What’s not to love about supreme optimism?

It’s the best time of the year for college football fans, especially those favoring the SEC. Dreams of a national championship aren’t yet crushed and homers abound can all take a stab at guessing wins and losses on their respective team’s schedule.

‘Best Case Scenario’ Series


2013 record: 9-4, 4-4
2014 best case: 8-5, 3-5
Closer look: Eight wins in Derek Mason’s first season is an extremely high number considering a schedule loaded with as many as six ranked teams, but there’s at least four games you can pencil in as victories right off the bat. Week 2 against Ole Miss at LP Field is a huge game for the Commodores. A win there would be the ultimate confidence boost heading into a three-week stretch post-UMass featuring games against Eastern Division competition every Saturday. Home games against South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee are challenging and 1-2 there is likely best-case scenario. The talent gap during road games at Georgia, Mizzou and Mississippi St. will show on the scoreboard, but we’re still envisioning, at worst, six wins.
Silver lining: The rest of the country’s not expecting much from Vanderbilt this season which works as the perfect motivator for the Commodores. On the flip-side, there’s tons of teams in college football who aren’t respected coming in and a lot of those programs are indeed headed toward 4-8 finishes. We’re intrigued by Mason’s defensive success at Stanford and while Vanderbilt doesn’t have that caliber of athlete at every position yet, the Commodores are guaranteed to be a well-coached team with a blue collar approach. It won’t surprise us if Vanderbilt plays with discipline and poise. But at some point, those two elements only go so far.