Ranking the Games on the Vandy Schedule

I am sure someone once said that not all games are created equal, and that logic can certainly be applied to the ‘Dores 2014 football schedule. Once again the Commodores face a trip through the tough SEC, along with an interesting and varied non-conference slate. With game times now announced, and with spring practice in the books, here is a look at just how excited each game should make you feel.

One Star

Charleston Southern – This is the biggest gimme game on the schedule. It is a product of the James Franklin administration scheduling policy and the need to take a break in the middle of the SEC season.

Old Dominion – This is the second biggest gimme game on the schedule. It is slightly more interesting because by this point in the season the Commodores should be close to bowl eligibility.

UMass – The Minutemen have been ranked as the worst team in the FBS by a number of publications this preseason. The ranking is fair and the ‘Dores should be able to get the backups some playing time if they are as efficient as they should be.

Two Stars

Kentucky – The Wildcats will be better than they have been recently, but they are still a couple of recruiting classes away from really competing at the SEC level. Depending on how the Mississippi and South Carolina games play out this could be the first SEC victory for head coach Derek Mason.

Mississippi State – The rotational SEC game this year is Mississippi State in Starkville. It is probably the least appealing of all the teams in the SEC West to play, a factor only heightened by the fact that Vanderbilt has historically been terrible when facing the Bulldogs on the road. This is a coin flip game in which Mason will be targeting a win.

Three Stars

Temple – This game gets bumped up a line or so because it will mark the debut of Mason on the sidelines at Vanderbilt. After back to back nine win seasons the expectations are higher than ever in Nashville and the opening salvo of the Mason era is eagerly anticipated by all.

Ole Miss – I am beginning to love this rivalry and there is a definite revenge factor here for Vandy after they lost the opener in such a heartbreaking way in 2013. With the Temple game out of the way this will be the first SEC clash for Mason to deal with.

Georgia – The Bulldogs are loaded this year and are the preseason favorites in the SEC East. Vanderbilt, of course, took down Georgia in Nashville with an epic come from behind victory last fall and will have no fear walking into Athens. If Mason has the Commodores where he wants them to be by this point in the season this game could be very interesting.

Four Stars

South Carolina – This is the fourth home game in a row to open the season and from a match up standpoint it is the most interesting. Jadaveon Clowney may have moved on, but the Gamecocks should still be the second best team in the East. This will also be a great test of how Mason's retooled defense is able to stop premier running backs as Mike Davis is one of the best in the nation.

Missouri – Not much history here, but it is a game Vandy can win if they take the right attitude with them to Columbia. Missouri are bedding in a host of new players on offense after a combination of graduations and suspensions has left the cupboard bare.

Five Stars

Florida – There is a lot at play in this game. The way that Vandy just dominated Florida last year in Gainesville did not sit well with the Gators and they will be out for revenge in a big way. The subplot here is that Will Muschamp is coaching for his job this year, another loss to Vanderbilt would be a key nail in his coffin.

Tennessee – Sorry Wake Forest, but this game was moved to the final day of the season for a reason. There could easily be a situation where one, or both, of these teams is fighting to become bowl eligible on the final day of the season. That alone is enough to make it a five star game. Add in the fact that it is a key rivalry which Vanderbilt has had the upper hand in for the last few years and you get by far the most appealing game of the season on the final Saturday. Exactly how the SEC wanted it.

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