KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A surprising seven-win season and bowl appearance in 2021 were not enough to earn the Tennessee football team a place in the Associated Press preseason Top 25.
Tennessee earned the most voting points of any team outside the top 25 with 180. The 25th-ranked BYU Cougars received 234 points. Other teams just outside the rankings include Texas (164), Iowa (163) and Penn State (160).
The AP preseason Top 25 has been around since 1950 and is voted on by a national panel of 63 sports writers and broadcasters.
Some notable voters did include Tennessee in their top 25 rankings. ESPN College GameDay host Rece Davis ranked the Vols at No. 17 in the nation while longtime college football insider Bret McMurphy had Tennessee rated 22nd overall.
The USA TODAY Sports American Football Coaches Association poll was released last week with Tennessee also narrowly missing out on a top 25 ranking. Tennessee received a total of 163 points in that poll, the third most of any team ranked outside the top 25. Houston.
Head coach Josh Heupel will look to build on an encouraging first year on Rocky Top where he became one of only five Vol head coaches in the last 80 years to win seven or more games in his first season. He was awarded the 2021 FWAA Steve Spurrier First Year Coach Award alongside South Carolina coach Shane Beamer as the best coach in his first year at a school.
Tennessee will kick off their season on Thursday, Sept. 1 when they host Ball State at a newly-renovated Neyland Stadium.