The Southeastern Conference reinforced its stranglehold on the national rankings — and Vanderbilt helped tighten the grip.
The Commodores were ranked 23rd in the final Associated Press poll and 20th in the USA Today coaches poll. Both were released early Tuesday morning after unanimous No. 1 Alabama rolled to its third national championship in four years.
Vanderbilt last finished the season ranked in 1948. The Commodores were 12th that year after winning eight straight to finish 8-2-1 in the third year of Red Sanders’ second stint as coach.
This year, in James Franklin’s second season as head coach, the Commodores (9-4) won seven in a row – the longest active winning streak in the SEC — and finished with their highest win total since 1915.
Vanderbilt was the seventh and final SEC team ranked in both polls. Also among the top 10 in each were Georgia (T-5/4), Texas A&M (T-5/5), South Carolina (8/7) and Florida (9/10). Vanderbilt is scheduled to play all four teams next year, with all but Georgia on the road. LSU was ranked 14th by the AP and 12th in the coaches poll.