Maybe I'm myopic, but currently there seems to be room for only 3-4 top-tier programs, in alphabetical order: Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Ohio St, with a few followers--the second tier--who occasionally get lucky and crash the party. I'd include Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, and Oregon in this second group. There maybe 3-6 other teams--look out for Texas A&M with that Texas oil money to possibly move into this second tier--that bite at the heels of the second tier, but none of them are serious contenders. Maybe things will shake up a bit when Saban retires or Dabo goes to the NFL. When that happens, it will likely be someone in the second tier that moves up (I'd bet on Oregon and that Nike money). Regardless, Tennessee is the SEC version of Nebraska. Tennessee can aspire to be a good team--potentially a top-15 team or even top 8 if they happen to knock off Florida and Georgia--but they will get blasted by the Alabama's and LSU's (or Texas A&M) in the SEC championship game. That's the best Tennessee can hope for.