College football is nearly here, and one of our favorite metrics has been finalized ahead of the 2023 season. Bill Connelly’s S&P+ rankings are live on ESPN, and they once again like the Tennessee Volunteers.
Connelly’s metric was a fan of Tennessee in both the 2021 and 2022 seasons, and ahead of 2023, the Volunteers are ranked eighth overall. Tennessee is anchored by their third ranked offense, a unit that finished first in total offense a season ago. The Volunteers check in at 32nd in the defensive rankings.
The metric gives Tennessee the 16th toughest schedule in the country.
Georgia, unsurprisingly, took the top spot in the metric. Their cakewalk of a schedule was ranked 45th, while the offense checked in at 6th and the defense at 2nd. Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama and LSU rounded out the top five.
The bulk of the SEC came in somewhere in the 15-35 range, creating a deep middle portion of the conference with very little separation. Also notable — Virginia ranks behind every single SEC team, including Vanderbilt. That’s probably why Tennessee is a near four touchdown favorite in that opening matchup.
Below are the names of interest from the metric.
2023 S&P+ Rankings of Interest
2. Ohio State
16. Texas A&M
18. Ole Miss
29. Mississippi State
33. South Carolina