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Paul Finebaum On If Tennessee Can Become A National Title Contender Again

A closeup of a Tennessee Volunteers football helmet.

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 01: A detailed view of a helmet worn by the Tennessee Volunteers before their game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Bank of America Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The Tennessee Volunteers are aching to become a national contender again. One well-known national analyst thinks they're close.

Paul Finebaum of ESPN and SEC Network recently spoke to UT's student newspaper, The Daily Beacon. Finebaum feels the hiring of current athletic director Phillip Fulmer in 2017 is making a difference.

“I think Tennessee can become a national championship contender again,” Finebaum told the paper. “I believe in this university, I believe in Fulmer. Georgia, Florida have nothing on Tennessee when it comes to tradition and infrastructure."

Finebaum's remarks aren't too shocking considering he's a Tennessee alum. But given the Volunteers haven't won the SEC since 1998, a national championship seems a bit far-fetched for now.

Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is the man trying to get the program back to national relevance. Coming off a 5-7 season, improvement is expected is Pruitt's second year at the helm.

“I think it’s time to get this program back on track,” Finebaum continued. “I think Jeremy Pruitt is well on his way in doing that. For the first time in a long time, I see and feel signs that Tennessee is coming out of hibernation. This seems like the real deal.”

The Volunteers open their season this Saturday versus Georgia State.