Vanderbilt's football schedule for 2017 and 2020 just got a bit clearer. According to reports, the Commodores have agreed to a home-and-home series with two-time Big 12 Champion Kansas State.
The move will meet the new Southeastern Conference condition that all teams play at least one non-league opponent that comes from a Big Five (ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12) conference. The 'Dores already have a game lined up with ACC foe Georgia Tech for 2016. Vanderbilt and Kansas State have only met once before in 1984. The Commodores won that home game 26-14 en route to a 5-6 season.
Here's ESPN's Brett McMurphy breaking the news on Thursday afternoon:
Kansas State, Vandy agree to home/home series, sources told @ESPN; 2017 at VU, 2020 at KSU— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) January 22, 2015
K-State will join a future non-conference slate that looks nothing like the Commodores' OOC lineups of past. Academic rivals like Duke, Wake Forest, and Northwestern are gone and local competition like Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, and (sort of) Houston have taken their place. However, Vanderbilt has open slots in every season past 2015 and needs to find an opponent from a Big Five conference to satisfy that SEC regulation in 2018 and 2019.
Both teams could be transitioning into new leadership by 2017. Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason will find himself on the hot seat if he can't prove that last season's 3-9 campaign was the ugly but necessary product of a rebuilding year. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder may be the most beloved figure in university history, but he's also 75 years old. As a result, these teams could look very different when this series expires.
As of January 23, 2015, absurdly early oddsmakers would probably make Kansas State the favorite no matter where the game was played. Now, Mason and his staff have 2.5 years to catch up to their future foes from Manhattan, KS.