It really hadn’t dawned on me to view Tennessee as an up-and-comer in the division this season, but CBS’ Adam Jacobi describes the Vols as a potential sleeper (isn’t that redundant?) team for 2011 and cocknfire labels UT along with South Carolina as the early front-runners to win the SEC East. Is Tennessee going to be that much improved, or is the division going to be that big a train wreck?
If it’s the former, I’m not sure what the basis for that is. Last season saw the Vols get waxed by the division big boys – including losses to Georgia and Florida teams which were each school’s weakest in years – and glide through UT’s typically weak November slate. Had this happened under Fulmer, we’d have yawned and moved on. So what’s the difference now?
That’s not to say Tennessee doesn’t have a few nice pieces here and there. Justin Hunter looks to me like he’ll be the next conference superstar wide receiver. But you can point to nice pieces at every school in the division (okay, except for Vandy). So, again, I’m genuinely curious: why the optimism?