According to 5Dimes.com it’s going to be a long year in Nashville. The popular offshore wagering site recently released their prop win totals for the 2015 season. Vanderbilt’s over/under is three games. Last year in Coach Derek Mason’s first year the team finished 3-9 after winning 9 games in 2013.
Vandy’s schedule is pretty tough. They open the season against Western Kentucky who is bringing back fifth year senior Brandon Doughty. Last year Doughty lit up the opposition throwing for 4830 yards with 49 touchdowns.
On Sept. 12th the Dores open SEC play by hosting Georgia. Last season in Athens the Dawgs rolled Vanderbilt 44-17. Luckily the Commodores get Austin Peay the following week and should be able to get an easy win at Dudley Field.
Unfortunately Mason’s squad has to head to Oxford Sept. 26th to face Ole Miss. Last year the Rebels dominated Vandy at LP Field 41-3 in a game that wasn’t even close.
On Oct. 3rd the Dores head to Murfreesboro to face MTSU. The Raiders have had Vandy’s number in recent meetings and this game is one that Coach Stockstill has circled on his calender.
Two weeks later Vandy heads to Columbia, South Carolina to play against “The Old Ball Coach”. Last year the Dores played the Gamecocks pretty close but still came up short 48-34.
On Oct. 24th Vandy heads back home to play Missouri. Last season the Commodores gave Maty Mauk fits and came close to pulling an upset on the road. This year it will be interesting to see what Missouri does.
Halloween night the Dores will play Houston on the road. The last time these two teams played Vandy won a thriller in the Compass Bowl. Last year the Cougars finished 8-5 and ended the year by beating Pitt in the Armed Forces Bowl.
On Nov. 7th Vandy heads to the Swamp to play Florida. Two years ago Vanderbilt won in Gainesville but that was under former head coach James Franklin. Last year Florida was pretty dominant in Nashville and beat the Dores 34-10.
On Nov 14th Kentucky comes to Nashville. The Wildcats have shown improvement and even defeated Vanderbilt last year in Lexington, 17-7. It was a pretty game to watch and if the Dores had any offense they could’ve easily won. It should be a close game in Nashville.
The following week Texas A&M makes their first trip to Dudley Field. The Aggies are always good on offense and you can expect them to come out throwing the ball.
The last game of the season will be in Knoxville on Nov. 28th. Last season the Vols came to Nashville a double digit favorite but held on to win by 7. The Dores came to play on defense and gave Tennessee all they wanted.
Three wins seems a little low. Austin Peay is the only game on the schedule that I would be my house on as a guaranteed win. Western Kentucky, MTSU, Houston and Kentucky are winnable but aren’t a sure thing. Games against Missouri, South Carolina, and Tennessee could be close if you look at what happened last year.
The defense should be much improved next year. Derek Mason is calling the defense this year and the team did really well against UT last year when he did it for the first time. Caleb Azubike is poised for a big year in his senior season and Nigel Bowden and Nifae Lealao are getting a lot of buzz for their play last year as freshmen. If Mason can keep SEC teams from scoring into the 20s Vandy could have a shot at winning 5 or 6 games.
The only thing that really worries me is the offense. Andy Ludwig is taking over for Karl Dorrell. Ludwig had some decent seasons at Wisconsin but when you have Melvin Gordon running the ball a lot of that takes care of itself. Vandy has to find a reliable QB. Wade Freebeck struggled as a true freshman in Karl Dorrell’s offense. Johnny McCrary looked like a legit SEC QB against Missouri and Old Dominion last year but against Mississsippi State he looked lost. If Ludwig can utilize Ralph Webb at running back and develop some receivers for whoever is under center Vandy could be able to hang with SEC competition, provided the defense plays up to par.
Three wins is where the sportsbooks think Vandy is this year. I’d take the over. The Commodores will find a way to win at least four.