By Matt Johnson

After 64 weeks, the Tennessee Volunteers have once again found themselves in the AP Top 25 Poll. The Vols haven’t been in the poll since before Week 1 in 2008 when they were ranked 18th in the country heading into their game against the UCLA Bruins. The Volunteers went on to lose that game, and never saw the Top 25 again until today.

It has been a long 4 years for the Volunteers, after longtime coach Phillip Fulmer was forced out, everyone thought the Vols were on the turnaround when they brought in Lane Kiffin as their head coach. Kiffin only lasted 1 year, before bolting one night to take the same job at USC. It left the Tennessee faithful flabbergasted at their misfortune, and wondering who their next coach would be. Shortly after AD Mike Hamilton named Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley as the teams’ 3rd new coach in 3 years. After a 6-7 start in 2010, expectations were higher for Dooley in 2011. Unfortunately, the team failed to deliver and Dooley quickly found himself in the hot seat. Despite calls for Dooley to be fired, he was given another chance with a healthy Volunteers football team. The Vols have started the season off hot, with a big win over North Carolina State last week and a blowout over Georgia State on Saturday, the Volunteers and Derek Dooley finally found themselves ranked 23rd in the AP Poll on Sunday.

The ranking makes next Saturdays rivalry between the #18 Florida Gators @ #23 Tennessee Volunteers much more interesting. It will be the first time since 2007 that the 2 teams will meet when they are both ranked in the Top 25. A battle between Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter vs. Jeff Driskel and Mike Gillislee, in an ESPN primetime battle. I will do a Game Preview later this week, as it will be an exciting game to watch.

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Matt Johnson

I am a sports writer entering my first year in college. I am also a aspiring sports radio host.

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