Better Know a Non-Existent Opponent: The Bye Week

"I'm not sure that I buy into your meaningless stats and records, AoG." - James Franklin, probably. - Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt doesn't have a great history when it comes to earning a big win after the bye week. Fortunately, James Franklin may have started a trend by beating Missouri after two weeks of planning in 2012.

Vanderbilt after the bye week under James Franklin: 1-1 (lost to #2 Alabama, beat Missouri).

Vandy after the bye week under Robbie Caldwell: 0-1 (lost to UConn).

Vandy after the bye week under Bobby Johnson: 2-4 (wins over Eastern Michigan, #13 Auburn)

Vandy after the bye week in the last 20 years*: 6-23

Vandy after the bye week against SEC opponents in that span: 4-20 (wins against Missouri, Auburn, and twice vs. Kentucky).

Vandy after the bye week against non-conference opponents: 2-3 (wins against Eastern Michigan and Richmond, losses to TCU, UConn, and Notre Dame).

Vandy after the bye week coming off of a victory in the last 20 years: 1-3

Vandy after the bye week coming off of a loss in the last 20 years: 5-20

Vandy after the bye week against Georgia, all time: 0-2

Best win after the bye week in the past 20 years#19 Vanderbilt 14, #13 Auburn 13, 2008.

Worst loss after the bye week in the past 20 yearsVanderbilt 20, Middle Tennessee State 21, 2002. Bonus points for MTSU being 0-5 at kickoff. Additional consideration was given to Vanderbilt's failed upset attempt at Florida in 2005, otherwise known as the Earl Bennett Excessive Celebration game.

What do these stats tell us? Well, we already knew that this team was terrible in the pre-Bobby Johnson days, but their bye week record is especially horrible. Between 1992 and 2001, Vanderbilt went 3-16 after a bye week, defeating only Kentucky (twice) and Richmond in the team's first game after the tragic events of 9/11. Over that span, they lost to Florida four times and Tennessee six times.

The 'Dores are slightly better when they're ushered into their bye week with a win thanks to a .250 winning percentage, but that also shows the futility of those 90s and 00s Vanderbilt squads. Vandy has gotten half of their post-bye victories in the last nine years even though that span only covers nine of their 29 post-bye matchups. That trend applies past these bye-week boundaries and into the program as a whole.

This #BrandNewVandy has been better, but the team has still struggled after their mandated week off, particularly since their return games often come against SEC opponents. The 'Dores won't get any reprieve next week when they face off against a top 10 Georgia team that tore them up 48-3 last season. While the extra week of prep time should give James Franklin and his crew some extra opportunities to find UGA's weaknesses, history suggests that it won't provide much of an advantage for the Commodores.

*Thanks to the team's old 11-game slate, several seasons produced two open weeks on schedule. This often allowed Vanderbilt an additional week to reflect on their upcoming slaughter at the hands of Tennessee.

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