After opening with UCLA (Sept. 1) and Alabama-Birmingham (Sept. 13), Tennessee plays seventh-ranked Florida (Sept. 20), ninth-ranked Auburn (Sept. 27), Northern Illinois (Oct. 4) and top-ranked Georgia (Oct. 11) in a span of 28 days.
Can you say "Murderer's Row?"
Mandel obviously expects the Vols to survive that imposing stretch or he wouldn't tab Tennessee No. 12 in his power rankings. Here's what he has to say about the Big Orange:
Tennessee Volunteers (10-4)
Returning starters: 14 (Offense: 8 Defense: 6)
Spring star: WR Gerald Jones. The athletic sophomore merited his own package -- "the G-Gun" -- in which he lines up at QB and can throw or run.
Spring recap: The Vols adjusted to eight new assistants, most notably offensive coordinator Dave Clawson, who experimented with both Jones and Berry in the shotgun. Jonathan Crompton looks ready to take over for Erik Ainge at QB.
Eight new assistants? Actually, the number is four, Stewart, but we'll overlook one mistake since you were intelligent enough to list six SEC teams in your post-spring top 25.
In addition to Georgia at No. 1, Florida at No. 7, Auburn at No. 9 and UT at No. 12, Mandel rates LSU No. 5 and Alabama No. 24. It should be noted, however, that LSU head man Les Miles has dismissed No. 1 quarterback Ryan Perrilloux since Mandel's rankings were compiled and posted.
Regardless, here's a look at Mandel's top 25:
2. Ohio State
3. Southern Cal
8. Texas Tech
14. West Virginia
16. Arizona State
17. Brigham Young
18. Oregon State
21. Penn State
23. Virginia Tech