Another week, another slow start for the Vanderbilt Commodores (1-2, 0-2). Before Vandy could blink last week, it was already down 28-0 against No. 12 South Carolina (2-1, 1-1). Though the Commodores kept fighting, it was too little too late. The 35-25 loss not only sent Vanderbilt to the bottom of the SEC East standings, but it also raised questions about whether or not this program can ever get over the hump and reach the level of competitiveness necessary to challenge the big boys in the league.
The Commodores still have several opportunities to erase those doubts, with No. 9 Georgia (Oct. 19), No. 10 Texas A&M (Oct. 26) and No. 19 Florida (Nov. 9) remaining on the schedule. But for now, the loss to South Carolina is a reminder of the natural order of life in SEC football, and Vandy didn’t help its cause by taking a big step back in its level of play. Frankly, the Commodores were lucky to only lose by 10; South Carolina could have easily blown them out of the stadium if not for self-inflicted wounds.
In many people’s eyes, Vanderbilt is now where it belongs. You can bet James Franklin and his team don’t feel they belong there, and by season’s end they probably won’t be last in the division. But in the grand scheme of things, you can’t help but wonder if Vanderbilt has reached its ceiling as a football program. Can things go up from here for the Commodores?
What to look for in Week 4: A big, bounce back performance by the Commodores at mighty 0-3 UMass. The Minutemen rank below 100th in basically every major statistical category. Vanderbilt should easily have its way with this team, which could help lessen the pain of a disappointing start in conference play. Ah, who am I kidding? This game means absolutely nothing, will do nothing to make Vandy feel better about being in the SEC East cellar and is, frankly, one of the worst games on any league team schedule.