Vanderbilt Football 2019 Schedule: Confidence Is Key to 9-3

Vanderbilt football
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 08: Cody Markel #45 and Amir Abdur-Rahman #87 of the Vanderbilt Commodores congratulate teammate Ke'Shawn Vaughn #5 on scoring a goal against the Nevada Wolf Pack during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

The Vanderbilt Commodores finished the 2018 season with another satisfying win over Tennessee to become bowl eligible. They spent the holidays getting ready to take on Baylor in the Texas Bowl, where they went down to the wire in a good old fashioned Texas shoot out. Baylor ultimately won, but the game was a much-needed confidence boost for Vanderbilt football.

Vanderbilt Football 2019 Schedule

Now, the 2019 season is upon us. Head coach Derek Mason starts his sixth season securely at the helm with a new contract extension. There are some big holes to fill with the departure of Kyle Shurmur and Joejuan Williams, but fret not Commodore Nation, there are three key players getting all the preseason attention and rightfully so. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Jared Pinkney, and Kalija Lipscomb are all back and ready to make the Dores relevant in the SEC East. Vandy once again has one of the toughest schedules, and once again, everyone is talking about what they won’t accomplish. But let me tell what they will accomplish.

Game 1: Georgia at Vanderbilt, August 31

6:30 pm CST, SECN, Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN

This is either a genius way to kick off the season, or it will be a complete disaster. We all know Georgia is Alabama’s Mini-Me, and they are ranked in the top five. The main factor working in the Dores favor is that the Bulldogs have not seen their (yet to be named) quarterback on film with his multitude of offensive weapons. If there was ever a good time to beat the Bulldogs, it is game one while they are still working the bugs out. The downside, the Dores will also be working out their bugs. Not to mention that Kirby Smart is still mad he lost to Vanderbilt back in 2016, so he will have his team ready for a battle. I do believe it will be a great game no matter what. (LOSS)

Game 2: Vanderbilt at Purdue, September 7

11:00 am CST, Big Ten Network, Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN

Purdue won three games last season over ranked opponents, the most shocking being the win over Ohio State. They, like Vandy, are also trying to fill the shoes of a veteran quarterback while having a stockpile of offensive weapons. Their offensive line is inexperienced and that could hinder ball movement. The defense has been rebuilt and tested the last two seasons, which could challenge the Dores offense as they learn to work together. Vanderbilt plays tough against out of conference teams; this game will be no different. I believe they will leave town with a win. (WIN)

Game 3: LSU at Vanderbilt, September 21

Time: TBD, TV: TBD, Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN

The second Top 10 ranked opponent on the schedule. Vandy will have their first bye week before LSU so that extra prep time should help them prepare for the Tigers. LSU has 15 returning starters, including transfer quarterback and former Ohio State player Joe Burrow, as well as eight defensive starters. This 2019 Tiger team is being touted as good enough to give Alabama a run for their money in the West. It would be fantastic if LSU came in on autopilot, and the Dores pull off the upset, but I think the SEC is starting to learn that Vandy is no longer a guaranteed win. (LOSS)

Game 4:  Northern Illinois at Vanderbilt, September 28

Time: TBD, TV: TBD, Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN

The Huskies may have won the MAC last season, however, they will arrive in Nashville armed with a new head coach, Thomas Hammock, as well as trying to fill the shoes of their star defensive end, Sutton Smith. This will be a great game for Vandy to fine-tune all aspects of the game before they tackle the meat of their SEC schedule. The starting quarterback should be firmly in place and starting to gel with his offensive weapons. (WIN)

Game 5:  Vanderbilt at Ole Miss, October 5

Time: TBD, TV: TBD, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS

The first SEC road game of the season. The Dores beat Ole Miss two of the last three meetings both of those wins were in Nashville. Oxford can be a hostile environment.  Vanderbilt SHOULD have their confidence intact and give the Rebels, er, I mean Landsharks, a run for their money. Jason Tarver’s defense should stifle their corp of running backs, led by Scottie Phillips who is returning from a foot injury. *UPSET ALERT* (WIN)

Game 6: UNLV at Vanderbilt, October 12

Time: TBD, TV: TBD, Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN

With confidence running high after a win on the road in Oxford, the Dores will return home to Nash-Vegas take on another set of Rebels, this time from Las Vegas. UNLV has had a host of injuries to contend with. They are getting their star quarterback back just in time to lose their biggest producing running back. Their offense is young and inexperienced.  Vanderbilt should use this game to dive deep into their playbook, add another level to their confidence so they can blast their way through the SEC East. (WIN)

Game 7: Missouri at Vanderbilt, October 19

Time: TBD, TV: TBD, Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt was leading the Tigers until the final nine minutes of the games last season.  However, the Dores have a much deeper roster this season. If they can get the points on the board, they should be able to sustain the leads that slipped away last season. The Tigers have replaced quarterback Drew Lock with Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant. Bryant will have some experienced backs at his disposal which should establish a solid run game.  This will a great battle between two teams trying to establish themselves as forces to be reckoned with in the SEC. (WIN)

Game 8: Vanderbilt at South Carolina, November 2

Time: TBD, TV: TBD, Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC

The games between the Dores and Gamecocks are knock down drag out fights. Willy B can be a very hostile environment. Vandy needs to play SMART football. Their senseless penalties have cost them games. South Carolina is senior-rich with experience. The Dores will have a new leader under center, with a trio of targets: Vaughn, Pinkney, and Lipscomb. The home-field advantage of Willy B will be too much for the Dores to overcome. (LOSS)

Game 9: Vanderbilt at Florida, November 9

Time: TBD, TV: TBD, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL

In 2018, Vanderbilt led the Gators until the beginning of the fourth quarter. This game has been a could have/should have won game the last three seasons. Feleipe Franks is back, with a solid backfield, however, the O-Line is inexperienced, to say the least, with no player having more than two starts. There is some bad blood between these teams. This will be a hard-fought game for the Dores. Ultimately I believe they will finally pull off the win with their stocked offense. With the help of Tarver’s tweaked defense, and an air of confidence that should carry Vandy through. (WIN-FINALLY)

Game 10: Kentucky at Vanderbilt, November 16

Time: TBD, TV: TBD, Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN

Kentucky is rebuilding with the loss of Benny Snell Jr. and seven spots to fill on the defense. The Wildcats will be young and unproven this season. Mark Stoops is a strong coach and will have them ready to play. Although, most of the preseason previews are picking Vandy to win this game. Vanderbilt played the Wildcats tough last season and will pull off the win this season. (WIN)

Game 11: ETSU at Vanderbilt, November 23

Time: TBD, TV: TBD, Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN

East Tennessee State has a rock-solid defensive backfield. They will be looking to replace their quarterback. They have two quarterback transfers that will be looking for a spot in the mix. Vanderbilt does well against FCS opponents, this game should be no different. It will be a good game to dive deep into the playbook and give everyone a chance to play. (WIN)

Game 12: Vanderbilt at Tennessee, November 30

Time: TBD, TV: TBD, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN

The last three games against Tennessee have been so much fun. Jeremy Pruitt is in his second season as head coach. He made some staff changes and has recruited well. Pruitt and his staff will continue to try and get the Vols back to their glory days. Although these end of the season wins have become intoxicating, the Dores will put up the good fight in Knoxville. (WIN)

Now Is The Time To Get Over The Hump

Mason has his most deep and talented roster to date. As usual, this is a tough schedule for Vanderbilt Football. Although the last two seasons they have been on the cusp of greatness, I believe this year they will finally make it over the hump. If they find their identity during fall ball, Vandy’s offensive and defensive weapons should give them the confidence to make a huge impact on the SEC East. All those should have been wins from last season will be a win this season. This is a great year to hop on the bandwagon. There is plenty of room, welcome aboard!

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