Some teams get overly hyped every year, and some are overlooked only to shock the nation when the season starts. Many people say the Tennessee Volunteers are hyped up every year, then choke. While the program has been in a major slump since 2008, Tennessee is simply not as hyped as many people like to say they are. In fact, Tennessee hasn’t even been picked to win the SEC East since 2005. That will more than likely change this year, and there are good reasons why Tennessee derserves the hype.
Why Tennessee Deserves The Hype
The Volunteers are coming off a 9-4 season in 2015, racking up six straight wins to end the year. It was their best season since playing in the SEC championship game in 2007, when they finished with a 10-4 record. Now, the competition was not exactly strong in those six straight wins, although they did beat a top 15 ranked Northwestern team in the Outback Bowl. However, just look at the season as a whole. If it wasn’t for a couple of fourth quarter collapses against a good Oklahoma Sooners team, who made the four-team playoff and also against a decent Florida Gators team before they lost their quarterback, the Vols could have taken those wins. They also nearly beat Alabama in their own house, who, if you forgot, went on to win the National Championship.
Moral victories do not count in this situation obviously, and the Vols are going to have to learn how to finish games this season. The good news is that the majority of the starters from last year’s team are returning. There are also a number of highly talented newcomers pushing for spots. This is a team that had some gut-wrenching losses a year ago and those four losses are motivating in many ways. They hired one of the best defensive co-ordinators in college football in Bob Shoop, as well as a strong special teams coach in Larry Scott. Tennessee is a program that has made a renewed commitment to winning.
Another reason that the Vols deserve the hype is simply because it’s Tennessee. It’s not a matter of if a program like Tennessee can be a national power again, it’s when. Last season proved Tennessee is extremely close to getting over the hump. With the talent this team has coming back in the upcoming season, along with the experience of the coaching staff, in addition to last year’s tough losses, there’s no reason why Tennessee shouldn’t be hyped. It’s also not unreasonable due to the fact that the SEC East is the weaker division in the conference right now. There’s a lot of question marks surrounding Florida, as well as Georgia and South Carolina with new coaching staffs. So when you compare those teams to an experienced team like Tennessee, it’s not hard to pick Tennessee as your SEC East favorite.