The media isn’t very high on Vanderbilt this year, and head coach Derek Mason doesn’t appreciate it.
In USA Today’s preseason rankings for the SEC, the Commodores were projected to finish last in the SEC. Worse than that, they were ranked No. 113 out of 128 FBS schools, behind Group of 5 teams like UCF (No. 110), which went winless last season, and Tulane (No. 115), which went 3-9 in the American Athletic Conference.
Mason said his team is taking that ranking personally, according to the Tennessean’s Adam Sparks.
“With that USA Today article, we’re mad,” Mason said. “We’ve got a chip on shoulder — offensively, defensively, special teams. That’s a slap in the face and a kick in the mouth.”
The Commodores went 4-8 last season. They tied for fourth place in the SEC East and had wins over fellow division members Missouri and Kentucky. Both of those teams are ranked higher than Vanderbilt in USA Today’s preseason ranking.
Mason’s outrage extended to his team. Senior CB Torren McGaster had some harsh words as well.
“They want to rank us 113th? Just like (Mason) said, it’s a punch in the mouth to our whole team,” McGaster said. “Of course, we hear all that. But our offense is going to prove the nation wrong. Our defense is going to prove the nation wrong.”