Tennessee is ranked at No. 10 in the Preseason Amway Coaches Poll, which was released on Thursday.
The Vols are in the top 10 for the first time since Oct. 29, 2006. Tennessee was also one of four teams to receive a first-place vote. No. 1 Alabama leads the way with 55 first-place votes, No. 2 Clemson has seven and UT and No. 4 Florida State have one vote each.
UT starts the season ranked for the second-straight year. The Vols opened the 2015 season at No. 25 in the Amway Coaches Poll and were ranked No. 23 in the final poll.
Tennessee is the third-highest ranked team in the SEC’s six teams in the poll, behind only No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 LSU and ahead of No. 12 Ole Miss, No. 16 Georgia and No. 25 Florida. The SEC had four more teams receive votes in Texas A&M (37), Arkansas (34), Mississippi State (19), Auburn (17).
UT, which was picked to win the SEC Eastern Division by the media at last month’s 2016 SEC Media Days, is coming off of an impressive 9-4 season in 2015, which it capped with a 45-6 win over Northwestern in the Outback Bowl. The Vols closed the year with a six-game winning streak and posted their first back-to-back bowl wins since winning the 1996 and 1997 Florida Citrus Bowls. Tennessee produced the second-best team rushing total in program history with 2,908 yards. The Big Orange returns 19 starters with nine on offense and eight on defense.
Tennessee opens the 2016 season on Thursday, Sept. 1, at home against Appalachian State. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.