Published February 16, 2012 - 5:52pm
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Vanderbilt had a very nice 2011 season going 6-6 and getting to a bowl game. While the ‘Dores lost the bowl game against Cincinnati, it was a nice step forward for the program under new coach James Franklin. Vanderbilt doesn’t lose much, and might be able to bounce back with another successful season, especially with a weak schedule.
SDS is ranking the schedules of all 14 SEC schools, and we start with the bottom. The Vanderbilt Commodores have the second weakest schedule in the SEC in 2012. Let’s take a look at why Vanderbilt’s 2012 schedule is very favorable.
2012 Vanderbilt Commodores Schedule
- Sep 01 – South Carolina Gamecocks
- Sep 08 – at Northwestern Wildcats
- Sep 15 – Presbyterian Blue Hose
- Sep 22 – at Georgia Bulldogs
- Sep 29 – BYE
- Oct 06 – at Missouri Tigers
- Oct 13 – Florida Gators
- Oct 20 – Auburn Tigers
- Oct 27 – UMass Minutemen
- Nov 03 – at Kentucky Wildcats
- Nov 10 – at Ole Miss Rebels
- Nov 17 – Tennessee Volunteers
- Nov 24 – at Wake Forest Demon Deacons
- 6 Home Games
- 6 Road Games
- 2 Cupcakes
- 2 Nerd Bowls a.k.a. non-conference matchups against Northwestern and Wake Forest (both on the road)
- 3 top 25 opponents (#5 Georgia, #10 South Carolina, #25 Florida Gators) using ESPN’s early top 25 estimate
- 2 top 25 opponents (#7, South Carolina, #9 Georgia) using an early SI poll
Vanderbilt will play its toughest two games in the first month of the 2012 season. South Carolina at home and Georgia on the road in late September are very tough matchups and undoubtedly represent losses for the Commodores. Past this, however, the Commodores lucked out big time on the home vs away SEC schedule.
The other three SEC road games other than the Georgia game are Missouri, Kentucky and Ole Miss.
The remaining SEC opponents are all at home: Florida, Tennessee and Auburn. While Vanderbilt will likely be an underdog in these games, the Dores could easily pick off one or more of the games.
Vanderbilt has scheduled two non-cupcake, out-of-conference games with Northwestern and Wake Forest and these are games that Franklin’s team needs to win. Both are on the road.
There are no really tough stretches here in the schedule. Perhaps the most difficult stretch being at Missouri, Florida and then Auburn. The only time the ‘Dores will have to travel two weeks in a row is to Kentucky followed up by a trip to Ole Miss.
With a favorable schedule, Vanderbilt could definitely be looking at another bowl-eligible season in 2012.
Stay tuned as we break down each team’s schedule counting up to the toughest schedule. If you want a sneak peak at the full list, you’ll have to add SDS to your “Circles” on Google Plus here then view the recent posts.