You don't want to play Vanderbilt in November
Since coming over from Maryland and taking over Vanderbilt’s lackluster football program in 2011, the Commodores are 23-15 (11-13 SEC) with two straight winning seasons and what is soon to be a third bowl appearance.
In the three years prior to his arrival, Vanderbilt combined for just 11 wins, including back-to-back two-win seasons. He’s helped the 'Dores leap from knowing they’ll lose (29.7 winning percentage from 2008-10) to knowing they have a chance to beat anyone (60.5 percent from '11-present).
What’s possibly one of the most impressive stats in the country—and a large reason why he’s one of the hottest coaching prospects out there—is his ability to make adjustments and find a stride late in the year.
Vanderbilt is 10-2 in the month of November under Franklin, and has won nine straight dating back to 2011. During this time he’s knocked off rival Wake Forest three times, Tennessee twice, Ole Miss on the road and Florida in the swamp.
Granted, the Commodores’ conference schedule has been notoriously top-heavy, playing six-of-nine ranked opponents within the first six weeks of the season and eight-of-nine in the first eight. They’re also 1-7 overall in this category.
The numbers aren’t overwhelming, but it’s Vanderbilt we’re talking about. This is the same program that has an all-time losing record (574-580-50), hasn’t had a conference championship since 1923 (Southern Conference), had five wins or less for 25 straight years (1983-2007), and appeared in just four bowl games in its 121-year existence.
Vanderbilt has become the team no one wants to play down the stretch, thanks to Franklin. Whether he stays or heads for greener pastures, the Commodores are a lot of fun to watch and should continue to be relevant with two straight top-30 recruiting classes.
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