Vols considered top 15 team in adjusted preseason Top 25 poll

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    (Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to turn the sports world upside down.

    After weeks of speculation that the 2020 college football season would be cancelled or postponed, two of the Power Five conferences went through with cancelling their fall season. Last Monday, the Big Ten announced that they were postponing the fall season in hopes of playing in the spring. The Pac 12 followed suit, also postponing their season with the intent of playing in the spring.

    The decisions to postpone came just over a week after the release of numerous Top 25 preseason polls. With the Big 10 and Pac 12 out of commission, polls have been adjusted to not include the teams from conferences that have cancelled or postponed their season. Instead, polls now reflect the SEC, Big 12 and ACC’s desire to follow through with a season. On Sunday, 247Sports released a new preseason Top 25 that reflects just that.

    Tennessee was ranked No. 22 in 247’s initial preseason Top 25 poll. In the publication’s updated poll, the Vols have climbed seven spots to be ranked No. 15.

    “There’s a decent chance Tennessee is the team we overhype greatly thanks to a late-season push,” 247Sports’ Chris Hummer wrote of the Vols. “Still, it’s hard to ignore a six-game win streak to end the season and the team’s rising talent (and competency) level.

    “The Vols bring back 17 starters, including the core of a young defense that allowed just 15.5 points per game during their season-ending win streak. Quarterback is a bit of a question for Tennessee, though Jarrett Guarantano played well over the team’s final six games. Finding replacements for Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings at receiver will be critical.”

    Tennessee is one of eight SEC teams ranked in 247’s updated preseason Top 25. The Vols are the seventh-highest ranked team, and the third-highest ranked team in the SEC East. Alabama (1), Georgia (3), Florida (4), LSU (7), Texas A&M (8), Auburn (11) and Kentucky (22) joined the Vols in the Top 25.

    UT is set to face six of the teams in 247’s updated poll during the 2020 season, should the season be played. The Vols were already set to play Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Kentucky, but the SEC added Texas A&M and Auburn when it announced the two additional opponents for the 10-game conference-only schedule on Aug. 7. The conference has not yet released the complete schedule that includes dates for the games. It is believed that the scheduled will be released early this week.

    Though the complete schedule has not yet been released, Tennessee is scheduled to begin fall camp on Monday.