SEC Football: Best and Worst-Case Scenario for Every Team in 2015

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Nov 8, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores head coach Derek Mason during the second half against the Florida Gators at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Gators won 34-10. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt could certainly pull a surprise or two this season, but the Commodores are the clear No. 14 team in the SEC and there are reasons to believe the ‘Dores will actually post a worse record in 2015 than they did last year.

First and foremost, Vandy was absolutely dreadful on offense last year. The Commodores ranked last in the SEC in scoring offense (17.2 points per game), rushing offense (109.3 yards per game) and total offense (288.3 yards per game) and finished second to last in passing offense (179.1 yards per game). In SEC play, VU was even worse, scoring 13 points per game and gaining just 257 yards on average. Vanderbilt quarterbacks – of which there were four – completed a terrible 45.6 percent of their passes in eight winless conference games.

Though there is hope that a group of experienced starters and a new offensive coordinator will bring improvement, the ‘Dores were dealt two big blows this fall with season-ending injuries to wide receiver C.J. Duncan and tackle Andrew Jelks.

Furthermore, Vandy posted the worst scoring defense in the SEC last season (33.3 points per game) and surrendered an average of 425 yards per game to SEC opponents. Yes, there is experience coming back and Mason is now calling the plays defensively, but how much improvement can really be made?

Finally, the schedule is actually more difficult and Vanderbilt plays three tough Group of Five teams, including road games against Middle Tennessee and Houston.

Vanderbilt’s Worst-Case Scenario: The ‘Dores get worse, beat only FCS opponent Austin Peay, and must find a new head coach

Next: Best-Case Scenario: Kentucky