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2011 Regular Season Summary: The pleasant surprise of the 2011 SEC football season was the upswing in the Vanderbilt program. Qualifying for a bowl game with six wins was not expected, not to mention the Commodores took top teams like Georgia, Arkansas and Florida to the wire.
New head coach James Franklin has changed the attitude of the program and should be mentioned in every SEC coach-of-the-year conversation.
My Preseason Projection: 3-9
Actual Record: 6-6 (Vanderbilt greatly outperformed expectations with a solid defense, smart coaching and a consistent running game. This record could have even been better, outside of a few late-game misses)
Best Game: Vanderbilt 41 Wake Forest 7
Worst Game: Alabama 34 Vanderbilt 0
Bowl Projection: Music City Bowl (Vanderbilt vs. N.C. State)
Offensive MVP: RB Zac Stacey (the junior back had a huge breakout season with over 1,100 rushing yards, third best in the conference, and a big 13 rushing touchdowns)
Defensive MVP: LB Chris Marve (the senior linebacker is the leader of the Commodores defense and tallied 84 tackles, including seven tackles for a loss and a sack, an interception and a forced fumble on the season)