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Athlon Sports releases Tennessee’s ranking for the 2019 season

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Too high? Too low? Just right?

Kentucky v Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

With the opening of spring practice, Athlon Sports has released their early 1-130 rankings for the college football season. They obviously mean nothing, but it’s fun to see where various outlets think Tennessee stacks up for the upcoming football season.

According to Athlon, it’ll be a modest gain for the Volunteers in 2019. Here’s what they had to say.

47. Tennessee

The Volunteers should be better in coach Jeremy Pruitt’s second year, especially with an improved staff and a standout recruiting class to bolster the depth and talent across the roster. Improved play along the offensive line and continued development by quarterback Jarrett Guarantano under new play-caller Jim Chaney will be crucial for Tennessee’s offense to improve off last year’s scoring average (22.8 ppg). New defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley needs to identify a couple of difference-makers in the trenches, but the secondary should be a strength with Alontae Taylor, Bryce Thompson and Nigel Warrior back in 2019.

Can’t say I disagree with any of the analysis here.

Tennessee didn’t lose much production off the roster last year, but their overall improvement depends on Jarrett Guarantano and a very young offensive line. Jim Chaney’s offense will play a factor as well. How quickly will Guarantano pick up on the offense?

We’ve seen some metrics project favorably for Tennessee heading into 2019, thanks to that returning production. Both ESPN’s FPI and S&P+ think the Vols will be a top 25 team this season, for what it’s worth. Those projections seem a little high, but Athlon’s ranking of No. 47 seems about right to me with the lingering questions surrounding the offense.

At the top, it was Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State. Florida (7), LSU (9), Texas A&M (10), Missouri (20) and Auburn (23) rounded out a strong performance from the SEC in the top 25.