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Vanderbilt Commodores 2014 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2014-15 Football Previews – (SEC) – Commodores

For years, when college pigskin fans thought of NCAA ball in the state of Tennessee, Vanderbilt’s program would not come to mind. Yet, the Commodores have undergone a remarkable ascension in the SEC under former head coach James Franklin.

Head Coach: Derek Mason
2013 Record: 9-4
Vanderbilt Gambling Odds to Win 2014 BCS Championship: 250/1
Futures from sportsbook.ag

Unfortunately, the departure of Franklin may take some of the shine off that recent performance.

This isn’t the case if you ask new head coach Derek Mason, who believes Vandy will play a punishing brand of football. We’ll have to see if Vanderbilt can continue to nab the recruits necessary to make forward progress after a 9-4 season.

Considering Vandy is usually in the tail end of the SEC, the Commodores produced a great nine-win campaign in 2013. It will be tricky to catch lightning in a bottle again, largely because the offense loses two receivers that accounted for 92% of the team’s production.

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A QB battle is also front and center in Nashville this season. There is a three-way battle for the starting spot, with returning sophomore Patton Robinette, freshman Johnny McCrary and LSU transfer Stephen Rivers all in the mix. It should make for an important transition for the new stewardship of Mason.

Let’s look at the strengths and deficiencies of this year’s Vanderbilt Commodores.

Team Strengths

The run game wasn’t great last year, but it should be vastly improved in 2014. What the duo of Jerron Seymour and Brian Kimbrow lack in the size department (Seymour 5″7, 200; Kimbrow 5″8, 185 lbs) they make up for in gusto. They will also be trotting behind a veteran offensive line, with the bright spots being the left side of tackle Andrew Jelks, junior guard Jake Bernstein and veteran center Joe Townsend. The latter leads the unit.

Vandy should also feature a stout defensive front seven. Talented sophomore DE Adam Butler pairs with beefy senior DT Vince Taylor on the line, and they’re buttressed with LBs Darreon Herring and junior Caleb Azubike.

These strong focal points should make Coach Mason look like he has a crystal ball; the Commodores should be punishing on the offensive and defensive lines and some good things will come from that.

Team Weaknesses

Having inexperienced WRs and the QB position in flux is never good for your offensive mojo. Dual-threat frosh McCrary looks tantalizing, but look for former LSU man Rivers to win the starter’s job. Tight end should become increasingly important in Mason and offensive co-ordinator Karl Dorrell’s scheme, so junior Steven Scheu needs to take a leap forward.

Keep an eye on redshirt freshman TE Nathan Marcus, who could have an increased role in the offense.
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Vanderbilt replaces four seniors in the secondary that had combined to start 110 games over the past four years. It goes without saying that will be a place of worry on the “D”. There should be at least one freshman cornerback and one freshman safety, so expect aerial attacks to burn the Commodores in 2014.

The special teams unit could be a nightmare. The team is desperately trying to find a replacement for reliable departed veteran Carey Spear; redshirt freshman Tommy Openshaw has the inside track currently but that could change. Returning starting punter Taylor Hudson is back, but he lost his job late last season, so that’s not much of an endorsement.

2014-15 Vanderbilt Football Prediction: 7-5

When James Franklin decided to bolt for Penn State, it sent ripple waves through Vanderbilt’s potential. Franklin was building a very good thing in Nashville, a worthy foil to Knoxville’s beloved Tennessee Volunteers.

When Franklin departed, Vandy lost 13 commitments, including five of them that followed him to Happy Valley. It’s up to Mason to make his own legacy from scratch and it certainly won’t be seamless in the SEC.

There’s some talent on this roster and the ‘Dores should play rugged, hard-nosed football, if nothing else.

2014 Commodores Schedule

  • 8/28/14 TEMPLE
  • 9/6/14 OLE MISS (@ LP Field, Tennessee Titans’ home stadium)
  • 9/13/14 UMASS
  • 9/20/14 S. CAROLINA
  • 9/27/14 @ KENTUCKY
  • 10/4/14 @ UGA
  • 10/11/14 CHARLESTON SOUTHERN (FCS)
  • 10/25/14 @ MIZZOU
  • 11/1/14 OLD DOMINION
  • 11/8/14 FLA
  • 11/22/14 @ MISS. ST.
  • 11/29/14 TENN

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About James Hayes

James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!


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