Most college football teams haven’t even started spring practices yet, but that isn’t stopping preseason polls from coming out. Sports Illustrated recently released their “way too early” preseason top 25, and the Vols nearly found their way inside the top 15 in it.
Tennessee comes in at No. 16 in Sports Illustrated‘s preseason poll, just ahead of Florida at No. 19 and right behind Georgia at No. 15. Overall, Tennessee is the fifth-highest ranked SEC team behind Alabama (1), LSU (5), Auburn (14), and Georgia (15).
Sports Illustrated didn’t offer much in the way of analysis as far as Tennessee’s No. 16 ranking. The analysts merely write that “fans in Knoxville are running out of patience with coach Butch Jones, but maybe a new offensive coordinator makes the difference for the Vols.”
Indeed, the Vols have made several coaching changes this offseason. Tennessee will take the field this year with seven new coaches on staff (including strength and conditioning coach Rock Gullickson).
The Vols start spring practices on March 21st of this year, and their rankings in any polls likely hinge on how their quarterback battle pans out and how all the new coaching hires mesh together. But as all Vol fans saw last year, preseason rankings mean little when it comes to the actual performance in the season.