KNOXVILLE – Coming off a bye week at 4-and-0 and up to number eight in the country, the Tennessee Volunteers are set to embark on their toughest stretch of the season that begins Saturday down in Baton Rouge against LSU.

Five weeks and four games against top 25 teams in LSU, Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia.

U-T is already 2 and 0 against the top 25 this season with wins over Pitt and Florida.

If the Vols are truly going to be nationally relevant this year, they’ll have to earn it.  Something these Volunteers are looking forward to.

“That’s just how Tennessee is, we play the best teams every year. Nothing is easy about our schedule, nothing is easy about how we win,” said Memphian and Vols running back Jabari Small.  “We have to earn everything. I am very excited about it, and it’s a challenge.”

“I think it’s awesome. Me growing up as a kid, I loved watching SEC football. That’s all I watched.  You see the (big games) on TV, and you actually get to do it now. As a player, it’s amazing,” said Memphian and Vols offensive guard Jerome Carvin.  “Now, we are in the thick of it. We are now going into a stretch, going into a lot of conference play, so we are ready to rock and roll.”

Tennessee kicks off at LSU bright and early Saturday morning, 11 a.m.