If you're anything like me, you've spent most of the summer consuming every tidbit of training and recruiting information about Butch Jones' second Tennessee football team. From the excitement of midnight practices to the commitment of a five star legacy at a position of need, Jones has done a fantastic job of putting out positive articles about the Vols while avoiding the pitfalls of conference rivals Georgia (arrests and suspensions) and Vanderbilt (an ugly departure of the entire coaching staff). With the return of prodigal son Pig Howard, the worst offseason story for the football team involved a county-mountie raid on a keg party hosted by A.J. Johnson and Dontavis Sapp. Oh, the horror!
Now however, we have a breath of sober reflection, courtesy of the nation's most ill-informed and crotchety demographic: working sportswriters. Yes, it's time for Peter King to pick up a copy of Phil Steele's "jam-packed" college football preview and once again regale us with tales of Notre Dame's return to glory and Alabama's Saban-led process, all coming with the age and confirmation bias that can only mean Gannett publishing is involved.
So how sayeth the pressbox sages?
Well, the good news is that only half of Tennessee's twelve opponents are ranked in the AP poll... but the bad news is that three of the six are ranked in the top ten, with preseason #2 Alabama, #4 Oklahoma, and #6 South Carolina all on tap (only Alabama comes to Knoxville). Taking into account teams receiving votes, but not enough to be ranked, all but three teams on the 2014 schedule are ranked: Arkansas State, Chattanooga, and, yep, Kentucky.
Butch Jones has parleyed a great recruiting class into a stellar off-season, but now he has his work cut out for him.
|Date||Team||Location||Preseason AP Ranking||Preseason Coaches' Ranking|
|8/31/2014||Utah State||Knoxville, TN||Other poll votes: (1)||None|
|9/06/2014||Arkansas State||Knoxville, TN||None||None|
|10/04/2014||Florida||Knoxville, TN||Other poll votes: (87)||Other poll votes: (122)|
|10/18.2014||Ole Miss||Oxford, MS||#18||#19|
|11/01/2014||South Carolina||Columbia, SC||#6||#6|
|11/22/2014||Missouri||Knoxville, TN||#24||Other poll votes: (126)|
|11/29/2014||Vanderbilt||Nashville, TN||Other poll votes: (2)||None|