Tennessee just flat out continues to answer the call. Every “trap” or “look-ahead game” has been taken care of with ease, and Josh Heupel’s Volunteers find themselves at 8-0.
It’s almost unbelievable at this point.
The Vols crushed No. 19 Kentucky 44-6 on Saturday night, picking up their fifth ranked win of the 2022 season. They’ll have their shot at their sixth next week, on the road at No. 1 Georgia. But let’s forget about that for just a couple of minutes.
The first batch of the College Football Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday night. Can anybody match Tennessee’s body of work? The answer, frankly, is no.
Georgia has a really good looking blowout win at a neutral site against Oregon. And — well — that’s about it. The Bulldogs beat Florida 42-20 on Saturday. Their next best win is a blowout of South Carolina. And there there are those ugly wins over Missouri and Kent State.
Neither of these resumes holds a candle to Tennessee. Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, at Pittsburgh and at LSU — that’s as good as it gets right this second, period. The playoff committee may very well be forced to put Tennessee atop their first batch of rankings on Tuesday night, potentially setting up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 moment in Athens.
Can they really push Tennessee past Ohio State though? The Buckeyes did just beat Penn State, afterall. However, if they want to tell us that it’s about a body of work, Tennessee is your first No. 1.
Kirk Herbstreit agreed on the ESPN broadcast, too.
Now, does any of this matter? Not really. It’s a made for TV event designed to make wads of cash for ESPN. But what a moment it would be to see Tennessee scroll across that screen as the No. 1 team in the nation. From the end of the Fulmer era, to the brief Kiffin moment, to the depths of the Butch lows, to the the bottoming out of the Pruitt era — it’s been a long time coming. And absolutely nobody saw anything like this happening this quickly.
Tennessee and Georgia will settle things on the field on Saturday and everything will go from there. But right this second, no team has done more than the Tennessee Volunteers heading into the first CFP rankings release.