Tennessee spent seven days in the Top 25 and one Saturday in the national spotlight.
The sun came up on Sunday, just as coach Derek Dooley promised it would after the Vols’ dispiriting 37-20 loss to the Florida Gators on Saturday. But the ESPN “College GameDay” studio had packed up and left Circle Park, and the Vols’ first Top 25 ranking in four years had vanished.
The road back could be difficult.
Tennessee (2-1) plays host to Akron (1-2) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Neyland Stadium (TV: CSS) in a game that the Vols will be expected to win by several touchdowns.
But after that, Tennessee will begin a stretch of four games in five weeks that could define its season. The Vols play at No. 5 Georgia on Sept. 29, at No. 23 Mississippi State on Oct. 13 and at No. 7 South Carolina on Oct. 27. They host No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 20.
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