Just when you thought the Tennessee hype train could not get any louder, prepare yourself for expectations of Rocky Top proportion.
College football prediction and analytics website Mcillece Sports, a contributor to the Stassen Poll, ranks the Vols as the No. 1 team in the nation heading into the 2016 season. Before you laugh off the site – as noted by Rocky Top Insider – Mcillece Sports ranked as the second most accurate predictor for 2015 predictions and tied Phil Steele as the second most accurate predictor of college football over the last two seasons combined.
According to the site, the Vols may not even have a tough path to winning the SEC this season, as the only other ranked teams on Tennessee’s schedule this season – judging by their preseason rankings – would be Alabama, ranked No. 2, and Florida, ranked No. 20. Other SEC preseason ranks include LSU at No. 12 and Ole Miss at No. 22.
The site also runs 70,000 simulations of the season and ranks each school’s chances of capturing its division.
By far, Tennessee had the highest number in the SEC with a 61-percent chance of reaching Atlanta. Florida is listed with a 16-percent chance, Georgia with a 15-percent chance while the rest of the East schools all have a 2-percent chance.
In the West, Alabama is listed with a 36-percent chance of winning the division, LSU listed with a 22-percent chance, Ole Miss listed with a 15-percent, while Auburn and Arkansas are listed each with 8-percent chances, Texas A&M with a 6-percent shot andMississippi State representing the long shot with a 5-percent to reach Atlanta.
One thing is for sure after taking in all this data, the hype in Knoxville is only going to continue to grow between now and the Sept. 1 Thursday night season kickoff.