Coach Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers will enter the 2016 season as the 9th ranked team in FBS college football.
The preseason Associated Press Top 25, released Sunday, gave the Vols their highest designation before a season since 2005 when they clocked in at No. 3. With lofty expectations in that 2005 campaign, UT tumbled out of the Top 25 in mid-October and sputtered to a record of 5-6 and no bowl appearance.
A heavy favorite to claim the title of SEC East champion this year, Tennessee fans’ hopes are just as high following 2015’s 9-4 finish that culminated in a 45-6 shellacking of Northwestern in the Outback Bowl . The team returns 19 total starters between the offense (nine) and the defense (eight), according to the school’s website.
The Vols’ 2016 schedule features three Top 25 opponents (No. 1 Alabama, No. 18 Georgia and No. 25 Florida). Quarterback Joshua Dobbs and company open the 2016 season at home on Thursday, Sept. 1st against Appalachian State with kickoff slated for 6:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.
Below is the full preseason AP Top 25:
|4||Florida State (4)||1325|
|6||Ohio State (1)||1224|