After an ugly but comfortable win to open the season, Tennessee football certainly has plenty of room for improvement going forward. Luckily for the Vols, though, that’s the case with most teams in the Southeastern Conference coming off this past weekend. The question for all of them is who has the most room for improvement.
As we get set to deliver our SEC Power Rankings following the first week of the season, it’s important to note that last year’s performances for teams and their foes have minimal impact on these rankings. We can’t ignore them, but other factors are weighted more heavily right now.
So far, our criteria will obviously include wins and losses, but it’ll take into account whether or not the opponent was a Power Five, Group of Five or FCS program. Margin of victory will come into play too and be a larger factor now than in the future. Let’s go ahead and dive in, and take a look at where Tennessee football stands in our SEC Power Rankings following Week 1 of 2021.
Last week: Lost to East Tennessee State University Buccaneers 23-3
This program is as bad as it was at the end of last year when it had half its scholarship players against Tennessee football. Clark Lea obviously had a major rebuilding project when he took over, and struggling against an FCS school, or even losing to one like the ETSU Bucs, was something that wasn’t out of the realm of possibility for this team.
However, losing by three touchdowns was embarrassing. ETSU should have won by more but had a TD called back due to a taunting penalty. Honestly, the program looks to be even worse than it was last year during its 0-9 campaign under Derek Mason. That’s a scary thought.
Up next: At Colorado State Rams
Luckily for Vandy, the schedule doesn’t get too much harder yet. CSU has its own issues coming off a loss last week, and if the ‘Dores weren’t playing on the road, this could be a toss-up game. However, who they play is irrelevant at this point given how bad they are and the fact that they still have an SEC slate. They’re clearly at the bottom of the league for now.