At least, that's the opinion of two experts at collegefootballnews.com.
The popular website's lead story is one of its so-called “CFN Daily Roundtables” with today's topic being: Which teams will be most interesting going into the season?
Jon Miller, publisher of HawkeyeNation.com, tabs Tennessee as his first choice, noting that he's intrigued by the Vols because “that situation just seems straight out of the National Enquirer.” Miller mentions Ohio State, Southern Cal and Penn State as runnersup.
CFN.com's Pete Fiutak rates Notre Dame as his first choice but lists Tennessee among five secondary picks, along with Auburn, Michigan, Miami and North Carolina.
CFN.com's Richard Cirminiello tabs Stanford and co-worker Matthew Zemek picks Oregon. Neither offers any honorable mentions.
It's no secret that new Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin set out to bring his program some national publicity, much as Bruce Pearl did upon taking over the Vol hoops program four years ago. Not all of the publicity Kiffin generated has been positive (hence, Miller's National Enquirer reference) but all of it has helped keep the Big Orange in or near the national spotlight the past few months.
The glut of publicity – good and bad – has fans eager to support Tennessee and has prospects eager to represent Tennessee. Further fueling the excitement is the presence of a new coaching staff, a new offensive scheme, a new defensive scheme, a heralded class of new recruits and a new attitude.
The folks at CFN.com are right: Things are about to get really interesting in the Valley of the Vols.
And, while it may be a few years before the Big Orange is potent again, at least the Vols are relevant again.