The results are in
The coaches from around college football have voted, and they believe in the work done by Coach Butch Jones at Tennessee.
The Amway Coaches Poll released Thursday posted the third-straight year Tennessee will enter the preseason in the Top 25 despite the Vols having to replace three-year starting quarterback Josh Dobbs.
The Coaches Poll listed the Vols at No. 24 heading into the 2017 season.
Tennessee has the sixth highest ranking in the SEC behind Alabama (N0. 1), LSU (No. 12), Auburn (No. 13), Georgia (No. 15) and Florida (No. 16).
Tennessee will open the season Sept. 4 against Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Georgia Tech did not make the Top 25 despite finishing with a 9-4 record last season.
Tennessee had six players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft in April. The 62 coaches that make up the poll obviously believe in Jones’ ability to maintain the program.
The Vols accomplished the feat of back-to-back Top 25 finishes for the first time in nine years in 2015 and 2016 season.
Jones has led Tennessee to three-straight preseason Top 25 rankings for the first time since 2006-08. The Vols began those three seasons ranked No. 23, 15, and 18, respectively.
Jones has pushed a similar narrative throughout the summer about Tennessee’s preseason expectations.
“We don’t really look at any of that,” Jones said at a Big Orange Caravan stop in July. “We are responsible for what we can control. That’s the big part of it and we’re responsible for that. That’s what it really boils down to.
“With the evolution of our program and where we’re at right now is our older players understand you’re going to get everyone’s best game.”
Perhaps beginning the season with fewer expectations will help the Vols in the long run.
The Coaches Poll ranked Tennessee at No. 10 with one first place vote last season. The Vols ultimately ended the season ranked No. 24. Tennessee fared slightly better in the AP Poll, beginning the season at No. 9 and finishing with a 9-4 record at No. 22.
The Vols ranked No. 25 to enter the 2015 season, and the Vols finished the season with a 9-4 record at No. 23. The AP Poll closely mirrored the Coaches with the Vols beginning at No. 25 and finishing at No. 22.
Only three SEC teams – Tennessee, Florida and Alabama – have finished the past two seasons with nine wins.