KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Associated Press preseason Top 25 college football poll was released on Monday with Tennessee at its best preseason ranking since 2016.

Tennessee came at No. 12 ahead of head coach Josh Heupel‘s third year on Rocky Top, marking the Vols’ first appearance in the AP preseason rankings since 2020. The Vols will begin the year one spot behind the Texas Longhorns, who will officially join the SEC along with Oklahoma after the 2023-24 academic year.

The top 10 teams were Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, LSU, USC, Penn State, Florida State, Clemson, and Washington.

Overall, there are six SEC teams ranked in the preseason Top 25: Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Mississippi (No. 22) and Texas A&M (No. 23).

Heupel said last week after the Vols’ first scrimmage of fall camp that the athletes had “a really good day” between both sides of the ball; Heupel also shared that overall, he was “pleased with their effort, strength and competitive nature.”

Tennessee’s regular season kicks off Saturday, Sept. 2 against Virginia in Nashville.