Phipps picks UT 13th

Larry Phipps suggests the Tennessee Vols will be a top-15 team in his annual SEC Football Preview.

Phipps, based in Columbia, S.C., tabs the Vols 13th in his preseason national rankings but picks Tennessee No. 4 in the Southeastern Conference behind Georgia, LSU and Florida. He rates Georgia No. 1 nationally, with LSU No. 6 and Florida No. 7.

In a segment ranking the SEC's top players by position, Phipps ranks UT's Parys Haralson No. 8 among defensive linemen, with Kevin Burnett No. 2 and Kevin Simon No. 3 among linebackers. Interestingly, he doesn't rank Jason Allen among the league's top 10 defensive backs. Phipps rates UT's Michael Munoz No. 5 among offensive linemen, Cedric Houston No. 4 among running backs and James Banks No. 3 among wide receivers. Tennessee's C.J. Leak is not ranked among the top five SEC quarterbacks.

In ranking the SEC schools position-by-position, Phipps tabs UT No. 1 at linebacker, No. 4 at receiver, No. 6 at both running back and defensive line, No. 7 at offensive line, No. 8 at secondary and No. 11 at quarterback (ahead of Mississippi State).

Phipps lists UNLV, Louisiana Tech, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Notre Dame as ''SHOULD WIN'' games on the UT schedule. He tabs Auburn, South Carolina and Ole Miss as ''PROBABLE WIN'' games. Florida is listed as a ''TOSS-UP'' while Georgia is listed as a ''PROBABLE LOSS.''

Phipps' SEC Football Preview features 52 pages of interesting information and opinion. It is on news stands now for $5.99 per copy.


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