- Franklin says there’s a buzz about Vanderbilt that there hasn’t been in a long time. He says last year he walked through the mall and nobody said anything to him.
- Franklin puts a lot of emphasis on what he can sell to a recruit that comes to Vanderbilt. He talks about the academics, the facilities and the conference that the Commodores play in.
- Jordan Rodgers’ development will go a long way in determining how successful Vanderbilt is in 2012. Franklin says he’s “night and day” from last year to how he was in spring practice.
- Franklin says his concern on defense is leadership with losing Robert Marve. He says you can’t just replace a player like that.
- Winning over Tennessee seems to be a theme of questions from reporters, but Franklin reiterates that his focus is on the season as a whole, rather than just one game vs. Tennessee and that the focus right now is on South Carolina.
- Franklin likes playing South Carolina to start the season. He says it keeps his players focused throughout the offseason as opposed to having three or four out of conference games that they are favored to win.
- Franklin wishes Sumlin and Pinkel the best of luck in their first year playing in the SEC and thinks they’ll have a lot of success.
- Franklin said last year he walked in to radio row with Nick Saban and it was like he was with a rock star. People were “throwing babies at him” and everything.
- He said he hasn’t turned down a speaking engagement, even if that means blowing up balloons at a little kid’s birthday party.
Marc: James Franklin is adamant that there isn’t a better place to be than Vanderbilt. He constantly touted everything Vandy can offer a recruit, from a world-class education to a chance to play against the best competition in the country. It’s easy to see why Franklin has had so much success on the recruiting trail with how he carried himself in his media session. He believes in Vanderbilt football and it shows in everything he does.
Marq: After listening to James Franklin, you get a sense that he’s the type of guy any program would love to have as its coach. He went from being just another guy walking around at last year’s SEC Media Days to getting praised by Steve Spurrier and garnering national recognition for the Vanderbilt program. He’s committed and willing to do whatever it takes for Vanderbilt to succeed. Franklin has changed the culture at Vandy from being a bottom dweller of the SEC to being in the conversation to win a league title. His team has taken on his personality and if their hard work and dedication can translate into a few more wins on the field, Vanderbilt will make even more noise in the SEC.
As the 2012 college football season draws nearer, Crimson White Sports will take a look at each team in the SEC, give our thoughts on how they will do in the league this year, and give some key matchups vs. Alabama, if they are on the Tide’s 2012 schedule. Last but not least: Vanderbilt.
2011 record: 6-7 (2-6 SEC)
Final AP ranking: Unranked
Year one of the James Franklin regime at Vanderbilt was a success, but then again, it doesn’t take much to be considered a success on West End. Franklin led the Commodores to a 6-6 regular season record and finished with a close bowl loss to Cincinnati in the Liberty Bowl, which has Vandy fans about as excited as they’ve ever been for Commodore football.
But aside from the on-field product, Franklin has had just as much success off the field. He pulled in a top-50 recruiting class, according to 247 Sports, with limited time for his 2012 class, and his 2013 class is already listed as the 20th-best, with two four-stars already committed. The Commodores are certainly on the upswing from the dull days of Bobby Johnson.
Key returning starters: QB Jordan Rodgers, RB Zac Stacy, CB Trey Wilson
2012 outlook: 2011 was a banner year for Vandy football, but it remains to be seen whether the Commodores can sustain that success over multiple years. They caught a lot of teams by surprise last year and won’t have that element on their side this year.
On the flip side, the schedule actually shakes out well for a possible return to a bowl game for Vandy. The ‘Dores open the season at home against South Carolina in a Thursday night game that the whole country will be tuned in to to start the new season. Vanderbilt doesn’t play Alabama, LSU or Arkansas from the West and gets Florida, Auburn and Tennessee at home.
The only sure-wins for Vandy appear to be Presbyterian and UMass, but James Franklin’s team should have a fighting chance in the rest of its games. I like Vandy to take another step forward this year and finish the season 7-5 with another bowl game appearance.
Key games in 2012:
- August 30 vs. South Carolina
- October 13 vs. Florida
- November 17 vs. Tennessee
As the 2012 college football season draws nearer, Crimson White Sports will take a look at each team in the SEC, give our thoughts on how they will do in the league this year, and give some key matchups vs. Alabama, if they are on the Tide’s 2012 schedule. Up next: Missouri.
2011 record: 8-5 (5-4 Big 12)
Final AP ranking: Unranked
Missouri certainly had an interesting 2011. The Tigers started off the season 1-1, with an unimpressive win over Miami (Ohio) and a tough loss to Arizona State in Tempe. The Tigers followed up with a 69-0 thrashing of Western Kentucky, entering the meat of its season at 2-1.
The Tigers had a tough stretch during the middle of its season, losing four of its next six games, including losses to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State, all ranked teams. On Nov. 5, the Tigers added another loss to their record, this time to Baylor and eventual Heisman winner RGIII. Two days later, The Tigers were announced as the 14th member of the SEC.
Apparently the Tigers wanted to impress its future conference with a good showing for the rest of the year, and finished the regular season with three-straight wins and a bowl victory against North Carolina in the Independence Bowl. A slow start, a rough patch in the middle, and a smooth finish for the Tigers.
Key returning starters: QB James Franklin, RB Henry Josey, LB Andrew Wilson
2012 outlook: Missouri will enter its first year in a new conference as a mid-tier program, at least for SEC standards. Still, the Tigers are bringing in an impressive resume from the Big 12, landing near the top of the conference in a few key categories: rushing offense (229 yards per game) scoring defense (26 points per game) and total offense (459 yards per game).
The Tigers are going to have difficult games this year in Georgia, South Carolina Alabama and Florida. That first game against the Bulldogs will set the tone for the season, one way or another. And those games against Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama? Yeah, you can count those up as losses. However, Missouri will have manageable ‘tweener games from Southeastern Louisiana, Arizona State, UCF, Vanderbilt and Kentucky to maintain some semblance of a reasonable schedule.
My take on the Tigers: 9-4 with a bowl win. Welcome to the SEC, Missouri.
Key games in 2012:
- September 08 vs. Georgia
- September 15 vs. Arizona State
- November 03 at Florida
Key matchups vs. Alabama (9-13 @ Missouri)
- Missouri receivers vs. Alabama secondary: The Missouri Tigers’ passing offense was pedestrian last year, especially for Big 12 standards. Still, the Tigers are returning their quarterback, as well as two of their top three receivers from last year. Of course, the arrival of the top overall prospect in the nation, Dorial Green-Beckham, should be a boost for Missouri. Alabama’s secondary should be up to speed this far in the season however, so it should be an interesting matchup.
- Missouri rushing attack vs. Alabama front seven: Missouri will bring in a 1000-yard rushing from last year: running back Henry Josey. Should Josey remain bottled up, however, Missouri may rely on quarterback James Franklin, who had 981 yards rushing last season. Still, Alabama under Saban has been historically good against dual-threat quarterbacks.