Preseason poll provides perspective on Vanderbilt's opener

Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:02pm

For the first time since 2006, Vanderbilt will open the season against a nationally ranked program.

South Carolina is ninth in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, which was released Thursday. The Commodores host the Gamecocks on Thursday, Aug. 30, in front of a primetime national TV audience on ESPN.

The Associated Press has not released its preseason poll yet, but the last time Vanderbilt defeated a top 10 opponent at home was in 1974 against Florida.

“This team has nothing to do with what took place 30 years ago,” coach James Franklin said at a press conference on Thursday to kick off preseason camp. “… We’re just focused on playing that game, not anything based on history, not their ranking. I think that’s awesome but our focus is beating the team that lines up across from us on Aug. 30.”

South Carolina has won the last three games against Vanderbilt, including 21-3 in Columbia last year. The Gamecocks return 13 starters from a 2011 team that set a school record with 11 wins and beat Nebraska in the Capitol One Bowl. Vanderbilt’s last win against a ranked opponent was in 2008 over No. 13 Auburn.

“My approach is I’m going to be really, really nice about South Carolina and talking about [coach] Steve Spurrier because you don’t want to get him on your bad side,” Franklin said. “He is one of those guys that can say whatever he wants. You want to stay on Steve’s good side. But they’ve got a great team and he is a great coach and has done tremendous things.”

LSU topped the coaches rankings, with defending national champ Alabama second. Georgia (sixth) and Arkansas (10th) also cracked the top 10. The SEC had seven teams in the top 25, including 2012 Vanderbilt opponents Florida (23rd) and Auburn (25th). In fact, only three SEC teams did not receive votes — Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Ole Miss.

“Because we did some good things and laid the foundation, to think all of a sudden everybody across the country and this region are going to respect us for what we did, that’s not going to happen,” said Franklin, who is one of 59 coaches with a vote. “You got to wake up every single morning and you got to earn that respect … . The perception is not going to change overnight and I’m perfectly fine with that.”

9 Comments on this post:

By: PKVol on 8/3/12 at 7:35

1 - LSU
2 - Alabama
6 - Georgia
9 - South Carolina
10 - Arkansas
23 - Florida
25 - Auburn

"The SEC had six teams in the top 25"

Why does six look like seven?

By: Bennyhaha on 8/3/12 at 7:53

"the last time Vanderbilt defeated a top 10 opponent was in 1974 against Florida." HUH? I dont keep stats, and I know there arent very many more if any, BUT I know in 2007 VU defeated # 6 South Carolina, and it was not a fluke, the Dores blew them out on the road

By: MetalMan on 8/3/12 at 8:00

Well, at least Vanderbilt has brand new synthetic turf to lose on instead of that old natural grass!

By: Bennyhaha on 8/3/12 at 8:11

Wow, MetalMan sounds like he knows a thing or two about being a loser.

By: jtb on 8/3/12 at 9:01

PKVol, Bennyhaha,

Thank you for making me aware of my mistakes. I apologize for the errors. Corrections will be made shortly.

Thanks again.


By: Bennyhaha on 8/4/12 at 7:02

Jerome, thanks for the article and hey, finding historic big wins for Vandy's football team isnt easy, but I just wanted to point out some basic facts that are never mentioned. Vandy was pretty good at football in the 1950's when universities were not the minor leagues like they are today, and Vandy's choice of Chancellor from 1962-1980 was Alexander Heard, who was an adviser to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, who declined the presidency Columbia U, to stay at Vandy where he established Peabody, Blair and Owen schools while doubling VU's enrollment without much consideration for athletics. Heard's successor, Joe B Wyatt was hired in 1982 when NFL salary's only averaged $90,000 and he continued the pursuit of academic excellence with athletics being an afterthought(which coincided with NFL strikes of '82 & '87 which led to skyrocketing pay for NFLers because of revenue sharing and collective bargaining) but during his tenure in 1989 VU for the first time was ranked in the top 25 Undergraduate Universities, With this tremendous academic success while other SEC schools focused on athletics, Vandy definitely began to fall behind on the football field, and not until the debacles of Ron Mercer and Eddie Fogler of the early 1990's did the VU Board decide that improving athletics would be a focus, but that was not Wyatt's forte, and not until 2000 when Wyatt retired(NFL salaries now averaged $800,000/yr) with the hiring of Chancellor Gee along with David Williams did VU actually begin to focus on athletics, and really realise that we can become an NFL minor league franchise like the rest of the SEC which means getting improved players and facilities, which takes time, while maintaining the academic integrity. As it sits now, Vandy has really only been trying at football since 2000 and is only on their second true coach, James Franklin, and this remains the infancy of Vandy football in the modern era, and many, many fans are very excited to watch this transformation that is just beginning.

By: Rasputin72 on 8/4/12 at 8:03

When Vanderbilt plays an SEC opponent in football you will always be in vogue if you pick their opponent.

Now if the game is squash or field hockey or lacrosse the odds are much better.

By: joe41 on 8/4/12 at 10:15

Each year is different. I will be in the stands when Vandy plays South Carolina. All good college football fans in Nashville will be there too.


By: 4gold on 8/6/12 at 7:10

Ditto Joe, All of Nashville needs to get out and support the Dores vs SC. I can't see how ARK is ranked so high. VU beat ARK every where but the score board last year. ArK won that game on an untouched fumble and 98 yd. return when VU was 2 yds from going up 3 scores on ARK in the 4th Qtr. But a loss is a loss and VU gets no respect for beating and blowing games. Go Dores. Do it this year.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!