Non-Con Schedule About to Pick Up

A move by the SEC this week to keep the conference games at eight per season while mandating a meeting with another power conference foe is something Vandy fans should be pretty excited about. The new rule, which will go into effect for the 2016 season, means that the ‘Dores are required to play AT LEAST one opponent from either the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, or the Pac-12 each year.

This was seen to be the ideal compromise to keep existing rivalries (Georgia/Georgia Tech, South Carolina/Clemson, etc) as opposed to adding an extra SEC contest.

If we are being totally honest even the most hardcore Commodore would have trouble getting excited about anything on this year's non-conference slate. The combination of Temple, UMass, Charleston Southern, and Old Dominion, may well be one of the softest in school history. You may remember that both Wake Forest and Northwestern were supposed to add weight to the schedule this fall, but a combination of a shift in scheduling philosophy under James Franklin and the SEC insisting on having a rivalry game (Tennessee) to end the season nixed those plans.

Now though the Commodores, and all the other SEC schools, will have no choice but to add a name school to the schedule. As a fan this really is good news. Yes, the ‘Dores play in the toughest conference in the land and thus there is no shortage of high power teams (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina) on the schedule each year. It is always fun to take on a team that you rarely see play, this is one of the advantages college basketball has over football because of season length. With this mandate the Commodores will now not have to wait until a bowl game to test themselves against a different foe.

The other part of this announcement which has kind of slipped under the radar is that the Commodores will now have Mississippi on the schedule for the foreseeable future. The SEC made the decision to make the Rebels the permanent cross-divisional opponent of Vanderbilt, which is an excellent decision given the way that the series has panned out in the last few years. The teams are close enough, both in talent and location, to have the potential to turn into a real, high level rivalry within a decade. "I think it's great," AD David Williams said. "The last couple of games (with Ole Miss) have been pretty good, and it has developed into a nice little rivalry. We're close enough that their fans travel up here and or fans can travel there. I'm happy to keep Ole Miss."

All in all then this was a great day for Vanderbilt and their fans. Watch out for a story later this week where we will identify five or so potential cross divisional opponents that we would love the ‘Dores to pick up as the SEC continues to be the most forward thinking conference in the country.

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