Another publication believes Tennessee is a top 25 team ahead of the 2020 season. 247Sports polled their national analysts this week. Those results spit out a ranking of No. 22 for the Volunteers.
Tennessee, coming off of a six game winning streak to close the year, has been a fringe top 25 team for much of the offseason. The Volunteers didn’t lose much on either side of the ball and are set to return 17 starters this fall. A top ten recruiting class has only added more fuel to the fire.
Here’s 247Sports’ take on Tennessee.
There’s a decent chance Tennessee is the team we overhype greatly thanks to a late-season push. 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. (247Sports)
The issue with Tennessee is the schedule, which features a typical SEC gauntlet, including games against Florida, Georgia and Alabama. A road trip to Oklahoma kicks everything off in September, immediately putting Tennessee’s progress to the test.
Each of the four teams above appeared in 247Sports’ top seven. Alabama led the way at No. 3, Georgia followed at No. 4, while Florida and Oklahoma checked in at No. 6 and 7, respectively.
Tennessee is hoping some continuity will help narrow the gap between themselves and some of the SEC’s elite in 2020. Finally, both coordinators return, along with plenty of starters. That could pay dividends with such a strange offseason.
Still, as it has over the last few seasons, everything feels like it will come down to the quarterback position. Fifth-year senior Jarrett Guarantano returns hoping to finally find some sort of consistency under center. He will get to play behind the best offensive line he’s ever had this fall, but will have to break in several new weapons at receiver and tight end.
The anchor, as 247Sports mentioned, may end up being the defense. That unit has seen improvement in each year under Pruitt and might just be deeper than it ever has this season.
Elsewhere in the poll, Ohio State took the top spot, narrowly edging out Clemson. LSU (9), Texas A&M (12), and Auburn (13) were the other SEC representatives.