Since his arrival, James Franklin has changed the identity of the Vanderbilt football program. Once the perennial losers, the Commodores have put together back-to-back seasons of winning records and bowl appearances.
Franklin has gained many recruits that would have previously steered away from the Nashville based University known more for academics than athletics. The Commodores even embarrassed state-rival Tennessee to lay the final nail in then-coach Derek Dooley’s proverbial coffin.
Franklin has vowed to make Vanderbilt an elite program in the SEC, a difficult task based on the team’s history. Although he has done wonders to improve the once hapless program, one should not assume the Commodores will be anything more than a mediocre team at best.
Vanderbilt just isn’t on the level of a dominant SEC team and will never be viewed as such. For all his credits, Franklin is the epitome of why Vanderbilt football will never be taken seriously.
On numerous occasions, Franklin shows the inferiority complex Vanderbilt and their fan base have to the rest of the SEC, especially Tennessee. Franklin has attempted to poke jabs at the Tennessee football program since taking over as the Vols have continued to struggle.
He also gained attention by calling reigning national champion head coach Nick Saban “Nicky Satan” on record. Franklin would later apologize for the statement.
Vanderbilt needs to overcome their inferiority complex of “look at us, look at us, we’re over .500” before truly being a dominant SEC program. The image of Vandy football has improved, but it is nowhere near a top choice amongst prized recruits or a national brand amongst college football fans.
The more they attempt to point out their improvements, the less serious people should take them. Having to beg for attention just reminds people why you aren’t taken seriously in the first place.
Vanderbilt does not have the players to continue to improve from a just over .500 record and will never truly see dominant results in hopes of becoming an elite SEC football program.