Vandy opens season two weeks from today

Two weeks from today Vanderbilt will open the 2014 season against Temple. Offseasons for Vandy football fans are different these days. In the past we'd spend it hoping that team would have enough playmakers to just be competitive. This summer we enjoyed our baseball team winning a national championship with the knowledge that the 'Dore football team would be one of the most talented ever.

To the naysayer media, it was all James Franklin and nothing to do with the kids on the field. Franklin waved a magic wand and suddenly the Commodores were a perennial bowl team. They believe (and hope) if you take Franklin out of the picture the guys in black and gold will suddenly revert their old ways- that is cellar dweller in the SEC. If you really follow Vanderbilt you know that's all a bunch of garbage.

You know that Vandy was slowly improving its talent level and facilities before Franklin arrived. In fact, the Commodores had won a bowl game just two years before the arrival of the messiah. A new practice facility was built along with improvements to the stadium- before Franklin. In short, Franklin did some great things at Vandy but it wasn't all him.

But there you have it. Virtually all the media picking Vanderbilt last in the SEC. I'm thinking most of them are beat writers for teams Vandy had kicked the past three years, writers for teams like, Georgia, Florida and, of course, the once invincible Vols. You see, they are likely homers for those teams. They- and the fans of the teams they write for- want to get back to the good old days when a visit to Nashville meant an easy SEC win and some fun downtown after the game. Even our own Tennessean rags' David Climer jumped on the wagon by picking Vanderbilt stadium as the worst in the SEC saying it has had only one renovation since 1922. Hell, the place was virtually rebuilt in 1981 from the ground up. Just an example of ill-informed writers taking slaps at Vandy.

If you are someone who really follows this Commodore team you know it is loaded with talent. Talent like we've never seen before at Vandy including in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Look at the quarterback position. Vanderbilt likely has three players at that position that would have won the starting quarterback spot from recent starting quarterback's we've seen at Vandy during the 2000s (except maybe Jay Cutler). Who would have ever thought that the reliable Jerron Seymour might lose his starting job to a redshirt freshman? It might happen. Throw in the 20 or so other freshmen from the most talented Commodore recruiting class ever who were redshirted last season and you have a ton of talent to rely on.

While the team is talented, there are some holes in the experience department. Thankfully there is a good core of veteran players on both sides of the ball that can help the younger guys by providing something called "leadership".

Derek Mason has repeatedly said that his goal for the 2014 season was to win the SEC East. I believe he's serious and that he has the horses to do possibly do it. I'm not saying it will happen but, like things played out for the VU baseball team, if the stars align just right with a dose of good luck along with few miraculous plays, these kids can fulfill Mason's goal. In doing so they could take the program one step closer to ridding itself of the losing label it earned after years neglect by the administration. They'll also shut up a few of the naysayer writers who continually pick Vanderbilt last no matter what.

Kickoff against Temple is at 8:15 CT on Thursday, August 28. The network the game will be shown on, the SEC Network, is now operating (at least in some areas). Top Stories