3. RIGHT: Vols projected ahead of both South Carolina and Vanderbilt
Despite the South Carolina Gamecocks inexplicably receiving that first place vote to win the SEC Championship, Tennessee football is projected ahead of them overall. The Vols are projected fifth in the East, with USC and the Vanderbilt Commodores being the two teams projected behind them at sixth and seventh respectively.
At least the media got that projection right. The Vols beat both teams on the road last year, blowing out a Vandy team that went 0-9. Just like USC, Vandy hired a new head coach in Clark Lea, but also just like USC with Shane Beamer, their new head coach has no head coaching experience. That’s different from Josh Heupel, who has three years’ worth experience.
Taking all of that into account plus the fact that UT gets both of them at home this year, it’s blatantly obvious that the Vols should be projected ahead of both of them, and they’ll finish ahead of both of them. It’d be a shock if they didn’t.
We’re being ambitious with our prediction that they will finish ahead of either the Kentucky Wildcats or Missouri Tigers, but it’s objectively true that they are much closer to those two teams than USC or Vandy are to them. Simply put, the SEC nailed this one.