It’s a bit shocking that Tennessee Football was able to squeak into the top 10 of the preseason Coaches Poll. The Vols came in right at No. 10. Let’s give credit to the coaches who knew not to put the Texas Longhorns, a team everybody has been overrating, ahead of them. Texas came in at No. 12.
However, the Coaches Poll is not without fault. UT enters the ranking one spot behind the Clemson Tigers, a team the Vols beat in the Orange Bowl to end last season, and two spot behind the Florida State Seminoles. Neither team should be ahead of them.
FSU is the most egregious, though. Mike Norvell’s team is the highest-ranked team in the ACC despite proving absolutely nothing to this point. Everybody is excited about last year’s 10-3 campaign by the ‘Noles. Does anybody care about context?
Not one team that FSU beat last year was ranked when they faced them. The only team they beat to finish the year in the top 25 was the LSU Tigers. They beat them by one on a neutral field in their first game under new head coach Brian Kelly.
Nobody else FSU beat had more than eight wins on the reason. They played three teams that were ranked at the time in the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, N.C. State Wolfpack and Clemson, and they lost all three. Oh, by the way, those were in consecutive weeks.
Simply put, when FSU faced a decent team, they lost. Somehow that translates to being a top 10 team? Compare that with Tennessee Football. The Vols, as mentioned, beat that same Clemson team. They also beat that same LSU team, except it was by 27 on the road, not by one on a neutral field.
Add in the Pittsburgh Panthers, another team to finish in the top 25, and the Vols had a way better resume. Sure, they lost more production, but returning production on a mediocre team, which FSU should still be considered as to this point, shouldn’t mean much.
Now, as for Clemson, there’s a more direct reason to have the Vols ahead of them. UT beat them last year, and they did it with Joe Milton III at quarterback, so you can’t say the switch is based on the Vols losing Hendon Hooker at quarterback.
Still, you could argue Clemson cared less about that game and that Cade Klubnik enters this year with more potential than Milton. Although the Vols should be ahead of them, both should be angry about being behind FSU. This is the most overrated team on the year.
At No. 1 are the two-time defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs. Also in the top 25 from the SEC are Alabama at No. 3 and LSU at No. 5. The Ole Miss Rebels are No. 22, and the Texas A&M Aggies are No. 25. That means UT faces two preseason top five teams and three preseason top 25 teams.