SEC football schedule released, Vanderbilt to open at Texas A&M

The Commodores will face Texas A&M in Week One and will face in-state rival Tennessee in the penultimate week.


Truman McDaniel

UNLV defeats Vanderbilt 34-10 on Saturday, October 11, 2019. (Photo by Truman McDaniel)

Simon Gibbs, Sports Editor

The Southeastern Conference on Monday announced its 2020 football schedule on SEC Network, where Vanderbilt learned its first opponent: Texas A&M.

The news was released after the conference shifted to a ten-game, conference-only schedule on July 30 and on Aug. 7 it announced the two additional cross-divisional football games for each member institution.

The Commodores will have a bye week on Oct. 24.

Sept. 26: at Texas A&M

Texas A&M has won both of its last two contests against Vanderbilt, with its most recent 25-0 victory coming in November of 2015. Despite losing receivers Quartney Davis and Kendrick Rodgers, the Aggies return a whopping 80% of their offensive production from 2019. 

Oct. 3: vs.  LSU

The Tigers are coming off their best performance in program history. In fact, their National Championship-winning season could very well be the best performance in college football history. But this team is very different from the eventual national champions that crushed Vanderbilt in 2019, with many of their stars having declared for the NFL Draft.

Oct. 10: vs. South Carolina

It’s been 12 years since Vanderbilt beat South Carolina, as the Commodores’ last victory came in 2008. Gamecock quarterback Ryan Hilinski will be looking to prove himself in his second year starting under center, but South Carolina looks like they might be the most beatable team on Vanderbilt’s schedule.

Oct. 17: at Missouri 

Missouri had a rough bout in 2019. After slowly climbing into the AP top-25, the Tigers fell victim to the Commodores in Week Seven and eventually fired their head coach, Barry Odom. Mizzou’s new head coach Eli Drinkwitz will face Vanderbilt for the first time in October.

Oct. 31: vs. Ole Miss

Ole Miss was hardly anything special in 2019, but they still managed to defeat the Commodores 30-6. The Rebels brought Lane Kiffin back to the SEC, hiring him as their head coach. Ole Miss will be in rebuild mode this season, so Vanderbilt could give the Rebels a run for their money.

Nov. 7: at Mississippi State

Mississippi State may not look anything like they have in years past with new head coach Mike Leach bringing his aerial attack to Starkville. But don’t be mistaken: even with the coaching shakeup, the Bulldogs are no more than a middle of the pack SEC team—one that hasn’t lost to Vanderbilt since 2004.

Nov. 12: at Kentucky

Kentucky made easy work of Vanderbilt in 2019, despite literally not having a quarterback for the duration of the contest. However, their talented makeshift quarterback, Lynn Bowden Jr., declared for the draft and left glaring holes in their offense.

Nov. 21: vs. Florida

The Florida Gators lit up the Commodores to the tune of a 56-0 victory in 2019, and they could very well have their best offense since the Tim Tebow era, anchored by quarterback Kyle Trask. They will certainly be a force in 2020.

Nov. 28: vs. Tennessee

While Vanderbilt has beaten in-state rival Tennessee five of the past seven years, this seems to be a tale of two programs: Vanderbilt, who has seen its win total decline, may not bode well against the up-and-coming Tennessee Volunteers. It sure didn’t end well last year.

Dec. 5: at Georgia

Unsurprisingly, the Bulldogs will likely be one of the toughest matchups on Vanderbilt’s schedule. Georgia defeated the Commodores 30-6 in Week One of 2019, but after losing star running back D’Andre Swift, their offense has plenty to address. Vanderbilt last beat Georgia back in 2016 after traveling to Athens for the contest.