Similar to the Tennessee Vols in the other direction, if we went by offseason successes, the Vanderbilt Commodores would easily be at the bottom of our SEC Power Rankings. After all, they had the worst recruiting class in the conference, lost their last game en route to a 6-7 season, lost their quarterback in Kyle Shurmur and also lost nearly 60 percent of their defense.
And, again, this team went 6-7! How much better than 5-7 is that, really? Well, to be fair to Vandy, their last loss was by only a touchdown to the Baylor Bears. Combining that with the fact that the Vols, Ole Miss Rebels and Arkansas Razorbacks all lost their final game in blowout fashion, with UT and the Hogs losing their final two like that, keeps Vandy at No. 11 for now.
It’s also worth noting that despite their defensive issues, the ‘Dores do return a good bit of offensive talent, even without Shurmur. That includes running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who could be a dark-horse Heisman contender.
Also, Vandy added veteran graduate transfer quarterback Riley Neal, who had four years of experience with the Ball State Cardinals, to compete with Deuce Wallace for the starting job this year. And he just might win it. As a result, there may not be too much of a drop-off from Shurmur. All of those things keeps them afloat for now in these rankings.