If you went by the offseason alone, the Tennessee Vols would have a case to be in the top three of our SEC Power Rankings. They have the second most returning production of anybody in the nation, and they by far lead the conference. Meanwhile, Jeremy Pruitt entering his second season gives this team much more experience.
Jim Chaney being back as offensive coordinator is another plus. Add in a top 12 recruiting class that was No. 6 in the league, upper middle of the pack and respectable, and there are lots of reasons to believe this team will make a jump.
However, we have to believe it when we see it. Sure, those things make UT the top team of the three in the league who didn’t make a bowl last year. But it’s worth noting that they lost their last two games by 33 and 25 points. In going 5-7 last year, six of their losses were by 25 or more. So it’s safe to say they were a very bad team.
The recruiting and increased experience should help tremendously. But you can’t ignore results like that, as they still have to take precedence. Until we see the improvement on the field, Pruitt’s program remains near the bottom of the conference.