SEC Power Rankings: Alabama Pulls Away (For Now) After Big Win Over the Aggies

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Sep 14, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver

Bruce Ellington

(23) makes a reception in front of Vanderbilt Commodores defensive back Darrius Sims (6) in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

9. Vanderbilt Commodores

Record: 1-2 (0-2)

Previous Ranking: 9 (Trend: –)

Last Week: South Carolina 35, Vanderbilt 25

This Week: at Massachusetts

Next Week: vs UAB

Good news for Vanderbilt is that their schedule is about to calm down a little bit. Back-to-back games against UMass and UAB should get them back over .500 heading into a winnable matchup against Missouri at home.

Speaking of Missouri, that’s the game on Vanderbilt’s remaining schedule they absolutely need to win. Aside from the fact it is at home, it is also the last “toss-up” game – like the Ole Miss game was at the beginning of the season – that can affect the ceiling of their season.

Assuming Vanderbilt beat UMass and UAB – which they should – then Missouri will have this remaining schedule: MU, Georgia, at Texas A&M, at Florida, Kentucky, at Tennessee, Wake Forest. Vanderbilt is the likely underdog in three of those four games, and the Missouri game betting line is going to be three points or less. Does Vanderbilt want to go into the final three weeks needing to sweep to just make a bowl game?

Beat Missouri, and the need to sweep those final three games is no longer an issue. It also means an upset of Georgia, Texas A&M, or (mostly likely) Florida would carry much more weight as eight wins equals a much better bowl game than seven wins.

Vanderbilt fans should circle October 5 as where the season could be potentially saved.