It wasn't surprising, but Vanderbilt did not make an appearance - or earn a single vote - in the 2014 USAToday Coaches' Preseason Poll. The Commodores will face an uphill battle this fall thanks to new personnel and potentially resurgent years from SEC East foes like Georgia and Florida. That was enough for the NCAA's coaches to leave the 'Dores off their ballots.
The rest of the SEC was well represented. Alabama (#2), Auburn (#5), and South Carolina (#9) all cracked the Coaches' top 10. Georgia (#12), LSU (#13), Ole Miss (#19), and Texas A&M (#20) made it seven teams in the top 20 for college football's toughest conference.
|RANK||TEAM||RECORD||POINTS||FIRST PLACE VOTES||PREVIOUS RANK|
|1||Florida State Seminoles||14-0||1543||56||NR|
|2||Alabama Crimson Tide||11-2||1455||NR|
|6||Ohio State Buckeyes||12-2||1267||1||NR|
|8||Michigan State Spartans||13-1||1050||NR|
|9||South Carolina Gamecocks||11-2||1009||1||NR|
|17||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||9-4||509||NR|
|18||Arizona State Sun Devils||10-4||358||NR|
|20||Texas A&M Aggies||9-4||266||NR|
|21||Kansas State Wildcats||8-5||257||NR|
|23||North Carolina Tar Heels||7-6||175||NR|
Others Receiving Votes:
Missouri 126; Florida 122; Central Florida 102; Mississippi State 74; Oklahoma State 56; TCU 54; Michigan 53; Iowa 49; Miami (Fla.) 45; Duke 41; Louisville 32; Marshall 27; Brigham Young 18; Boise State 13; Louisiana-Lafayette 12; Virginia Tech 12; Texas Tech 8; Minnesota 6; Cincinnati 6; Northwestern 5; Oregon State 4; Fresno State 4; GeorgiaTech 2; Houston 2; Arkansas 1; Arizona 1; Northern Illinois 1.
Some of the SEC's marquee out-of-conference opponents made an appearance as well. LSU will face off with #14 Wisconsin to kick off their season in Houston. Auburn will play #21 Kansas State in week three. Florida (#1 Florida State), Georgia & South Carolina (#16 Clemson), and Tennessee (#3 Oklahoma) will all face top 25 opponents in non-league play.
The Commodores had finished the 2013 season ranked 23rd in the Coaches' Poll thanks to a 9-4 record that included wins over Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. However, they'll have a major challenge in front of them this fall when head coach Derek Mason takes the sidelines for his first game as an SEC play caller. The former Stanford defensive coordinator will have to replace 12 of Vandy's 22 starters from that Compass Bowl winning team.
They'll have the opportunity to use this poll as bulletin board material as they gear up for another campaign as the #BrandNewVandy.