The Tennessee Vols are coming off their first loss of the season, 45-38 in double-overtime at Texas A&M. The previously 9th ranked Vols (5-1) will most likely drop in the AP and Coaches Polls that will be released Monday.
However, ESPN’s Strength of Record ranking has Tennessee much higher.
Clemson’s perfect record has been most difficult to achieve, according to ESPN’s Strength of Record pic.twitter.com/eP8XIaWkax
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 9, 2016
Tennessee has played four teams that are either currently ranked or were ranked in the Top 25 at the time the Vols played them.
Virginia Tech was unranked when they lost to the Vols 45-24 in week two, but the No. 25 Hokies will climb up the rankings after beating No. 17 North Carolina. Florida was 17th in the country in late September before losing to Tennessee and currently sits at No. 18. The Georgia Bulldogs are unranked but sat at No. 25 when UT beat them, in Athens, two weeks ago. No. 8 Texas A&M will continue to climb after beating the Vols to stay undefeated.
Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network pointed out Tennessee’s opponent’s overall record next to some of the best teams in college football. This does not include this week’s upcoming opponent Alabama (6-0).
Overall opponent record:
Oh St 13-14
Texas A&M 22-14
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) October 10, 2016
However, the schedule gets considerably softer after the Vols take on the Tide. The final five opponents on Tennessee’s schedule currently have a combined record of 11-18. Kentucky (3-3) is the only team with a .500 record. South Carolina (2-4), Kentucky, Missouri (2-3) and Vanderbilt (2-4) are a combined 3-11 in SEC play with all three wins coming against each other.