With a little over a week left until the college football season kicks into full gear (sorry, week zero), Bill Connelly has updated his S&P+ rankings. They were not kind to Tennessee, as you probably would have expected.
The data-driven rankings system placed the Vols at 70th overall for the 2018 season. Tennessee checks in as the 92nd ranked offense and the 48th ranked defense, according to S&P+.
Those offensive projections do seem low, considering the new scheme and the underrated weapons returning. As I’ve stated before, I’ve got more concerns about the defense than the offense at this point.
But this is a numbers game — and the numbers were brutal last season.
Tennessee is projected to win 5.4 games, with 2.2 wins coming in SEC play. The data says the Vols will play the 57th toughest schedule in the country, which seems pretty low when you consider the Florida-Georgia-Auburn-Alabama-South Carolina stretch in the middle of the year. You would be hard pressed to find another stretch that difficult for anyone in the country.
At the top of the rankings sit Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama and Washington. You can check out the full rankings here.