2016-17 Football Previews (SEC) – Commodores
Looking for 2016 Vanderbilt Commodores predictions? The Commodores struggled through yet another season but did see much improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Frank Mason will look to see if he can keep that up and get his offense in some sort of rhythm. Similar to 2015, the strength of the Vanderbilt football team this season will be their defense. Particularly, the Vanderbilt linebacking corps is one of the best in the SEC.
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2016-17 College Football Preview – Vanderbilt Commodores
NCAA Division: SEC
Head Coach: Frank Mason
2015 Record: 4-8
Vanderbilt Commodores Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: +50000
Vanderbilt Commodores SEC Conference Odds: +20000
Win Total: 5 (Over -110 / Under -110)
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2016 Vanderbilt Commodores Predictions: Team Strengths
Zach Cunningham leads that unit coming off of a 103 tackle season with 4.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss.
That earned him a selection as a third team All-American. Joining him will be Nigel Bowden who missed most of last season with a concussion coming off an All-SEC Freshmen Team selection in 2014.
The secondary will be strong and experienced and expected to back up the great group of Commodore linebackers. The group is made up of three juniors and one senior along with junior Oren Burks who could be the X-Factor for this defense.
Burks is expected to be a hybrid type defender playing some linebacker and some in the secondary.
This defensive group will be fun to watch and could be better than the 2015 unit that was 6th in the nation in red zone defense. If the offense is any good and can give the defense some rest, this could be one of the top units in the nation.
One strength of the Commodore offense is running back Ralph Webb. Webb rushed for 1152 yards in 2015 and broke the 100 mark for rushing yards in four separate games with 99 yards in two others.
Webb carried the load of the entire offense as they cycled through a bunch of different quarterbacks. If probable starting quarterback Kyle Shurmur can open up the field through the air a little, Webb could put up an even better season.
2016 Vanderbilt Commodores Predictions: Team Weaknesses
The offense at Vanderbilt has been a weakness for a few years now with a couple bright spots in Jordan Matthews and Zac Stacy over the years – both now in the NFL. But, last year was one of the worst. They averaged 15.2 points per game and just 327 yards per game.
Shurmur – and all of the Vanderbilt quarterbacks – really struggled to open up the passing game which of course limited their entire offense to basically Webb’s production.
If Shurmur can capitalize on a group of receivers returning and the opposing defense’s need to respect Webb’s ability to run, then the Vandy offense could be productive.
But, if it is anything like last season, they will find themselves putting in another sub-.500 season.
The biggest weakness of the offense though -and likely the reason Mason cycled through different quarterbacks – was Vanderbilt’s bad performance in the red zone. They scored on just 21 of 33 trips and only 15 of those being touchdowns.
5 of those 15 came in one game against Austin Peay.
While there is reason to expect improvement, they play in the SEC and therefore, will have a tough time producing against the SEC defenses.
2016 Vanderbilt Commodores Predictions: 6-6
Vanderbilt opens with a winnable game against South Carolina in their season, SEC, and home opener. South Carolina is a going through a transition period post-Spurrier which I eventually think they will come out of as strong as they were before.
However, this year could be a struggle for them.
Following the opener, they have three winnable games vs. Middle Tennessee, at Georgia Tech, and at Western Kentucky. GA Tech and WKU are not the strong teams that they were last season and definitely games that Vanderbilt can take.
The first group of games will dictate the season though. If they struggle out of the gate against the weaker part of their schedule, it won’t get any easier against the rest of their SEC opponents.
However, if they got off to a good start, they could get some momentum and confidence to pull a couple of SEC upsets.
I expect Shurmur and Webb to form a dynamic QB-RB duo and the defense to perform like they did a year ago. The Commodores will not only surpass their 2015 win total but also go over their season betting win total.
2016 Vanderbilt Commodores Football Schedule
- 09/01/2016 vs. South Carolina 8:00 pm
- 09/10/2016 vs Middle Tennessee 4:00 pm
- 09/17/2016 at Georgia Tech 12:30 pm
- 09/24/2016 at Western Kentucky 4:30 pm
- 10/01/2016 vs. Florida TBA
- 10/08/2016 at Kentucky TBA
- 10/15/2016 at Georgia TBA
- 10/22/2016 vs Tennessee State TBA
- 10/29/2016 BYE
- 11/05/2016 at Auburn TBA
- 11/12/2016 at Missouri TBA
- 11/19/2016 vs Ole Miss TBA
- 11/26/2016 vs. Tennessee TBA
What do you think about our 2016 Vanderbilt Commodores predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2016!
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