It is still more than three months until the Tennessee Volunteers play their first football game (at UCLA on Sept. 1), but I have to admit that I am feeling really good about the team.
Despite all the turmoil surrounding last year's team, we still won the SEC Eastern Division and came within a couple of plays of winning the conference title. We have a lot of experience at every position on offense except quarterback. However, Jonathan Crompton looked good in spring practice, and I like what I've seen from new offensive coordinator Dave Clawson.
On defense, we have to develop more depth in the defensive line. If we can do that, the defense will bounce back this year because the secondary and linebackers should be solid units.
I was skimming the early college football magazines the other day when getting groceries, and nobody is giving us a chance. Most are picking us to finish third in the division and have us ranked in the lower half of the Top 25. Call me crazy, but I think we're better than that.
There will be plenty of time to write more on this in the coming weeks, but I have a feeling this may be the Vols' year. Not just to repeat as divisional champion, but to win the conference.
Then again, all fans are optimistic this time of year.