Tennessee Volunteers Earn First AP Top 25 Ranking in 4 Years

Daniel HudsonCorrespondent IIISeptember 9, 2012

Sep 8, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers fans celebrate their teams touchdown with the mascot against the Georgia State Panthers with the during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee defeated Georgia State 51-13. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE

The wait is over, Tennessee. The Volunteers are ranked for the first time since Week 1 of 2008, a year that ended with the "resignation" of legendary coach Phillip Fulmer.

The Vols are ranked No. 23 in the Week 2 AP Top 25 Poll that was released less than an hour ago. Rounding out the Top 25 is Arizona and BYU.

Tennessee got off to a strong start this season with an impressive 35-21 win over NC State on a neutral field in Atlanta. Their Week 2 game resulted in a 51-13 thrashing of FCS school Georgia State.

Tyler Bray leads the SEC in both passing yards (643) and touchdowns (six), picking up right where he left off in 2011 before his thumb injury. The addition of JUCO wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has electrified the offense in ways that even the biggest Vol fans couldn't have predicted.

Derek Dooley went 11-14 in his first two years with Tennessee, but after a 2-0 start to 2012, hopes are sky high for eight, nine or even 10 wins for the Big Orange.

The Vols' early success has urged ESPN to host its popular show College Gameday outside of Neyland Stadium for Tennessee's bout with No. 18 Florida this Saturday, September 15. It will be first time since 2004 that Gameday has traveled to Knoxville.

There is little doubt that the now-ranked Volunteers will play for over 100,000 fans at that game.