<
>

Countdown to SEC kickoff: 36 days

Suddenly, Vanderbilt isn't everybody's punching bag anymore in the SEC, which brings us a step closer to the start of the 2013 season with our Countdown to SEC kickoff.

The number on tap today: Seven.

Anybody want to venture a guess as to who has the longest winning streak in the SEC entering the 2013 season? It’s the Commodores, who won seven in a row to end last season en route to winning nine games for the first time in nearly 100 years. Vanderbilt, in its third season under James Franklin, will look to extend its winning streak to eight in a row when Ole Miss comes to town on Aug. 29 in the season opener. Speaking of streaks, the Commodores have won three straight in the series and five of the past six meetings. Don’t ask Franklin or any of the Vanderbilt players about streaks. Never mind that the Commodores haven’t won eight straight since reeling off eight in a row during the 1948 season. They’re focus, according to star receiver Jordan Matthews, is “going 1-0” that first week. Any way you look at it, the Commodores’ transformation under Franklin has been remarkable. They’ve won 15 games over the past two seasons, which is the program’s best two-year total since 1926 and 1927. Moreover, they’ve won seven SEC games over the past two seasons. That's more than Auburn, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss or Tennessee have won during that span. Where does Vanderbilt’s seven-game winning streak rank all-time in the SEC? The Commodores still have a ways to go. Alabama won 28 in a row two different times, from 1978-80 and 1991-93.