In 2014 Vandy went 3-9 with wins over UMass, Charleston Southern, and Old Dominion. Of those games only the Old Dominion win was by more than a field goal. Next fall the non-conference slate sees the ‘Dores hosting Austin Peay and Western Kentucky, while travelling to Middle Tennessee and Houston. On paper this is actually a much tougher schedule than the one last year as only Austin Peay finished 2014 with a losing record. The Houston game in particular has long day written all over it. Realistically Vandy has to go 2-2 at worst in these games to hit four wins on the season. Yes, they can make things better by just winning all four.
2 – Win an SEC game or two
There is nothing worse than going 0-for-the-season in conference play and that is what the ‘Dores did in 2014. Looking at the schedule the best bet for an SEC win next year will be the home date on November 14th against a Kentucky team which fell apart down the stretch this fall. Predicting ability year to year is difficult however and if the defense continues the strides that were made at the back end of this season then teams such as Texas A&M and Missouri will also be on upset watch.
3 – Have a plan and stick to it
The biggest issue most fans had with the ‘Dores this fall was a seeming lack of organization and direction from the people in power. Four quarterbacks played, were benched, got injured, had their redshirts burned, played again, failed, played again, and so on. Next fall the quarterback needs to be either Patton Robinette or Johnny McCrary, end of story. It might even work with a platoon of these two guys, but there has to be some kind of coherent strategy in places that the fans can buy into and invest in.
4 – Continue the streak of ‘Dores in the NFL
Vandy had three players drafted into the league in 2014. They had two drafted in each of 2013 and 2012. These numbers may not be at the level of football factories such as Alabama or Ohio State, but they are very respectable for a private school with such high admission standards. Top level recruits pay attention for the ability of a program to get their stars drafted. If Vandy wants to get back to the level of play that was achieved under the previous coaching staff then it must continue to produce players who ply their trade on Sundays.
5 – Beat Tennessee
This has to be the number one wish of any Vandy fan every year. As bad as the ‘Dores were, and they were really bad for parts of 2014, enough came together in the game against the Vols for there to be hope entering 2015. Vanderbilt plays Tennessee in the last game of the regular season again in 2015 and it is reasonable to think by that point that the teams will be much closer in talent and ability than they are right now.
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