247Sports released its top 25 rankings for 2020, and Tennessee Football made the list and came in at No. 22 in the preseason poll.
Tennessee Football has been on fire to start 2020 and leading into the summer of 2020. Michael Scott might say that the Vols are “hot, hot, hot.”
Michael Scott isn’t the college football connoisseur I would go to for my college football takes, but 247Sports knows a thing or two about college football, and they have released their top 25 rankings for the 2020 season, and the Vols made the list.
247Sports’ national analysts came together to make the rankings, and Ohio State came in at No. 1, Clemson at No. 2, Alabama at No. 3, Georgia at No. 4, and Penn State to round out the top-five. Tennessee came in at No. 22 in the rankings, tied with Utah State.
It’s weird to see Tennessee tied with another team in a top 25 rankings, but a few teams were tied in this ranking, so it wasn’t necessarily an anomaly in this poll. Sitting in front of the Vols is Arizona State at No. 21, and Virginia Tech sits at No. 24 behind the Vols.
247Sports ranks Tennessee’s returning production 50th in the country, which isn’t terrible, but if you want Tennessee to have an eight-win season or better, then it’s not great.
"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. Quarterback is a bit of a question for Tennessee, though Jarrett Guarantano played well over the team’s final six games. Finding replacements for Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings at receiver will be critical. We’ll know plenty about the Vols by the end of September with games with Oklahoma and Florida on the docket."
It looks like 247Sports is crediting Tennessee’s defense with most of last year’s success, and the Vols will likely lean on the defense again in 2020. If that’s what they’re doing, then I think that they’re right.
The defense is what keeps the team moving and keeps the team in the game when the offense struggles to get going. It seemed like the offense struggled to get going a lot last season.
The quarterback position has the biggest question mark above it when it comes to a single position. Will Jarrett Guarantano remain the starting quarterback? If so, can he be a game manager for the Tennessee offense and do enough to help win games?
Those are questions that will only be answered this fall when Tennessee takes the field, but one can hope that Guarantano is going to have a bounce-back year after his performance last season.
Even if everything falls in place for the Vols early in the season, the schedule is going to pose as a different threat for the Vols. Can Tennessee beat Oklahoma and/or Florida early in the season and find a way to beat Georgia later in the year? That’s a tough question to answer when all of those teams have expectations of 10-win seasons.