It should not, of course, be a complete surprise that Tennessee is at the top of the rankings. The Volunteers' recruiting classes have been in the top 10 in the country for a decade, and Tennessee has won at least nine games in eight of the last nine years. Fulmer's winning percentage (.853) is the best of any active coach. Yet there always seemed to be an Ohio State-like cloud over the Vols, a presumption that they would slip somewhere.
Don't count on Tennessee to fall this time. "Maybe we're lucky," says Fulmer, "but I believe breaks even out as time goes by. Turnovers, officials' calls, you name it. We've had bad breaks, too."
Martin puts it more succinctly: "It's our turn," he says. "That's all."