Vandy’s James Franklin has changed SEC East dynamic

The day after Kentucky was dominated by Vanderbilt, losing 40-0 to the Commodores, the school fired head coach Joker Phillips. The day after Tennessee was dominated by Vanderbilt, losing 41-18 to the Commodores, the school fired head coach Derek Dooley.

That is not a coincidence.

Few coaches have changed the recent dynamic of the SEC more than Vanderbilt's James Franklin, the former coach-in-waiting at Maryland who either skipped or was pushed from a chance to coach the Terps and took the supposedly no-win job in Nashville before last season.

Thing is, Franklin is winning. He's 13-11 as the Commodores coach. Vanderbilt has clinched its second straight bowl bid and — get this — its first winning SEC football season since 1982. Kentucky hasn't had a winning record in conference football games since 1977.

So that's right — Vanderbilt has now produced two winning SEC football seasons since UK's last winning SEC football season.

Franklin has bludgeoned Kentucky by a combined count of 78-8 over the last two years. He all but had Tennessee beat last year, losing in overtime, sparking Derek Dooley's ridiculous post-game locker room celebration. A year later, Vanderbilt whipped the Vols, beating Tennessee in Nashville for the first time since 1982 and by the largest margin since a 26-0 shutout of UT in 1954.

Mocked for his helicopter rides into Atlanta to see prospects, Franklin is recruiting well. And coaching well. And winning. As two losing coaches are now looking for jobs.

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