Bigger picture? Vandy has still dropped 28 of their past 30 games with Tennessee. For that reason, Franklin isn’t ready to call the series a rivalry just yet:
“People call it a rivalry. I don’t think it’s at that point. It hasn’t been as competitive as it needs to be to be considered a rivalry. But I know a lot of people are excited about this game.
I think it’s good for the state (if it becomes a rivalry). I think it’s good for Vanderbilt. I think it’s good for Tennessee. I think it’s good for the SEC. You’d love for it to be a rivalry, and those games are fun because there’s so much riding on it.”
Good for the Dores and good for the SEC, sure. But it’s unlikely Franklin would find too many Vol fans who’d view a UT/VU “rivalry” as a positive development.
In addition to whipping Tennessee last year — and ending the tenure of Derek Dooley who was axed after the game — Franklin’s team took the Volunteers to overtime in 2011 before losing. He also had a bit of an R-rated exchange with some heckling UT fans as he exited Shields-Watkins Field on that occasion. Saturday will mark his second trip to Neyland Stadium. And it will also be an opportunity for him to capture Vandy’s seventh win of the season while simultaneously snuffing out Tennessee’s bowl hopes.
For a Vanderbilt coach, it wouldn’t get much better than that.