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ESPN's Scott Van Pelt Defends Tennessee On Twitter

This past season, Tennessee won nine games for the first time since 2007 - the second-to-last year of the Phillip Fulmer era. The Vols capped off the impressive campaign with a 45-6 drubbing of Northwestern in the Outback Bowl. Some believe that Tennessee is poised to have a big 2016 - and many are even predicting them to compete for a national title.

ESPN's Scott Van Pelt is one of them - while Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel is not. Friday, on Twitter, the two got into it over whether Tennessee will be overrated heading into 2016. Van Pelt argues that Tennessee's four losses were all close - and two of them were to College Football Playoff participants.

">@slmandel why are people doing this? They lost 4 games this year by 7,1,4 & 5. Maybe they're actually just pretty good?

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@slmandel why are people doing this? They lost 4 games this year by 7,1,4 & 5. Maybe they're actually just pretty good?

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@slmandel if they had better luck/clock management, they could have been in playoff discussion. Just don't see them as overrated candidate

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@slmandel if they had better luck/clock management, they could have been in playoff discussion. Just don't see them as overrated candidate

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@kkeithhogs

@kkeithhogs@BarrettSallee@slmandel not really. Teams get smoked. Tennessee didn't. Neither did you.

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">@BarrettSallee

@slmandel why are people doing this? They lost 4 games this year by 7,1,4 & 5. Maybe they're actually just pretty good?

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">@slmandel not really. Teams get smoked. Tennessee didn't. Neither did you.

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@kkeithhogs@BarrettSallee@slmandel not really. Teams get smoked. Tennessee didn't. Neither did you.

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@Andrew263

@slmandel why are people doing this? They lost 4 games this year by 7,1,4 & 5. Maybe they're actually just pretty good?

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">@slmandel they lead in your place late & lost to ou in a game they should have easily won. That's half the playoff, buddy

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@Andrew263@slmandel they lead in your place late & lost to ou in a game they should have easily won. That's half the playoff, buddy

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@Andrew263 team this close to winning a bunch of games with ton of returning talent being described as a candidate to be overrated is dumb

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@Andrew263 team this close to winning a bunch of games with ton of returning talent being described as a candidate to be overrated is dumb

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@MochaTruck beat the snot outta you last year. They're good.

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@MochaTruck beat the snot outta you last year. They're good.

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@_DCReeves Maybe not? But why get preemptively snarky about a team clearly on the cusp whose crime, today, is beating the sh*t out of NW ?

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@_DCReeves Maybe not? But why get preemptively snarky about a team clearly on the cusp whose crime, today, is beating the sh*t out of NW ?

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@MochaTruck they blew big lead to OU & lost in ot. Lead Bama in Ttown with 3:00 to play. That's half the playoff. Not even mentioning UF

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@MochaTruck they blew big lead to OU & lost in ot. Lead Bama in Ttown with 3:00 to play. That's half the playoff. Not even mentioning UF

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@MochaTruck with some luck, they'd have been trendy team. They lost the games. They could be good next year. That's it.

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@MochaTruck with some luck, they'd have been trendy team. They lost the games. They could be good next year. That's it.

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@MochaTruck by your estimation then, they ought not be ranked? That's dumb. Look at WHO beat em and how. There's layers to life, man.

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@MochaTruck by your estimation then, they ought not be ranked? That's dumb. Look at WHO beat em and how. There's layers to life, man.

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@MochaTruck point being, you were in discussion w/o a signature win. They did lose those games. They were coin flip games. With better luck

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@MochaTruck point being, you were in discussion w/o a signature win. They did lose those games. They were coin flip games. With better luck

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@MochaTruck they're in the discussion like a bunch of others. That's ALL I said. Why are you this combative? It has nothing to do with you

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@MochaTruck they're in the discussion like a bunch of others. That's ALL I said. Why are you this combative? It has nothing to do with you

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

">@billbarrs20 not really. Had100 yard fumble return against. They out gained Uga. They lead in 3rd q. So, other than that, you're spot on

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP)

@billbarrs20 not really. Had100 yard fumble return against. They out gained Uga. They lead in 3rd q. So, other than that, you're spot on

— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) January 1, 2016

">January 1, 2016

Only time will tell whether Tennessee is ready to take the next step. 2016 should be an interesting year for Vols fans.