Friday, August 15, 2008

Vanderbilt Looks For First Bowl in 26 Years

Bobby Johnson is outraged at our prediction

SEC East #6 - Vanderbilt Commodores

2007 Results and Offseason
Vandy just missed out on breaking their bowl streak but lost their final four games to finish 5-7. HC Bobby Johnson brought in a small class that ranked at the bottom of the SEC rankings by most pundits. Vanderbilt will be a young team this year with just 9 returning starters.

2007 Record: 5-7, 2-6
Ret. Starters: 9
Ret. Lettermen: 48
Off PPG 18.2 (11th) RYPG 145.1 (6th) PYPG 151.4 (11th)
Def PPG 25.4 (4th) RYPG 143.9 (7th) PYPG 216.9 (9th)

Offense (3 RS 22 RL)
Mackenzi Adams and Chris Nickson split time at QB last season, but Adams started the final six games of the season. Adams brings more of a running threat than Nickson and Johnson likes that. Jeff Jennings is the leading returning rusher with 360 yards. He will battle Jared Hawkins for the starting job. Earl Bennett is gone at WR and the top four returns don't match his receptions or yards from a year ago. George Smith and Sean Walker had 3TDs each. All five o-linemen will have to replaced and this group has just three starts between the entire two deep..not a good situation.

Defense (6 RS 23 RL)
Gone is leading tackler Jonathan Goff, another LB in the long line of Vandy LBs (not kidding on this one). CB DJ Moore is the leading returning tackler and had six INTs last season. The DL loses three starters, but returnees Steven Stone and Broderick Stewart had 10 total sacks. Just one starter returns at LB in Brandon Bryant. The DBs are led by Moore along with 3 other returning starters and four experienced backups. Vandy should improve on the PYPG this season.

Special Teams
Vandy returns all of its specialists. Moore also returns kicks and had a very good average of 25.7 a year ago.

Recruiting - Link

Vandy is in the toughest division in CFB so the lack of bowls is not without reason for the small private school in Nashville. In the non-conf they play @Mia-OH, vRice, vDuke, @Wake. From the West they draw @Miss, vAub, @Miss St. The final four are brutal with vUF, @UK, vUT, @Wake.

Final Thoughts
Vandy plays a lot of teams tough and every once in a while scores a big upset (see @UGA in 2006). Nashville is not an easy place to play and I think Johnson will get them to a bowl eventually, just not this year.

Likely Wins: vRice
Likely Losses: vAub, @UGA, vUF, vUT,
3-9, 0-8

Next Up is SEC West #5

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