Tennessee is ranked for the first time in nearly three years.
The Vols claimed the No. 25 spot in the preseason Associated Press Top 25, giving the SEC seven teams in the poll.
Alabama is No. 3, followed by No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 LSU, No. 8 Florida, No. 11 Auburn and No. 13 Texas A&M.
Clemson is No. 1, just like in the Amway Coaches Poll, followed by Ohio State.
The AP asked voters to consider all Division I teams when filling out their preseason ballots. After games begin, voters will rank only teams that are scheduled to play in the fall. Nine teams in the preseason poll, including Ohio State, had their 2020 seasons canceled.
The Vols were last ranked by the AP in the Sept. 10, 2017, poll. They were 2-0 after victories over Georgia Tech and Indiana State.
Tennessee lost 26-20 to Florida on Sept. 16, 2017, in Gainesville and dropped from the poll. The Vols never rejoined the Top 25, finishing 4-8.
Tennessee closed last season on a six-game winning streak to finish 8-5 and was among unranked teams that received votes in the final AP poll after the season finished.
Tennessee just missed being ranked in the Amway Coaches Poll. It matched Boise State for the most votes among teams outside the Top 25.
Which sportswriters voted for the Vols?
Here’s how voters ranked the Vols.
No. 12 — Jon Wilner (San Jose Mercury News); Sam McKewon (Omaha World-Herald)
No. 15 — Colten Bartholomew (Wisconsin State Journal)
No. 17 — Adam Zucker (CBS Sports Network)
No. 18 — James Kratch (NJ.com)
No. 19 — Blair Kerkhoff (Kansas City Star)
No. 20 — Don Williams (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal); Gentry Estes (The Tennessean); Kirk Bohls (Austin American-Statesman)
No. 21 — Chuck Carlton (Dallas Morning News); Rece Davis (ESPN); Robert Cessna (Bryan-College Station Eagle)
No. 22 — Brian Howell (Boulder Daily Camera); Jerry DiPaola (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
No. 23 — Eric Hansen (South Bend Tribune); Garland Gillen (WVUE-TV, New Orleans); Jon Johnson (Dothan Eagle); Marc Weiszer (Athens Banner-Herald); Michael Lev (Arizona Daily Star); Soren Petro (Sports Radio 810 WHB, Kansas City)
No. 24 — Brett McMurphy (Stadium); Ferd Lewis (Honolulu Star-Advertiser); Tom Green (AL.com)
No. 25 — Audrey Dahlgren (WLNS-TV, Lansing); Matt Baker (Tampa Bay Times); Nate Mink (Syracuse Media Group)
Unranked — Aaron McMann (MLive Media Group); Adam Grosbard (Orange County Register); Andy Greder (St. Paul Pioneer Press); Bob Asmussen (Champaign News-Gazette); Brooks Kubena (The Advocate); Bryce Miller (San Diego Union-Tribune); Chris Murray (NevadaSportsNet.com); Conor O’Neill (Winston-Salem Journal); David Briggs (Toledo Blade); David Jablonski (Dayton Daily News); Davis Potter (Casper Star-Tribune); Derek Redd (Charleston Gazette-Mail); Dylan Sinn (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette); Eric Boynton (Spartanburg Herald-Journal); John Bednarowski (Marietta Daily Journal); John Clay (Lexington Herald-Leader); Josh Furlong (KSL.com); Lauren Brownlow (99.9-FM, Raleigh); Madison Blevins (WBIR-TV, Knoxville); Matt Brown (The Athletic); Michael Vega (Boston Globe); Nathan Baird (Cleveland Plain Dealer); Neill Ostrout (Manchester Journal Inquirer); Norm Wood (Newport News Daily Press); Parrish Alford (Tupelo Daily Journal); Pat Dooley (Gainesville Sun); Pete Martini (Salem Statesman Journal); Rob Long (WJZ 105.7-FM, Baltimore); Ron Counts (Idaho Statesman); Ryan Aber (The Oklahoman); Steve Batterson (Quad City Times); Steve Virgen (Albuquerque Journal); Steve Wiseman (Durham Herald-Sun); Theo Lawson (Spokane Spokesman-Review); Tom D’Angelo (Palm Beach Post); Tom Murphy (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
AP Top 25
No. 1 Clemson (38)
No. 2 Ohio State (21)
No. 3 Alabama (2)
No. 4 Georgia
No. 5 Oklahoma
No. 6 LSU (1)
No. 7 Penn State
No. 8 Florida
No. 9 Oregon
No. 10 Notre Dame
No. 11 Auburn
No. 12 Wisconsin
No. 13 Texas A&M
No. 14 Texas
No. 15 Oklahoma State
No. 16 Michigan
No. 17 Southern California
No. 18 North Carolina
No. 19 Minnesota
No. 20 Cincinnati
No. 21 Central
No. 22 Utah
No. 23 Iowa State
No. 24 Iowa
No. 25 Tennessee
Blake Toppmeyer covers University of Tennessee football. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. Current subscribers can click here to join Blake’s subscriber-only text group offering updates and analysis on Vols football.