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SEC Analyst Has Bold Claim About Tennessee Before 2022 Season

Tennessee fans cheer in support during a game.

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 16: Fans have painted their bodies in support of the University of Tennessee Volunteers during the game against the University of Florida Gators on September 16, 2006 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Gators won 21-20. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

It's been a while since Tennessee football was relevant in the SEC. Could this finally be the year?

SEC analyst Mike Griffith is expecting big things out of the Volunteers this upcoming season. In fact, he thinks Tennessee is going the biggest threat to the defending champs in the SEC East.

Some would give such a nod to the Florida Gators who went just 6-7 overall and 2-6 in SEC play last season, but are expected to bounce back this year. However, Griffith likes what he's seen out of Tennessee this offseason.

"Tennessee looks like the more immediate threat to Georgia than Florida does," Griffith told Paul Finebaum.

Much of the optimism in Knoxville revolves around second-year head coach Josh Heupel.

Heupel took over in Tennessee after the school fired Jeremy Pruitt. The hire was deemed boring by some, but he exceeded expectations in year one. The Volunteers went 7-6 last season.

Heupel can't do it alone, though. He'll need a strong season out of his quarterback, Hendon Hooker.

The good news is he's getting more and more comfortable in the team's offensive system.

“I can get in there with the coaches and go over film, talk through different situations and just approach the game from the meant standpoint as a player-coach on the field and being in total control of the offense and just being efficient,” he said over the weekend, via Saturday Down South.

Will Tennessee be this year's surprise team in college football?