Vols 'overrated' for 2005?

Posted Jul 7, 2005

The folks at ESPN have Tennessee football fans in an uproar. Big surprise, huh?

College football analyst Trev Alberts revealed his picks for the NCAAs ''top sleeper teams'' and ''most overrated teams'' on the cable sports network this week. Tennessee was one of five teams in the latter category.

Here's what Alberts had to say about the Vols:

''Many prognosticators have Tennessee ranked as a top-five team. They are wrong. The Vols do have top-five talent but that doesn't translate into a dominant football team. Nearly 30 players missed the Tennessee spring game due to injury or suspension. Throw in a schedule that includes road games at Florida, LSU and Alabama, and Tennessee has 'overrated' written all over them.''

Albert's other overrated teams are Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and another SEC program, Georgia. The analyst thinks the Dawgs will be done in by the loss of defensive standouts David Pollack, Odell Thurman and Thomas Davis, along with the fact head coach Mark Richt has turned the reins over to ''unproven quarterback D.J. Shockley.''

For what it's worth, Albert's top sleeper teams also include an SEC program ... Alabama. Here's what he has to say about the Tide:

''Head coach Mike Shula has just about every player returning from his team that won six games last season. Not a lot is expected from the Crimson Tide but they have a defense full of talent and an offense led by Brodie Croyle.''

Albert's other sleepers are Louisville, Texas A&M, Penn State, Purdue and Florida State.

ESPN has angered Vol fans several times previously. In 1997 the network pushed Michigan's Charles Woodson Heisman Trophy bid, helping him defeat UT's Peyton Manning for the award.

When UT fans cried foul, ESPN's Chris Fowler suggested they needed to let go of the ''trailer park frenzy.''

ESPN later launched a lengthy investigation into so-called ''academic fraud'' at UT via its website, espn.com.

The sports network also aired a college football commercial depicting UT fans as a bunch of 300-pound rednecks who bring their pet piglets to games. This ad drew such a negative response that it was pulled immediately and never aired again.

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