Tennessee The First Team Out Of AP Preseason Top 25

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    Tennessee is unranked in the AP Preseason Top 25.

    However, the Vols may not have to wait long to see a number next to their name. Tennessee earned more votes than any unranked team, making them essentially the No. 26 team in the country.

    The Associated Press voters followed the lead of the Coaches Poll last week which left Tennessee unranked but third in receiving votes (No. 28).

    Josh Heupel’s second team in Knoxville ranks behind No. 23 Cincinnati (265), No. 24 Houston (263) and No. 25 BYU (234) with 180 votes. The Vols come ahead of unranked teams Texas (164), Iowa (163) and Penn State (160).

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    Six SEC teams inhibit the preseason ranking, including No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 19 Arkansas, No. 20 Kentucky and No. 21 Ole Miss. The Vols face just three of those teams this season while also facing No. 17 Pittsburgh in week two.

    With Tennessee earning more votes than any unranked team — and Cincinnati traveling to Arkansas to open the season — there’s a great chance the Vols will be ranked by the time they arrive in Pittsburgh to face the Panthers.

    The Vols will face a handful of other teams receiving votes including LSU (55), Florida (14) and South Carolina (2).

    The SEC’s media predicted Tennessee to finish third in the SEC East behind Georgia and Kentucky. Tennessee finished third in the east a season ago, posting an 7-6 (4-4 SEC) record in Heupel’s first season.

    Tennessee returns an abundance of talent from last season’s team including quarterback Hendon Hooker and receiver Cedric Tillman.

    The Vols kick off their 2022 season on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. ET against Ball State.

    Ryan Schumpert is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. Ryan spent three years with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program before joining RTI. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.