Vols in the Preseason AP Poll, 1989-2023

Since the AP poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989, Tennessee has been ranked in the preseason poll 24 times. That includes yesterday, when the Vols debuted at #12.

In the continuing adventures of “being back”, if you take the average of those 24 appearances over the past 35 seasons, Tennessee’s average preseason ranking is…12th. Right at home.

Here’s the full distribution:

Vols in the Preseason AP Poll, 1989-2023

1
219961999
32005
4
519972002
6
7
8199019952001
92016
1019931998
111991
12200020032023
131994
142004
152007
16
17
182008
19
20
211992
22
232006
24
25201520172020

The Vols now have 18 appearances in the preseason Top 15 in that same span. And only two of those came in the last 15 years: ninth in 2016, and 12th for 2023.

From 1990-2007, Tennessee was ranked in the Top 15 in preseason 16 times in 18 years. It’s the 8-15 range where the program really lived in the 90s, with just five preseason Top 5 appearances in those same years.

The Vols were unranked in last year’s preseason poll, just outside the Top 25. They moved up for the Week 2 game at Pitt, the first of six ranked wins last season, a program high.

As you know, some of the real joy last year – extending into right now – was Tennessee occupying a space it hasn’t in such a long time.

How many weeks have the Vols been ranked 12th or higher?

  • 2023: Preseason (1)
  • 2022: September 18 through final poll (13)
  • 2016: Preseason, September 25 through October 10 (4)
  • 2007: Final Poll (1)

The Vols show up more often once you go back to 2006, which is also the last time Tennessee was ranked in the poll every week (including preseason). But Tennessee hasn’t spent an entire season in the Top 12 (or Top 10) since 1999.

It’s only the preseason poll. But there remains much to be grateful for, and much to be excited about.

Soon.

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Mr B
Mr B
6 months ago

It’s always great when you believe there is a chance of winning every game. Go Vols!