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What’s next for Vanderbilt?

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Vanderbilt enjoyed historic success in James Franklin’s three years in Nashville, reaching a bowl in every season and winning nine games in 2012 and 2013.

Franklin is off to Penn State, opening up the Vanderbilt job. It’s not an easy place to win — just about every coach before Franklin can confirm that — but it is an SEC job. Franklin was a master recruiter, managing to bring in Rivals’ No. 19 class in 2013 as well as the No. 29 class in 2012 and No. 26 in 2014 (before he left). For a private, academic-oriented school of about 12,000 without any football tradition prior to his arrival, those were impressive feats.

What Franklin proved is that it’s not impossible to win at Vanderbilt. Contending in the SEC is a different story, but those back-to-back nine-win seasons accounted for half of the program’s nine-win seasons in its 110-year history. And Vanderbilt has never won more than nine games in a season.

So the bar is a lot higher for whoever takes over than it was when Franklin came to Nashville. An early list of speculative candidates:

Of course, then there’s this thought that’s been floating around Twitter: What about Mack Brown?

There are a few connections: Brown got his start in college football as a running back for Vanderbilt from 1969-1970, after which he transferred to Florida State. His brother, Watson, coached Vanderbilt from 1986-1990 and graduated from there in 1972.

Barring anything completely out of left field, Vanderbilt will be the last significant job opening to be filled at the college level in this cycle. That should give Vanderbilt AD David Williams a good-sized pool of candidates to sort through in the coming weeks.

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17 Responses to “What’s next for Vanderbilt?”
  1. coltzfan166 says: Jan 9, 2014 12:58 PM

    Mike Munchak

  2. beavertonsteve says: Jan 9, 2014 1:02 PM

    Vandy could do a whole lot worse than Mack Brown. Their 2014 class has zero Texas commits. I’m sure that would change under Brown.

  3. thefiesty1 says: Jan 9, 2014 1:05 PM

    I hear that Mack Brown didn’t really retire and is still not happy with his new “assignment” as special assistant to the president that threw him under the bus to save his own hide.

  4. dryzzt23 says: Jan 9, 2014 1:11 PM

    “significant” job? Really? Vandy is an SEC patsy, that’s all they are. Same goes for Florida, Ole Miss, Miss St, Kentucky, LSU, and Arkansas.

  5. tigersfandan says: Jan 9, 2014 1:30 PM

    What about Pat Narduzzi?

  6. afrancis55 says: Jan 9, 2014 1:34 PM

    Dryzzt lsu is good for anywhere between 9-12 wins a year, hardly a patsy.

    Under muschamp Florida isn’t that great but the talent they have on that team they should be in New Year’s Day bowl games or better every year.

    I think you need to look up what patsy actually means, then come back to spew your nonsense

  7. irishdodger says: Jan 9, 2014 1:45 PM

    @afrancis: I agree LSU is not a patsy. It’s hard to argue about the rest he mentioned. Kentucky & Arkansas were embarrassingly bad. Tennessee still has a ways to go. Florida lost to an FCS team!?!? Ole Miss & MSU are average. Georgia is solid & I like Richt, but they always have an excuse for not getting over the hump despite elite recruits. Mizzou had one great year in the BCS era as a Big 12 team….didn’t take them nearly as long in the SEC in just two short years. TAMU has zero defense…Thank God for Manziel! I think Franklin can be a good coach & I realize Vandy’s history dictates that Franklin is a success in that context…BUT…they beat one team w/ a winning record in the regular season….let’s no elevate Vandy to a national power.

  8. afrancis55 says: Jan 9, 2014 1:55 PM


    You make valid points on all the mentioned teams and for the most part I agree, with all of them. And I wasn’t trying to elevate vandy in anyway, I was just pointing out that lsu isn’t a patsy. As for Florida give muschamp another year before we label Florida as a nobody because I believe with a different offense he can win with the guys he’s recruited.

  9. teambringitstrong says: Jan 9, 2014 2:18 PM

    I wouldn’t call any SEC football team a patsy. The school in Lafayette County, KY is a basketball school but they will still knock the taste out of your mouth if you’re not careful.

    Every other school with the exception of Vanderbilit has a solid football tradition and with that tradition comes expectations and those expectations are generally met sooner rather than later.

  10. fmlizard says: Jan 9, 2014 2:21 PM

    I’ll bet at least one BCS job opens up, one way or another, between now and April 1. Change is the only constant.

  11. halbert53 says: Jan 9, 2014 2:51 PM

    Missouri won SEC East which last few years has not been as strong or deep as SEC West. Missouri beat OK St in bowl, last year A&M thrashed OK in bowl. So while those teams have been competitive in SEC, they were good enough to knock off top tier Big 12 teams and arguably would have won Big 12 last year and this year.

    Mississippi State is no patsy. Despite finishing No. 5 in SEC West, they thrashed Conference USA champ with their No. 2 QB. They also played Bama and Auburn tough.

    If Ole Miss is a patsy, what does that make UT Austin, who they beat on the road?

    Six of the 7 teams in SEC West went to bowl games. Auburn lost to the national champion by 3 in the final minute; Bama got beat by OK, whose conference champ got beat by the champ of the former Big Least.

    LSU, forced to start new QB because of injury, beat a Big 10 school with similar conference finish. A&M beat ACC Coastal division champ, MSU beat Conference USA champ; and Ole Miss (No. 6 in SEC West) defeated an ACC team with a similar finish.

    AR is only bad team in SEC West.

    Most patsies are north of the Ohio River.

  12. dryzzt23 says: Jan 9, 2014 3:30 PM

    All of you are SEC homers. You cannot honestly tell me that Vandy, Florida, Ole Miss, Miss St, Kentucky, LSU, and Arkansas all play amazingly difficult OOC schedules and that their in-conference schedule is the toughest in the country…b/c it isn’t the case for ANY of them.

    Instead you prop up the patsy SEC teams just so you can use them to justify your hyperbole regarding the other SEC teams. It’s that simple.

    LSU and Florida have won some titles b/w them but what the others done? Nothing that’s what.

  13. raysfan1 says: Jan 9, 2014 4:36 PM

    Okay, those teams meet your definition of a patsy. Now, please inform us which conference does not have a similar number (or more) of patsies?

  14. halbert53 says: Jan 9, 2014 5:43 PM

    So glad some posters don’t have to choose between being an SEC hater and being a dumba$$. “And” is better!!!

  15. halbert53 says: Jan 9, 2014 5:49 PM

    UM has never properly thanked Mississippi State for ending the Rich Rodriguez era with a 30- something beatdown in a bowl game.

  16. auburntigers34 says: Jan 9, 2014 7:41 PM


    Feel free to list the B1g teams that aren’t the epitome of a patsy. Go ahead. I dare you.

  17. dvh1100 says: Jan 9, 2014 7:44 PM

    A guy that should get a 2nd chance but no one talks about is Jim Leavitt. He did an amazing job at USF.

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