Projecting Vandy’s biggest games in 2015

With the start of the college football season less than two months away, fans are starting to look ahead to their teams’ respective schedules and think about what’s in store for 2015. Vanderbilt, of course, will be looking to regain momentum in its second season under coach Derek Mason, who had a rough 3-9 debut season in 2014. The Commodores enjoyed unprecedented success from 2011-13 under James Franklin but fell back to just three wins last year. 

With that in mind, progress will be measured in the form of wins, and there are a couple of games that look to be of particular importance given that the Commodores likely will be underdogs in every SEC game on the schedule.

The first of those, according to Team Speed Kills, comes Sept. 3 against Western Kentucky. Vandy opens the season against a Hilltoppers team that went 8-5 in 2014, and there would be no sweeter way for Mason and his 18 returning starters to start the season than with a win over the team just an hour down I-65 — especially since it would mean a 1-0 start and some positive vibes to kick off the year.

The second is at nearly the opposite end of the schedule when, on Nov. 14, Vanderbilt hosts Kentucky. This contest against the Wildcats would appear to be the Commodores’ best shot to end an SEC losing streak that dates back to 2013.

There is plenty of reason to be optimistic that Vandy will take a step forward in 2015, especially given the unusually high number of returning starters. But in a loaded SEC, the Commodores likely will need not only the two wins listed above but an undefeated mark through the rest of the nonconference slate and at least one other in-conference upset in order to reach a bowl game, which would be just the kind of achievement Mason could use to show that he has the program back on track.

(h/t Team Speed Kills)

Image Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports