The Tennessee Vols have a key question they have to answer according to The Athletic.

The national media outlet recently named one question for each SEC team ahead of the 2022 season and their question for the Vols has to do with Tennessee’s standing in the SEC East.

From The Athletic:

Can the Volunteers be the second-best team in the East?

There’s some momentum around the program. It’s not the first time that’s happened, as Butch Jones had sparked some genuine enthusiasm at one point during his tenure, but this time there’s an offensive identity that gives the Volunteers some life and their fan base reason to be hopeful. Until proven otherwise, the top program in the East is Georgia. The defending national champions keep that mantle until someone takes it from them, and as much optimism as there is in Knoxville, Tennessee ain’t there yet.

But can they be the second-best team? Possibly. Florida is in year one of the Billy Napier era, and Kentucky with Will Levis is turning heads. Tennessee is on the uptick. Hendon Hooker can be a sleeper candidate for SEC Offensive Player of the Year with a true dual-threat ability that has to be accounted for.

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Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) runs with the ball during an NCAA football game between Tennessee and Missouri on Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday, Oct. 2 , 2021.
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I think they’re spot on with this “question” that Tennessee needs to answer.

The Vols have been in this position plenty of times before and they’ve failed to take advantage. Tennessee has some momentum after an impressive first season under Josh Heupel. And with Florida playing under a new head coach this season and the other teams in the SEC East mostly treading water, this is the perfect time for the Vols to take over the No. 2 spot in the SEC East while becoming a legitimate threat to Georgia.

Tennessee can’t afford to let this opportunity pass them by again. If they blow it in 2022, it could be another four or five years of frustration for a loyal fan base that’s been through a lot over the last 15 years. The Vols have a chance to put some distance between themselves and everyone else not named Georgia in the SEC East in the coming years. They need to create some of that distance in 2022.

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