Greg McElroy spoke about Tennessee’s outlook in 2024 on the latest episode of Always College Football.

The ESPN analyst bemoaned the lack of discussion about the Vols this offseason, but said he sees a path to Tennessee being one of the most “dangerous” teams in the SEC in 2024.

McElroy said it will come down to whether or not Tennessee has improved quarterback play with freshman Nico Iamaleava taking over this fall.

“There’s not a whole lot of discussion about what Tennessee may ultimately be,” McElroy said. “And if their quarterback play skyrockets, they could be as dangerous a team as there is in the Southeastern Conference.”

The Vols struggled at the quarterback position a year ago as Joe Milton stepped in to replace Hendon Hooker after his record-setting 2022 campaign. The results with Milton were not great, as Tennessee dropped from 1st to 44th in passer efficiency rating from 2022 to 2023.

“You can pin almost all of Tennessee’s inconsistencies on the passing game,” McElroy said. “So with a slightly-improved passer, assuming Nico Iamaleava is, and a running game that’s going to continue to be dynamic, and a defense that’s shown to be really solid … Tennessee could definitely challenge at the top of the league, and yet nobody really has them in that discussion right now.”

To McElroy’s point, DraftKings currently has Tennessee’s regular-season win total set at 8.5. That’s below win totals for Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Missouri, Ole Miss and Texas.

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Earlier this week, Bill Connelly updated his post-spring SP+ rankings over at ESPN. Tennessee was 16th nationally in those rankings. The model also gives Tennessee a 23.4% chance to go at least 10-2 this season.

Tennessee is likely being dinged in those rankings because of a lack of returning production, particularly at the quarterback position. However, the Vols will hope that Iamaleava — a former 5-star prospect — will be an improvement over what they had at that position in 2023.

Iamaleava gave fans an idea of what to expect in Tennessee’s bowl game win over Iowa. He scored 4 total touchdowns — including 3 on the ground — in that victory over the Hawkeyes. If he can meet expectations, Tennessee could be a team to watch out for in the Playoff race this fall.

Tennessee will open the 2024 season against Chattanooga on Aug. 31.