The year 2020 has undoubtedly been one for the history books. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are only 76 of the 130 FBS teams playing college football this fall. With an expected 82 bowl slots to fill, it’s very likely that there are plenty of 3-4 win teams playing in bowl games during this altered postseason. Additionally, there is the possibility of FCS teams competing in bowl games.
According to 247Sports’ Brad Crawford, who appeared on a recent podcast episode of The College Football Daily, even a 1-win Arkansas could potentially get an “outer tier” bowl invitation. So why couldn’t a 1, 2, or 3-win Vanderbilt get an invite as well? It will be difficult against a grueling SEC-only schedule, but with potential wins against Mizzou, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, and a potentially competitive rivalry game vs Tennessee, a bowl game for the 2020 Commodores is not out of reason. You can read Brad’s very early bowl projections here.
Admittedly, outsider expectations for the Vanderbilt football program aren’t high as the Commodores enter the 2020 season trying to recover from a disappointing 3-9 campaign in 2019.
Vanderbilt is fighting to field a serviceable offensive line due to four offensive lineman opt-outs, seeking to find a new starting QB and adjusting to new schemes under new coordinators Todd Fitch (offense) and Ted Roof (defense). With that being said, Commodore fans should expect to field a competitive team each year while holding the coaches and players to winning standards.
In year 7, with apathy setting in, a bowl game appearance and win would certainly help Derek Mason’s perception as a coach in Nashville after the disastrous 2019 season. The program is starved for any kind of success and excitement, and playing in a bowl game could provide a perfect springboard for Vanderbilt’s football future.