Here's how Dodd explains the elevation of UT to the runnerup spot:
2. Tennessee: We were tempted to call this a four-way tie for second with the Buckeyes, 'Horns and Hawkeyes. Each team has its weaknesses. Tennessee's (again) is players doing bad things off the field. Doesn't seem to matter in Knoxville. Just bring on football. Biggest game: Sept. 17, at Florida.
Rounding out Dodd's top 10 are Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Florida, LSU and Michigan. Interestingly enough, Dodd lists Florida's biggest game as Sept. 17 vs. Tennessee and lists LSU's biggest game as Sept. 24 vs. Tennessee. Since he ranks UT ahead of both the Gators and the Tigers, does that mean he expects the Vols to sweep those early-season showdowns?
Two more SEC teams also gained berths in Dodd's top 25 -- Georgia at 13 and Auburn at 22. Yet another conference school, Alabama, is listed among "Ten others to watch.'' So is Memphis, one of Tennessee's four non-conference foes this season.
All told, the Vols are scheduled to play five of Dodd's top 35 teams, including three of his top 25.
Feel better now?