Vanderbilt Strength of Schedule: The SEC’s easiest schedule in 2014

Derek Mason

SDS takes a trip around the SEC and ranks the schedule strength of all 14 SEC teams. Starting with Vanderbilt, we’ll work our way down to the toughest schedule in the SEC.

2014 SEC Strength of Schedule Rankings:

How the NCAA ranks the SEC’s 2014 strength of schedule
#1: Tennessee strength of schedule
#2: Arkansas strength of schedule
#3: Florida strength of schedule
#4: Auburn strength of schedule
#5: Kentucky strength of schedule
#6: South Carolina strength of schedule
#7: Georgia strength of schedule
#8: LSU strength of schedule
#9: Texas A&M strength of schedule
#10: Ole Miss strength of schedule
#11: Mississippi State strength of schedule
#12: Alabama strength of schedule
#13: Missouri strength of schedule
#14: Vanderbilt strength of schedule

No SEC schedule is truly ‘easy’ per se, so perhaps ‘most favorable’ could be used to describe the Commodores’ slate. But Vandy has the SEC’s least toughest schedule in 2014, and the non-conference schedule may feature the country’s easiest four games.

Vanderbilt’s strength of schedule ranks dead last in the SEC for 2014.

2014 Vanderbilt Commodores schedule

  • Aug. 28: Temple
  • Sept. 6: vs. Ole Miss (LP Field, Nashville)
  • Sept. 13: UMass
  • Sept. 20: South Carolina
  • Sept. 27: at Kentucky
  • Oct. 4: at Georgia
  • Oct. 11: Charleston Southern
  • Oct. 25: at Missouri
  • Nov. 1: Old Dominion
  • Nov. 8: Florida
  • Nov. 22: at Mississippi State
  • Nov. 29: Tennessee

By The Numbers

  • 7 home games
  • 4 away games
  • 1 neutral site game
  • 0 power non-conference games
  • 4 projected preseason top 25 teams (Ole Miss, South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri)

Strength of Schedule Rank

  • SEC East: 7th
  • SEC overall: 14th

Notes:

  • Cross divisional opponents: Ole Miss and Mississippi State
  • Opponents winning %: 78-73 (51.7 %)
  • Bye weeks: Before Missouri and Mississippi State
  • Biggest swing game: Tennessee

Vanderbilt’s strength of schedule has to be attractive to new head coach Derek Mason, who openly said the Pac-12 strength of schedule is tougher than the SEC’s earlier this offseason.

We’ll see if he’s singing a different tune come December, even with the SEC’s most favorable strength of schedule.

Coming off another nine-win season under James Franklin, Mason hopes to maintain status quo and continue blotting fresh ink in the Vanderbilt history books, and he certainly has the schedule to accomplish the feat.

The Commodores play no non-conference teams from major conferences, and Vanderbilt should win all four against Temple, UMass, Charleston Southern and Old Dominion, who had a combined winning percentage of .429 during the 2013 season.

Vanderbilt has the annual bout with Ole Miss, which will be played at LP Field, and draw Mississippi State as the rotating cross-divisional member. Normally, that would be a very favorable cross-divisional slate, but the Magnolia state teams are set up for a bit of a run in 2014. The Commodores’ home schedule features Temple, UMass, South Carolina, Charleston Southern, Ole Dominion, Florida and rival Tennessee.

Vanderbilt’s schedule possesses a few swing games, but the biggest swing game comes against in-state rival Tennessee. They have beaten Tennessee two straight seasons, really extinguishing the Vols’ bowl hopes and keeping the ‘state championship’ banner flying. Mason hopes to continue that feat.

Vanderbilt’s nine-win season in 2013 was aided by wins over powers Georgia and Florida. That will be a much tougher task to accomplish in 2014, assuming both teams stay healthy.

Vanderbilt’s 2014 strength of schedule ranks as the SEC’s most favorable slate.

REFERENCES

COMMENTS

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  • This is one example why the rule is in place for 2016 that each team must play a team from a major conference. Only potential “tough” thing I noticed is their first bye is pretty late in the season. They should be 5-2 going into that first bye. And they do not have any tough stretch of games either. Could MAYBE argue the last three games of the season but there is a bye week in those last 3 games and they get a very easy game before the start of that.
    With that schedule how many games is Vandy expected to win this season? I am not up to date with how many starters they lost from last season so I can’t make an accurate prediction.

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