Can 1-3 become 4-4?

Being a Vandy fan has been rough so far this season. Sure, there have been losing years in the past, far too many of them, but this team was supposed to be different. James Franklin has so far proven himself to be a master recruiter, a P.R. department's dream, and a fantastic interview.

Being a Vandy fan has been rough so far this season. Sure, there have been losing years in the past, far too many of them, but this team was supposed to be different. James Franklin has so far proven himself to be a master recruiter, a P.R. department's dream, and a fantastic interview. Now it is time for Franklin to prove that he can coach as well as he sells and take a group of demoralized kids without a quarterback back into bowl contention before we hit Halloween.

If Vanderbilt is to be half of what Franklin believes they can be in 2012 then Saturday in Athens HAS to be as bad as it gets. There are many who think Georgia are a legitimate threat for the National Championship this season, and with the way they methodically took apart a Commodore team who had upset on their minds it is not hard to jump on that bandwagon. The ever objective Franklin, though, will have the bye week to study the game film and figure out exactly what it is that is not working on defense. Why the team is committing so many penalties, and why a potentially potent offense just isn't yet firing how it should.

This next stretch of four games is the first litmus test since Franklin became the Vanderbilt head coach. Opening up with two of the toughest games of the year in the first four weeks was always going to be difficult, but the loss at Northwestern was a body blow that needs to be overcome. The next stretch of the schedule features a trip to Columbia, Missouri before three games in Nashville; Florida, Auburn, and UMass. To save the season Vanderbilt has to go 3-1 in those games to enter November at 4-4.

These opponents are a combined 7-9 to start the year and if you take out a better than expected 4-0 Florida team then the remaining three are a pretty abject 3-9. UMass has yet to win a game while Auburn needed an overtime field goal against Louisiana Monroe to get their sole win so far this year. In basic terms three of the four games are eminently winnable and if James Franklin wants to continue to foster a new winning culture at Vanderbilt then he needs to end the month with his team at .500.

I believe in James Franklin. This university and city believe in James Franklin. Now it is time for him to really earn his paycheck and turn this season around for the better.

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