Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin was named as the top candidate for Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by a leading college football publication this week.
Franklin is the leader among three candidates for SEC Coach of the Year Award,according to AthlonSports.com, publishers of one of the nation's most respected college football preseason magazines.The website said Franklin's main competition for the award would come from Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M and Will Muschamp of Florida.
While six SEC teams are ranked in the BCS top ten, none of those schools have enjoyed a more historic campaign than Franklin's Commodores, who finished the year 8-4 overall on the strength of a six-game win streak to cap the regular season. The win total is Vanderbilt's highest since 1982 and just one shy of the program's record for single-season wins that dates back to World War I.
Vanderbilt will attempt to push its win streak to seven games in an upcoming postseason bowl appearance. The 2012 Commodores will be the first in the school's football history to make back-to-back bowl appearances.
Franklin's Commodores, who also captured five wins in SEC play for the first time since 1935, will learn their bowl destination this weekend. The program is hosting a Bowl Celebration on Sunday at the Student Life Center on campus. Doorsopento the free event at 6 p.m., with ceremonies starting at 7 p.m.
The AthlonSports.com article also recognized Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel and South Carolina sophomoredefensive end Jadeveon Clowney as the top candidates for SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Defensive Player of the Year, respectively.
The website also mentioned Vanderbiltas one of its "10 Things We Learned from the SEC in 2012." In the article, which recognized Vanderbilt's back-to-back bowl seasons, stated that Franklin inherited a program "that won a total of four games in the previous two seasons, and guided the 2011 Commodores to six wins and a bowl game. The encore was even better. Vanderbilt closed the books on the 2012 regular season by beating Wake Forest 55-21 in Winston-Salem. The Dores head into bowl season with an 8-4 record after winning their final six games. The offense features a 1,000-yard rusher (Zac Stacy) and receiver (Jordan Matthews), and the defense ranks 18th nationally in both total defense and scoring defense. This was not done with smoke and mirrors."