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Through the T: First ESPN FPI rankings revealed


NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Clemson at Tennessee Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Athletics News and Notes: Wednesday, April 19th

Tennessee has debuted at No. 12 in ESPN’s FPI rankings, looking ahead at the 2023 season. Ohio State, Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Texas made up the top five. The Volunteers were fourth in the SEC. The power index gives them a 1.2 percent shot at winning the SEC title and a 2.5 percent chance at making the College Football Playoff. The Volunteers are going to be difficult for forward-looking projections like these, considering so much production was lost. However, the Orange Bowl against Clemson was a bit of a free preview, and I’d expect Tennessee to roll into the fall with plenty of hype.

In Cincinnati, Tennessee brass will meet with the NCAA today as they continue to work towards closing out the Jeremy Pruitt saga. Pruitt was seen entering the hearing this morning. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, Phillip Fulmer and Donde Plowman were all also spotted. Tennessee has cooperated throughout all of this mess, and they’re not expected to receive any new punishments with all involved parties now gone. Jeremy Pruitt will be looking to keep the door open to him returning to a college football sideline one day. It’s just a matter of time before he’s back in Tuscaloosa, right?

The Lady Vols picked up a commitment from Pitt transfer Avery Strickland. Strickland is from Farragut, and spent one season with the Panthers. She averaged just over six points per game last year as a freshman.

Harrison Bailey is back in the transfer portal, looking for his third school. The former five-star quarterback transferred from Tennessee to UNLV, but failed to win the starting job. After going through spring with the Rebels again this year, Bailey once again saw the writing on the wall. It wouldn’t shock me to see Bailey dip down to the FCS ranks, simply looking to find the field somewhere this fall.

Tennessee baseball took one on the chin last night, losing to Tennessee Tech 12-5. Tony Vitello broke down the game after the loss, while looking ahead to a huge series this weekend against Vanderbilt. Suddenly, the Volunteers badly need to string together some wins as tournament season approaches.