sizzles as Jordan Rodgers plays like his older brother and leads the ‘Dores to a nine-win season and a bowl game that people actually care about.

Worst case: The defense bottoms out after losing its core and Vandy’s tailbacks struggle with injury, dropping the ‘Dores to a 3-9 season and making James Franklin look like a bit of an ass.

On a scale of Eli Manning to Marcus Vick, where does Jordan Rodgers rank among younger brothers of famous NFL quarterbacks?

Well, he hasn’t pulled a gun on anyone at McDonald’s, so he’s no Marcus Vick. But Eli Manning doesn’t have any pictures like THIS, so he’s not a Manning. I’d put him at the Jordan Palmer level, just because he’s a solid QB for a lesser known team than his brother, plus they’ve got the whole name thing going for them.

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