Eight Southeastern Conference football teams made the first edition of the Associated Press Top 25 when it was released on Sunday. Three more programs earned at least one vote from the country's football writers. Only Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Kentucky failed to garner any support from the AP when it came to the nation's hottest conference.
The Commodores were the only SEC team not to earn a single vote in the first poll of the 2015 season. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee all landed in the top 25, giving the Southeastern the most representatives of any Division I college football conference. Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and Florida all earned votes as well, meaning that some writers believe that they'll be worthy of a place among the elite this fall. Alabama was the top choice to win the league, settling at #3 in the country - three spots ahead of their arch rival Auburn.
After a 3-9 season that featured zero wins over SEC opponents and an average final score that settled in at 17-35, Vanderbilt's only real shot at a top 25 vote was if some intrepid AP scribe had fallen in love with a defense that returns 11 players with starting experience. Unfortunately, it was not to be. A quick look at ESPN's latest positional rankings should tell you everything you need to know about how little the national media thinks of the Commodores this year.
|1||Ohio State (61)||1,525|
Also receiving votes: Mississippi St. 100, Texas A&M 61, Oklahoma St. 46, Virginia Tech 42, Utah 36, Penn St. 20, Louisville 12, Cincinnati 8, Nebraska 6, K-St. 5, Florida 4, NC St 4, Texas 3, BYU 2, Michigan 2, N Illinois 2, Cal 1, WKU 1, WVU 1
In all, four of the teams Vanderbilt will face this fall start the season in the national rankings. Another three received votes.
|at Ole Miss||#17|
|at Middle Tennessee State||n/a|
|at South Carolina||n/a|
That's a disappointing start for the 'Dores, but it's not unexpected. Vanderbilt has a long way to go before they earn any respect. Even a pair of upset wins over Western Kentucky and Georgia would likely leave Derek Mason's team looking up at the top 25 without getting in. Though these rankings don't give the team anything to celebrate, it's certainly some more locker room motivation to fuel their fire in practice. The Commodores' stock is low, but that means that victories over conference rivals will be even sweeter in 2015.