Tennessee Football: Vols Ranked No. 13 in Sporting News Preseason Poll


Tennessee football offseason hype got another taste on Tuesday, as the Volunteers came in at No. 13 in the Sporting News preseason college football Top 25.

With the amount of talent coming back, a No. 13 preseason ranking is nowhere near the expectations of the Tennessee football program for the 2016 season. But given their history over the past eight or nine years, the Vols will take any sort of respect they can get.

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And it is at least a testament to how far the program has come under Butch Jones.

With the Alabama Crimson Tide No. 1 on the list, the Sporting News in their new 2016 preseason poll cited the 45-6 Outback Bowl win, Joshua Dobbs, Cameron Sutton, and the close losses from the 2015 season as reasons to raise expectations this year for Tennessee. However, the Title IX lawsuit and Jones’s handling of it were also mentioned.

That could be a reason the Vols were No. 13 and not somewhere in the Top 10. Still, as the clear favorite to win the SEC East this year and as an SEC Title contender, Tennessee’s expectations are not going anywhere regardless of the offseason turmoil.

With the Vols as the top ranked East team in the poll, the dominance of the SEC West was still the story. Along with Alabama, two other teams from that division were also ranked ahead of Tennessee in the Ole Miss Rebels at No. 7 and the LSU Tigers at No. 12.

Two other SEC teams, the Arkansas Razorbacks and Georgia Bulldogs, also made the Top 25.

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Obviously, if you know anything about SEC history, being predicted to win your division can almost be an automatic omen for failure. But the other truth is that everything happens on the field.

That is where it matters most. It’s just nice to see the Vols getting lots of offseason respect for the first time in a while.